Plumbing work was performed on our house/bathroom renovation. It was implied we would be having top of the line fixtures installed. New tub taps toilet ptraps shut off valves etc. Work was completed as described at very high cost. We have since found out the tub toilet etc. are bottom of the line.
We stopped payment on his cheque now threating lien. We have offered to pay for his time and what the fixtures are worth. We have found the exact items at Home Depot so we do know the cost.
His work involved just installing the tub old one was already out. Installing the toilet old one already removed. Installing shower fixtures and vanity taps. We supplied the vanity taps he supplied shower fixtures.
Total cost of material approx. $450 total billed to us 3400 plus tax. We knew his price up front and agreed but again lead to believe top of the line.
Do you have a written contract? If not his lien threat won't really hold up and is not worth the time and money for such a small amount.
You should have picked out all the fixtures yourself, or at least the model # that you wanted. Top of the line is different to everybody. I have installed vanity faucets that were $1200 a piece, is that top of the line to you, or a $2-300 faucet?
You should never leave it up to a contractor to pick out finishes, not all but most will pick out to cheapest they can find to maximize there profits. Just look at any new subdivision house being built.
Offering to pay for his time and material is very reasonable of you. However no one can tell you what his time is worth without seeing what he has done and the work that was involved.
It's unfortunate your stuck in this predicament, since the quote did not specify exact name brand model etc he gave you his version of "top of the line" if it was truly top of the line fixtures $3400 would be a very good price.
If he is within his lien right period he can place a lien which would result in a costly battle. Without looking at the quote its hard to say if you have an argument or not. I would recommend that you try to meet somewhere in the middle raising the argument that your top of the line is ... And the cost of that is... And in return you got ... Which is worth ... Therefore you would be entitled a credit of ...
What ever you do make sure you get it in writing to avoid any further misunderstanding.
Get everything in writing before you give money, you probably get that now.
Situation you are in is just his word against yours, sounds like you gave him a go ahead and then did your home work.
Check with your Land titles office it may vary from province to province but a lien has a very short shelf life - and it really means nothing unless you are financing the property or selling. In Calgary a lien is only good for 45 days and then it has to be renewed for a higher cost.
Regardless of the lien any claim still has to be proved in court before either party is satisfied. So if you're not selling or getting a new mortgage, it is of little consequence.
Unfortunately You have to pay the man. If You had a contract with itemized scope of work and the brand name of the fixtures and he supplied something different you would have a chance. This way you don't. He lead you to believe that you will get top of the line fixtures will not stand on the court and the price he quoted dose not reflect any top of the line fixtures.
You also made mistake when you wrote the cheque and stop the payment if he register the lien. Not only that you will have problem with the mortgage if you have one, you will have to pay legal cost for him and yourself and that will amount to much more then what you owe.
If I was in your situation I probably would try to make orangemen with him and not to allowed this to escalate any further.
I understand your delema, but there are serveral things that should always be done when hiring a contractor, and that is have it in writing the products and serivces that are included in the pricing. I always photocopy the products from the catalogue and have the client sign that sheet and give then a copy for there files. This way there is no misunderstanding.
As for the situation that you are in, have you asked the contractor to change the product to what you were expecting. If is was in writing the quality that you were to receive, then it would have to be redone, but if it wasn't it's very hard to prove if you actually got what you asked for. Best bet is to try and get the contractor to correct the mistake. I don't think that the price was bad for what you got done, but it's very sad that you did not get what you thought that you were getting.
This is a common practice by many contractors in providing their customers with quotes and estimates -the details of the products or materials are not provided, so the customer has no idea what they are paying for.
This is why our company, even though it takes much more time, provides our customers with a detailed list of each and every item with it's actual cost right down to the nails and screws. Of course mistakes can happen, but the idea is to ensure the customer that every effort has been made to show them precisely what the job really does cost with no hidden or extra fees that are unreasonable.
Ask for details of the job.
Hope this helps.
I have been through this once before where a client payed me by cheque and two days later decided they wanted something different. I told them that they had recieved what they ordered and they would have to pay for new stairs. They refused and demanded there money back.
They took me to court and the judge told them straight up, once you pay for a product or service in full you are agreeing that you have recieved what you ordered and you are happy with it!
If the plumber liens your house and takes you to court he will 100% be successful
Thats not an opinion, thats the law!!
I'm had a renovation biss if he did not put the type or brand of tub and fixtures on contract you did not ask, as well high end fixtures can cost $1000.00 or more.
I've done job the fixtures cost $5000.00, you may think that is low end, some make think it is high end. The contractor may have a different idea. We charge not less then $1000.00 a day + materal the price sounds fare if the workmanship looks good then what can i say If you go to court i think you will end up paying.
A mid end bathroom starts $10.000 did you get other est to compare, was he the lowest? If he was then you now low price low end he can lein any property you own 45 days then court time off work 2-3 day in it is pushed back lean cost is $250.00 + job.
I am sorry your renovation didn't end up the way you wanted. Unfortunately this type of work and the problems that often arise most often are due to communication. It is always best to lay out the terms and your expectations right from the start.
In this case-simply saying top of the line is too loose a phrase to know what you may receive in the end. Some peoples idea of top of the line differs from another. As much as each contractor wants to please-it is there goal to make $$$. I hope the quality of the work was up to par and that your contractor got all the necessary permits and inspections.
As far as the quality of material goes-you really needed to tell your contractor exactly what you wanted-perhaps even purchasing the fixtures yourself. I don't know the people that did the work for you- but It is most likely that they really were not out to rip you off. But most contractors are out to make $$$ - so if they have the flexibility to make the purchase- they will probably choose the less expensive product.
I hope at least everything looks and works well. In the future when dealing with tradesmen-always put as much detail in the arrangement as possible. This leaves far less to chance.
Granite Wood Contracting
Georgian Bay, Parry Sound, Muskoka
Sorry you got stiffed...if you had a contract and did not specify specific materials you are out of luck...he can sue you and will likely win! You have to always hire the right guy who is bonded!...has a pre-paid license and the right contract as per the province you are in. Their references should reflect their service.
Unless it is in writing you only interpreted what he said, he obviously decided to cheap out and kept the extra money. You might be able to make a claim if you have independent witnesses but likely it will be difficult.
Offer them half the materials and hope they go away...then tell file a complaint with consumer affairs, BBB etc...so the word gets out to avoid these turkeys, they give the rest of us a bad name.
My background in business has been as a general contractor for nearly 38 years. The way we have been dealing with supplying fixtures goes this way.
Let's say that you want a new toilet. My budget for it is $200. If you want a more expensive toilet, I will credit your contract price for $200 and you can play yourself out for as much money as you feel like. Same for taps for the bathroom vanity. Budget: $60.00, You feel it will look cheap, then I credit $60 and you can go nuts, but with your own money.
It has worked for me on the last basement we just finished. I gave him the credit for the amount that was scheduled for the bathtub and he decided on a soaking tub that he bought himself. He wanted glass doors instead of the shower curtain, so he upgraded and paid for it.
That way no surprises and it is a win-win situation. There was no need for detailed description for materials /fixtures. What I was supplying was based on a budget amount. I was to supply very good and they decided for different or way more expensive. Go for it.
I must say that it does not happen very often, but when it does, it is an easy solution to what could turn into a headache.
Fast-Up Building Systems,
East St Paul, MB
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