Need advice about a bad contractor

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Posted by: from Vaughan
11/19/2015 at 10:40:22 AM

I recently hired a contractor to build a guest house in my backyard. I gave him two installments and I still owe him one more installment. According to him, he has completed the job but it is very poorly done. Not only did he use old used materials, (and charged me for new material), my wood stove to heat the house is installed incorrect. I have smoke coming back into the house. The whole house gets completely smoked up. I did inform him but all I get are excuses and nothing gets done. I also informed him about the materials and that I didn't approve of it to be installed but again all I get are excuses. He just keeps asking me for the payment.

My question is what should I do? I don't feel like he is owed the last installment considering there is lots of work that needs to be fixed and that I shouldn't have to pay for new material when clearly it isn't new.

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Date/Time11/19/2015 at 1:05:58 PM

Hi Carol,

The answer to your question. NO you should not pay him for the type of work that the contractor has done, if the work is not what is said to be in the contract then you should not have to pay him. Keeping the costumers happy is the #1 goal if he isn't OK with that then he's not a real contractor. Explain to him why the work wasn't done right through first time. Also materials used were they mentioned to you before going ahead with the work. Sounds like you going to have to hire another contractor to finish the work right. So you mind as well save that money and use it for another contractor.

Please take this advice make a few phone calls before hiring the first contractor you meet. If it sounds to good to be true then do not hire..I hope that was helpful good luck with your renovation project.

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Carol in Vaughan
Date/Time11/19/2015 at 1:48:12 PM

Thanks for the advice. I am going to make a few calls to other contractors. I wasn't told about the material before he installed it. I basically have a used fence as a floor in the house. I would never agree to that. I'm hoping I can find someone who can fix this mess.

Thanks so much for replying.

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Date/Time11/19/2015 at 4:08:17 PM

Hi Carol

I just want to throw this out there for your consideration; I am on your side with this issue but there are contractual issues that may make a seemingly no-brainer issue become more complicated.

In you contract did the contractor specify new materials ? In my contracts I always specify new material or if the client is providing material (such as light fixtures) customer supplied material . If the type of material is not specified, I suppose it is possible that the contractor could go to the local restore and purchase items and use them. I would think that would have been discussed previously.

In your contract was there a quality of workmanship clause? There is any number of ways to complete a job that is code compliant . It does not have to be pretty to be code compliant; ugly work (while it may not get you any additional jobs) still may be considered complete in the eyes of the law.

In you contract did you have a must pass all inspections clause? If the material is sub-standard and the mechanical (fireplace) is installed incorrectly, it should not have passed inspection. If the material is acceptable (even if it is used) and the mechanical has passed inspection... there is no code requirement for pretty.

It is possible in the eyes of the law that this guy did meet his contractual obligations and you withholding his payment might actually be in violation. His next option would be to put a lien on your house if he was so inclined. If however you have those clauses in your contract, you should not have any issues in holding back until the work meets the contractual obligations.


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time11/19/2015 at 5:51:51 PM

Do not pay if the jobs not done or not done right. If he completes the job and there are mistakes it's the contractors responsibility to fix thouse problems not yours. So my advice in the future do not pay until the jobs done and done right. I don't get paid until I finish and its signed off.

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Carol in Vaughan
Date/Time11/19/2015 at 6:03:38 PM

Yes new material was specified and also was told on the last two installments that he went to lowes to pick up material. I just had another contractor come by and see it and my problems are worse than I thought. Basically to fix the mess it's going to be worth all the money I already paid. I am still going to call around to make sure I do hire the right person this time. Thanks everybody for replying definitely not trusting people anymore. I'm ending up paying double than what I budgeted for.

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