Bad Contractor - How do we wrap-up the contract & reserve funds to fix what he's done poorly?

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Posted by: from Toronto
5/1/2012 at 7:55:10 PM

We signed a contract with a contractor who was brought to us by the Interior Designer we hired for the kitchen & living area reno of our condo. There were many, many issues but the work was completed - three weeks overdue - & of a poor quality.

There is 10% payment left owing on the contract. We do not want the contractor to return to fix the deficiencies. He's already had his men work on some & the quality is still very poor. We will have to hire someone else to redo them at some point.

Now he's sent us an abusive e-mail where he has stated that the portion of the glass kitchen backsplash that was incorrectly installed was not his fault because no one told him nor the tiler that they would be installing glass tiles. He goes on to say that his tiler "will repair what's not obvious to me and fix to some reasonable satisfaction, but we will not be responsible for any damage that results from this work..."

Do we have any right to say we'd like to hold back the amount quoted by another tiler to repair this area?! He's being very pushy about having his men return to fix a couple of items despite the fact that we've told him we no longer feel comfortable having him or his men return to do work.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time5/1/2012 at 9:05:17 PM

It is your home and your project. If do not want to have the contractor finish your job that you hired, that is your right. 10% hold back is normal and depending on the total price, could mean the difference between profit or loss for some.

If you feel you can hire someone (you better be sure he wont make things worse) else to do the job for the money you are holding back, you might be in a worse position than you are right now. Some contractors make a worse mess fixing others work because not many people work identically and buy their materials at the same place (electrical has standards that every contractor must adhere to) but finish and tiling is not standardized.

Personally I paid a cabinet maker to install custom cabinets (turned out to be home depot chip board) with marble counter top, that was messed up so badly, I told him not to come back. Luckily it is not my kitchen which I nearly hired him for (+/- $40,000).

It is too late now to regret hiring them, but I would shop around and visit some of the places where they did work to ensure you are getting quality. I wish you luck.

Maybe check with BBB next time for reputations of contractors.

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Date/Time5/9/2012 at 10:15:37 PM

Just a caution to all of us who provide responses to people: be careful we are not giving (what appears to be) legal advice/opinions. In the same way that I would not want a lawyer to install my backsplash, I doubt lawyers want us goving what may be interpreted as (well intentioned) legal advice.

Having said this, I would recommend that this poster contact a lawyer (and bring along the Contract and any other documentation/correspondance) to get an opinion be a trained legal professional.

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Robert from Electrilight Ltd. in Oakville
Date/Time5/9/2012 at 10:30:09 PM

I don't know too many lawyers that offer free advice.

Brett you shouldn't be afraid to offer advice on what you know or had experience in, after all, it is the internet and people search for answers and this site is one of them.

There are rules that every contractor and client have to protect themselves from issues of contractual agreements. Some of these are part of training when opening a business - who has what rights and when I signed for my insurance policy to protect my company, I did read the fine print to know where I stand as a business owner and a customer (since I am in fact both).

Offering some free advice should not be unheard of unless the person giving it has no idea of what they are talking about.

I agree a lawyer could be approached, but why not go to the local town office, our government has most of these answers for free. Ministry of labour, consumer rights of Canada, etc

But when lawyers want thousands of dollars to go to court to win back a few thousand, is it really worth it? Small claims court,

not always in our favour either... best to try and work it out amicably first.


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