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to query a bill?

(7 Posts)
beccyboots Wed 12-Feb-14 14:30:07

A 'friend' of ours has many building skills, and has done several jobs around our home. He agreed to put in our new galley kitchen, and wooden floor in the kitchen and dining room. We asked him his price, and he gave us a daily rate. We asked him how long it would take, and he estimated two weeks. Stupidly, we didn't get this in writing, because we hadn't done so for smaller jobs, and he had always stuck to our verbal agreements previously.
The work was carried out quickly when my DH was present for the first week, but then DH had to go away for a month. Our friend then started dawdling on the job. One day, he put up two shelves in 6 hours, on another day, he completed three small rows of tiling (minus grout!) and on another day, his 6 hours was spent laying 10 planks. My DH advised to not mention this, just in case he got in a huff and didn't complete the job.
After nearly 6 weeks, the job was finally completed and we resigned ourselves to the extra cost in terms of the time it had taken. We felt our 'friend' had taken as long as he could, to maximise his earnings, and that we would just pay up, not use him again, and let the friendship go.
However, when presented with the bill, we found that he had hiked up his daily rate by ten per cent. I challenged him about this, and he said he had not given us a daily rate, or an estimate of how long the job would take or cost. I pointed out that we would not begin building works without a quote, and that both me and my DH were present went he gave us the quote. After some wrangling, he agreed that we should pay him at the originally agreed rate - although he would not admit that had been the rate.
The next day (we hadn't yet paid him) I saw that he was working at my neighbours. She is also friends with him. I telephoned her to advise that she get a written quote, because he had spun out our job to three times the length/price, and had then inflated the daily rate on the final bill. To my surprise, she was annoyed that I had told her this, and promptly told him! I then received abusive text messages from him, saying that we were 'low' and he didn't want to take money from people like us. I didn't enter into a slanging match, but said that of course we would pay him, but that if he didn't want it, he should give it to charity. His last text was that we should give it to charity.
I am conscious of our potential legal position. I want to pay him, so that there is no come-back on us. How do we make him take payment?
And have I been unreasonable in telling our neighbour of our experience with this man? Have I been unreasonable in challenging him? My feeling is that we should have challenged him in week 3 or 4, but my husband was against this. And now we are surrounded by angry people... HELP!

SquinkiesRule Wed 12-Feb-14 15:37:31

Send him a check and letter saying it's for the total cost, registered mail, if he doesn't cash it, it's his loss. Keep copies of it all and file it away in case he comes back saying you didn't pay.
Your other neighbor was stupid to tell him and opened herself up to being overcharged. But I doubt he'll dawdle over hers now that you said something.
Just ignore the lot of them, his true colours will show eventually and they'll know you were right.

SamG76 Wed 12-Feb-14 15:49:45

Also, tell him if he does cash it, that's in full and final settlement, so he can't treat it as part payment and then come back for more. You were quite reasonable to tell your neighbour. She was BVU to tell him....

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 12-Feb-14 15:54:38

Yes, agree, just send him the cheque in the post.

Learn a lesson though, always get things like this in writing as it protects you...and the builder as well....and if you can get a rate for the total job, not day rate!

I say this as the wife of a builder.

Icelollycraving Wed 12-Feb-14 16:50:02

Oh dear,that's all stressful &awkward! Do as others suggested,pay by cheque with a note to say you were always happy to pay & that is the end of it.
I once had a builder do my kitchen in a flat. He was v sweet & I felt comfortable leavibg him in my home. He quoted for the job & took forever,it was ridiculous. I found the reason though,he was phoning Housewives Direct,sex line for middle aged bored housewives & presumably wanking in my kitchen. Mind bleach!!

beccyboots Wed 12-Feb-14 20:38:23

Thank you very much everyone! Extremely sensible advice, which I wasn't able to think of for myself, because in my horror over all this, I've been in a right tizzy. It's hard to see the woods for the trees, when you are in the midst of an unpleasant situation.
This is my first ever post, and I am amazed and grateful at the helpful and very lovely responses.
I apologise if I should be replying to everyone - I will get to grips with thread convention as I read more.
Right, off to write that letter, sign a cheque, mark it 'full and final payment' and to look up his address. And yes, we have definitely learned by our mistake...
Thank you so much!

beccyboots Wed 12-Feb-14 20:41:20

Oh, and I almost choked at icelollycraving's offering! Ha ha! Hope you gave the kitchen a good wipe down...

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