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Builder sending a new invoice after work is finished and balance is paid

(27 Posts)
NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight Thu 11-Feb-16 20:58:27

We had major building work done which was finally completed in early December. We paid for it over 4 installments every couple of months. We made the final payment once Building Control had signed it all off and we had the completion certificate.

During the build there were a couple of extras/unexpected things which needed doing, and we agreed a cost for these with the builder. All fine.

In September, the builder mentioned that some of the plumbing work had been more extensive than the plumber had expected, and there might be extra cost. We asked him about it over and over, and he kept apologising for the delay in confirming the cost, saying he would speak to the plumber and get back to us. We weren't too worried as we thought that at worst it might be the cost of an extra day's plumbing.

Anyway, he never got back to us about the plumbing. We paid the final invoice, price exactly as agreed back in April. It was all very friendly and amicable and we gave him a crate of beer and promised to recommend him.

Well. 2 weeks ago he sent us an invoice for plumbing and 'plumbing related' extras. £1570. Wtaf.

None of the things on the invoice were extras we'd agreed at the time. For example, one thing was to do with rerouting the water supply by a couple of metres in the kitchen floor. But when he quoted he already had scaled drawings of the new kitchen and the old one was already out, floor removed and everything, so all pipe work on display. He quoted to fit the kitchen. He now wants an extra £550 for this detail.

When he quoted he didn't get any of the other tradespeople out to look at the stuff they'd be doing, he just quoted on their behalf. I think he under quoted for plumbing and now he's trying to claw back money from us.

Any thoughts on what we should do? I initially rang him in an angry panic. I had a baby last week so was feeling quite hormonal. We basically said we've got other much more important priorities at the moment and we'd be in touch. We are going to have to respond to him soon though.

Any thoughts or advice on what we should do?? We'd like to keep things friendly in case we need to call on him for snagging in the future. On the other hand I'm seriously pissed off and feel he's trying to rip us off. Help.

NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight Thu 11-Feb-16 20:58:43

God that was long. Sorry blush

Littleallovertheshop Thu 11-Feb-16 21:03:19

Wow. I don't think this is on. At all. A couple of hundred, perhaps yes with warning, but 1.5k is insane. X

Littleallovertheshop Thu 11-Feb-16 21:03:53

I have no idea why I put an x on my reply.... blush

lougle Thu 11-Feb-16 21:08:13

That's never right. I'd refute it all and let him take you to small claims if he thinks he can prove it.

NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight Thu 11-Feb-16 21:11:19

I was rather touched by the x grin

The more I think about it the more angry and upset I feel. We're not mega rich. We paid for the building work with inheritance. I think he thinks though that we can just afford it. I'm very angry with him.

Marniasmum Thu 11-Feb-16 21:12:02

Anything 'underground' is always a bit of an unknown for builders as obviously they don't know what they will find when they start digging .Do you have a written contract, and if so does it say anything about unforeseen costs? If not I would just forget all about it.My gut feeling is that the builder is chancing it!

NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight Thu 11-Feb-16 21:14:57

I agree that he's probably chancing it. The thing is though that all the 'underground' stuff was visible. When he quoted we'd already had some cowboy builders in who had removed our kitchen and kitchen floor (and bathroom, bastards). The floor was rough concrete with trenches all over it.

Imnotaslimjim Thu 11-Feb-16 21:16:07

I think he's swinging the lead a little, I'd definitely be querying. I'm sure there will be people with more knowledge around to help with how

Walkacrossthesand Thu 11-Feb-16 21:25:35

A bill for extras 9 months later?! And some of the extras unreasonable eg for pipe work that he could see needed doing when he quoted. I think you can resist that (and iirc £1500 is within small claims territory) - maybe wander over to legal & repost there for the experts to opine?

var123 Thu 11-Feb-16 21:34:55

I don't think you've got much chance of keeping things friendly. He won't like it if you don't pay up and you won't like it if you do.

NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight Thu 11-Feb-16 21:42:20

Aye I don't think so either. We thought about compromising and paying some of it, but I really really don't think we owe him a penny.

I'd much rather put that money in the dcs' savings accounts.

var123 Thu 11-Feb-16 22:00:49

He'll only count the money you didn't pay on the invoice not what you give.

Citizens advice?

NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight Thu 11-Feb-16 22:10:09

I rang them but they weren't much help. I might ring them back any hope I get somebody else. The guy I spoke to said he could only advise, but he couldn't comment on whether it was even legal for the builder to ask.

HackAttack Thu 11-Feb-16 22:11:05

Nine months later?! I'd tell him he should have said at the time and it's far too late. I'd tell him to take me to court as that's the only way he'd get a penny.

Cleensheetsandbedding Thu 11-Feb-16 22:14:54

No chance!

Get then to take you to small claims and ask for a full list of what the extras are

Balletgirlmum Thu 11-Feb-16 22:22:59

I work in the accounts dept of a construction (plumbing) firm. I'm partly responsible for chasing payments/starting proceedings for non payers.

He doesn't have a leg to stand on if you didn't agree the extra cost at the time. Jobs sometimes go down, if we think this might be the case we put a contingency sum on the quote but ultimately if we quote for a job & the subby we employ costs more we have to take the hit.

If it gets as far as court it will be thrown out.

TheMightyMing Thu 11-Feb-16 22:27:54

This happened to me but it was electrics! About the same amount. I said no way. We had paid our bill months before.

NotAWhaleOmeletteInSight Thu 11-Feb-16 22:33:55

Good advice, thanks all! How do you think we should broach it with him? What did your builder say Mighty?

BreconBeBuggered Thu 11-Feb-16 22:49:25

I had a similar situation with a new-build on a small development. Builder fell out with us because we were leading a campaign to get him to tidy up the site and surface the road, that kind of thing. One day, months after we'd moved in, a bill for several hundred pounds came through the letterbox: all for items we'd discussed before the house was built, but not 'extras' as such, just things we'd specified such as location of electrical sockets.

A day or two later there was a solicitor's letter threatening us with court action if we didn't pay up immediately. See you in court, then, we said. We'd kept all the paperwork and drawings on file so we knew he was chancing his arm out of sheer pettiness. He did take us to court, where his mortified solicitor apologised to us on behalf of his wanker client.

TheMightyMing Fri 12-Feb-16 09:02:52

Nothing he was very sheepish! The electrical contractors had took the p anyway and weren't v reliable . We parted on reasonable terms I think. Just say no and don't engage any further is my advice . As I said 'I can't give you what I don't have'! Let us know how you get on good luck

AlpacaMyThings Fri 12-Feb-16 09:40:50

Don't take his word for it.

Ask to see the original invoice from the plumber. This will either shut him up, give you a chance to see if he has 'massaged' the original figure (it could just be a couple of 100, or in fact he has received an addition invoice for something you aren't aware of and does in fact need paying.

Dispute and stall all the way. Let him get arsey - they all do.

bodenbiscuit Fri 12-Feb-16 09:43:47

I really would not be thinking of instructing someone as devious as this again if I were you.

Floggingmolly Fri 12-Feb-16 09:53:26

Don't pay anything at all. If you start trying to negotiate a smaller amount; you're acknowledging that there is still a debt actually owed, you're just not happy with the amount. There isn't.
It's a total try on.

thekingfisher Fri 12-Feb-16 09:58:15

You may have free legal advice as part of your home insurance cover - check and if you do then you will probe be able to get some clear advice and perhaps on a letter to reply

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