Builder sending new invoice months after balance paid - update

(24 Posts)
FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Thu 28-Apr-16 16:38:28

Here is a link to a thread I posted in AIBU a few months ago. I am the same OP but I've got a new phone and can't seem to log back in, despite reset emails! not very technical : http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/2569277-Builder-sending-a-new-invoice-after-work-is-finished-and-balance-is-paid

Basically we had major building work lasting about 8 months. We paid every invoice immediately throughout, including the final one back in December.

In January, the builder sent an additional invoice for nearly £1600 shock We were having our 2nd baby less than a week later (elcs) and called him to say we disputed it and had other priorities, but would respond.

A few weeks later he sent a chaser email, asking for the balance asap. We responded within a fortnight, apologising for the delay - a beloved family member had died suddenly and what with that, toddler and newborn it had taken us a couple of weeks. We sent a detailed response to each item on the invoice and offered a full and final settlement of £378, largely as a goodwill gesture.

Nearly 4 weeks later he replied saying that he didn't accept this and we should pay in full asap.

We replied within a week with another detailed response and offered slightly more, but nowhere near what he was asking.

Some of the items are extras that he mentioned at the time and then never got around to pricing and invoicing us for, despite us asking. We've offered to pay for these things.

Other things though are things like rerouting drainage in the kitchen. He says that he didn't know the intended layout, and so based his quotation on our previous kitchen layout. This isn't true. We showed him detailed scaled drawings of the new kitchen before he ever quoted, and the new kitchen was on site for him to see (in the garage).

His plumber didn't come to look at the job before he quoted, so he guessed on his behalf. I think that the incredibly slow to do anything, delayed the completion by months plumber has now invoiced the builder and he's trying to pass the cost onto us.

It's been weeks since we sent him our final offer. I'm really upset and worried and don't know what to do. I dread checking my email. It's a lot of money and we need to know what's happening, especially as I'm on maternity leave now.

I feel like this whole business is an intrusion on our family time and I just want it done. I'm worried it's going to get nasty and confrontational. I don't think he would but I dread him turning up when dh is out. He's best friends with our ndn, which is how we found him.

I'd be very grateful for any advice please. How long do we have to reasonably wait for him to respond? Can we say that we revoke our offer if he doesn't respond by X date? We sent everything without prejudice.

Thanks!

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Thu 28-Apr-16 16:38:42

Sorry it's so long...

aginghippy Thu 28-Apr-16 16:45:40

If he turns up at your house, you don't have to speak to him. If he gets aggressive, call the police.

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Thu 28-Apr-16 16:50:20

I would do. I don't really think he would but it's just at the back of my mind. We got on really well with him during the building work. I'm sort of desperately scrabbling around to resolve this without a confrontation, mainly in case we need him back for snagging!

There have been lots of minor yet annoying plumbing problems since the work finished. Dh has dealt with them all luckily, as we don't feel we can ask the builder. He's spent a lot of weekends fixing stuff though which is a pain.

tigerdog Thu 28-Apr-16 16:51:23

This happened to us after a major building project - our builder issued a surprise £7k invoice several months later, having never mentioned any additional costs! We stuck to our guns and refused to pay it. Thankfully we were supported by the terms of our contract with him, which stated all changes and additional costs were to be agreed and signed off. It was hideous and I felt so stressed, but I'm glad we didn't give in. There were letters exchanged, and he came round to discuss it but we held firm despite many sleepless nights.

Do you have a contract with them? If so I would check it over to see what you are liable for in these circumstances. I would not be prepared to bear additional cost incurred by the builder not doing things right first time e.g the kitchen layout - otherwise where is the incentive for them to do it properly.

Stand firm. Sounds to me like you've been fair.

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Thu 28-Apr-16 17:02:41

Thank you. I've been going over all the paperwork and we don't have a contract as such (stupid of us I know). What we have is his original quotation which has his bank details on and states payment to be made in x days. There's nothing about extras. Feeling very foolish.

The quotation is extremely detailed and is several pages long. Dh put a full list together of absolutely every detail, room by room.

Some of the things he's now trying to charge for are extras which we've already paid for, such as installing new radiator in hallway.

Some things are things he never told us about and that we certainly would have told him not to bother about. Eg. He wants £100 for removing some old pipes from the loft. The pipes weren't in the way and we would have just left them there doing nothing.

Argh.

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Thu 28-Apr-16 17:06:33

We were able to prove to him that we'd already paid for the new radiator by citing an invoice from early in the job where he's listed it under works completed to date. He hasn't acknowledged this though.

And to think that I supplied him and his team with tea, coffee and chocolate digestives for eight long months grinangry

tigerdog Thu 28-Apr-16 17:23:15

Well, without a contract it is a bit harder to say what is in or out definitively but he certainly can't double charge for items.

I'm wondering if this is a standard list of things that builders try and charge for as ours included very similar things!

I would be tempted to restate the final offer, and suggest that he has a certain number of days to respond and accept, otherwise you will seek advice on the next steps given that you dispute the final invoice and have not agreed to the additional charges.

Creampastry Thu 28-Apr-16 18:42:49

Get a friend to get a quote and get a sample contract or t&c for you.

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Thu 28-Apr-16 22:48:26

Trouble is, he's so scatty it'd probably take him weeks to even go around today look at a job!

Any thoughts on whether we should chase him up, and how much longer to give him? Or just leave it and wait to hear from him?

andintothefire Sun 01-May-16 19:10:57

You can revoke your offer and make a new without prejudice offer or you can write to him saying that your offer will only be open for acceptance until a particular date.

AugustaFinkNottle Sun 01-May-16 21:28:51

Send him payment of what you think you owe him and say that you regard the matter as closed. If you delay paying he may be able to claim interest.

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Mon 02-May-16 23:46:34

Sorry, I missed the last couple of posts. Both interesting ideas. Would it be ok to give him a deadline, from a legal point of view?

On the other hand, if we do that then we'll have to pay him at least something. If we leave it, he may try to take us to court for the full amount. If it came to that it would be horrible, but I wonder it might go in our favour... Hmm.

WhatchaMaCalllit Tue 03-May-16 14:36:51

The last post on the earlier thread suggested that you contact your home insurance company if you have legal cover as part of the insurance. Did you contact them about it? What did they advise?

My suggestion (as the builder hasn't accepted your earlier emails) is to bring all of this to a solicitors attention and get their advice. If you can, make an appointment to meet with a solicitor and explain the situation, they may be able to put in writing (acting on your behalf) that you are willing to pay X amount for the following items (and list them) and nothing else and if they want to accept X amount they must do so within 7 days or something. You will be transferring the money to their account and you will consider the matter closed after that.
Best get the advice of a solicitor though.

Gide Tue 03-May-16 18:54:43

Send an adjusted email, detailing refreshments at a reasonable price for each day worked. When he objects, tell him you didn't need xyz doing but he still did it, he has charged you again for stuff already paid for. Offer him a final amount of £whatever is reasonable (to you). If he does not respond, send 'full and final' amount to his bank. Keep copies of everything, signed, dated, witnessed by neighbour.

HereIAm20 Tue 03-May-16 19:37:57

Send him a cheque for what you want to pay in full and final settlement. If he banks it he is deemed to have accepted it in full and final settlement unless he responds immediately to say he is banking it but not accepting it in full and final settlement.

DiggersRest Tue 03-May-16 19:50:02

I had similar with a guy who fitted our bathroom. At the end he presented us with a invoice for double what he had quoted shock

We paid the amount he had receipts for and the other stuff l just said l never asked you to do that. It's awkward as he was recommended by someone we know and in the end l lost my shit with him because a 2 week job ran to over 5 weeks and l was trying to recover from a mc.

My advice is to pay as you've offered for things clearly owed but re-routing drainage for example should either be part of the quote or agreed before work was done.

Good luck, l know it's stressful.

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Wed 04-May-16 08:45:01

Thank you. We did speak to a solicitor using our family legal cover and their advice was that technically we didn't have to pay, but as some of the items were extras we would have paid for without a problem had he asked at the time, then we might want to offer to pay for those. These are the things we're offering to pay, plus a couple of goodwill gesture payments. When we spoke to them though we had no idea he was going to take so long to get back to us. Think I'll ring them again as we still haven't heard from him.

FasterThanASnakeAndAMongoose Wed 04-May-16 08:46:43

Love the idea of invoicing him for refreshments! 6-8 weeks he said... 7.5 months.

t4gnut Wed 04-May-16 08:58:38

Difficult - he gave you a quote and not a fixed fee, s it was subject to variation. He should have discussed and agreed any additional works or costs as they occurred and agreed them, but may have taken earlier conversations as instruction to get the job done properly.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 04-May-16 09:08:06

Acceptance of the quotation and payment for the work listed constitutes a fulfilled contract. Offer, acceptance, consideration and the intent to create a legal agreement, it's all there in your actions up to the final settlement. This is why your solicitor said he hasn't a technical claim.

Personally, I would think he's trying it on with a naive family who don't want conflict. I would told him to bugger off, but then I was robbed blind by a chancer many years ago, and now tradesmen don't get through the door without an insurance certificate and a VAT number. The LL.B gets dropped into the conversation at some point too.

RhodaBull Wed 04-May-16 09:24:37

I had this exact problem. Firm quoted for doing bathrooms and I accepted. At the end of the work I was presented with a bill two thirds higher than the quote. No mention had been made during the work that extra costs had been incurred.

I paid what I could clearly see was extra work, and said it was in full and final settlement. The bathroom firm threatened to sue me, which was a bit hairy, but then dh came up with the idea of asking to see completed time sheets of the workmen and a log of where they had been. I never heard from the firm again!

GoEasyPudding Wed 04-May-16 09:49:24

Disgrace what is the LL.B?

I am liking your advice and info and will make a note of it as I have been ripped off slightly twice now, only small things but I need to plan house improvements and I'm too scared to!

Good luck to the OP.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Wed 04-May-16 09:53:10

LL.B = law degree. The polite equivalent of openly carrying a gun.

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