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To ask if I have been the ultimate mug and can I fix it?!?!

(17 Posts)
Beenabitofamug Mon 18-May-20 18:02:50

MN, I need you! Really hoping there is something that we can do about this.

Housing project. Entire house redecorating. Quoted 18k plus vat so let’s say 21k. Pay weekly as requested. Suddenly corona strikes (After 3/4 months of them
working) and although we have completed payments, there is still a fair bit of work outstanding. Decorators stop for a few weeks, as is reasonable/expected etc. They came back to work with social distancing etc, working on different floors. Needed 3k for “extras” not included on initial quote (despite the fact the initial quote still hasn’t been bloody finished). Fine.

We have 1k outstanding to pay them. They are basically taking the fucking piss. Not showing up for days as another job witholding payment so going there instead. Starting work on neighbour’s front door When we have about 3/4 weeks left of work here.

Managed to talk to head decorator who is responsible for all this (very nice men actually working on the job think we have been totally taken the piss out of for being too nice/shouldn’t have paid weekly etc. Also very annoyed with how their boss moving them from pillar to post and working). Horrible boss comes round and is very nasty and aggressive and says he’s run out of money etc etc so needs to do other jobs not his fault. Basically 0 fucks given, not apologetic and 🤷🏻‍♀️

What the fuck can I do?!? I feel like such an idiot for paying weekly in good faith. Paid 95% of the job and 80% is completed. Now what?!? We have a very comprehensive written break down of what was expected and how it was priced in initial quote so it’s clear to see what’s outstanding, but not in the extras. Can we do anything? Or is this just “lesson learnt, suckers!”

OP’s posts: |
TheMandalorian Mon 18-May-20 18:08:37

£21k to decorate your house? Do you live in Buckingham palace??
Yes you very much have been taken for a mug.
Never pay workmen up front. Always after they have completed a task.
Small claims court is your next step if negotiations with contractor aren't working. Dont give him any more money. brew

Cinderella66 Mon 18-May-20 18:09:09

Get quotes for completing the work, send a letter before action, then issue proceedings.

Beenabitofamug Mon 18-May-20 18:19:24

Thank you both!!!!!!

It’s quite a large house and was totally gutted. My concern isn’t the original quote it’s that the work hasn’t been bloody done even having paid extras.

We are idiots, I know.

Excellent advice though thank you

OP’s posts: |
SunflowerSeedsForever Mon 18-May-20 18:23:56

Never pay workmen up front. Always after they have completed a task.

Then you will never get a tradesman to work for you on a big job.
50% at start and 50% on completion is the standard here.

SunflowerSeedsForever Mon 18-May-20 18:24:26

Or 50%, 30% , 20% if going over about 14 weeks.

Witchend Mon 18-May-20 18:28:42

Quoted 18k plus vat so let’s say 21k

At work we were around 1/4 that for a good sized place where scaffolding was needed for some of the taller places.

MaternitySpongeBob Mon 18-May-20 18:29:56

Never pay workmen up front

I'm sorry but that's neither the norm anywhere I've lived, nor reasonable. It's ridiculous to suggest that's fair. They'll have material costs, possible subcontractors, etc of their own... It always strikes me as an odd middle class MN bubble when posters suggest piss taking terms for the proles who serve them!

Op, you've been given good advice here about small claims, the only other thing is check your home insurance in case you have legal support available. Also might want to give them an informal written heads up about next steps being court, and exactly what can prevent that (i.e. which items outstanding, to a reasonable timeline).. you may find yourself bumped up the priority list.

Beenabitofamug Mon 18-May-20 18:42:28

Also might want to give them an informal written heads up about next steps being court, and exactly what can prevent that (i.e. which items outstanding, to a reasonable timeline).. you may find yourself bumped up the priority list

This is great advice, thank you!

OP’s posts: |
Elieza Mon 18-May-20 19:47:20

Do you have their address? You need that to take someone to the small claims. I found out to my cost as all I had was a mobile number

Beenabitofamug Mon 18-May-20 19:52:18

Yes - address on the invoice

OP’s posts: |
imsooverthisdrama Mon 18-May-20 20:13:35

Sounds like they are struggling financially, taking the piss yes .
When I had builders a few years ago when my house was renovated all was good but towards the end I had to push to get it finished as way past the schedule which in fairness wasn't always there fault .
Anyway they wanted me to pay the final balance when there was loads of things not finished . I left a very small amount I can't remember say a few hundred pounds and paid the rest . Loads still not finished 95% was complete and I was told I should of retained more by another builder who helped me finish off .
I looked into small claims court as I constantly got fobbed off but I found out no longer trading . I think they were struggling financially and struggled to pay sub contractors. One plumber threatened to come round and take the fittings because he didn't get paid. We had paid but he was employed by our builder not by us .
It's annoying but if I had to do it again I'd check references properly and make sure it's a business that was going for a while .
I think the thing is this coronavirus has put a lot of business in the shit financially and it wasn't for seen .
I went to citizens advice and was told to write a letter with details that you needed a date of work to be competed .
I'd contact head builder first ask for firm date , then do a letter threatening action .
Hopefully it's just a cash flow problem but do not pay any more money without breakdown and don't be worried about querying the quote .

Beenabitofamug Mon 18-May-20 20:45:36


Thank you for sharing your experience: sounds like a similar one to mine tbh. One of the decorators was shocked to hear we were paying weekly as they had not been paid for 5 weeks! I’m annoyed I don’t have more money retained as a bargaining chip. This is all total bullshit. Their quote for extras was a bit silly but we were happy to just stump up the cash because of corona and good will and wanting people to want to work etc. But equally it’s absurd to have a job like this so unfinished.

I think the thing which has annoyed me most of all was this guy’s attitude to me, his rudeness. If he had come in and actually been sorry I would have been much more sympathetic, but now I just feel like I’m out for blood because I don’t deserve to be spoken to like that in my own home. And I don’t really think it’s fine to have someone come into my house, drink my coffee and then fuck off to work on next door when we have so much outstanding.

OP’s posts: |
imsooverthisdrama Mon 18-May-20 21:03:32

You have my sympathy it really is stressful situation and it makes it worse when they treat you like that .
I hope you manage to resolve things .

Beenabitofamug Mon 18-May-20 21:08:57

Thank you! The other thing is my baby is due in 6 weeks so we are on a bit of a natural time crunch! They were supposed to be finished in March 😭

OP’s posts: |
IamtheDevilsAvocado Mon 18-May-20 21:15:34

Informal letter... Detailing outstanding jobs with tightish time frames...don't be too nice... He should already have finished these...and not buggered off... Nice people get shat on... As I know blush

If you give him too long, you may fall off the list again...

I'd include a phrase re what was agreed originally and that you paid as you expected him to finish within x time, as was agreed.
To avoid court action please prioritise this immediately, and inform me in writing when I can expect the necessary workmen on site... And when the job will be properly finished as per original contract.
Give time limit.

Small claims...

Sorry you're having this rubbish to deal with.. Most people aren't shysters... This bloke appears to be..

WizardOfAus Mon 18-May-20 21:52:42

Never pay workmen up front.

?? What planet are you on @TheMandalorian?? You need to pay a deposit. You can’t expect a tradesperson to work for free and bank roll the cost of materials for your little project.

Terrible advice.

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