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Should I pay my Uncle? A bit long, but opinions needed please.

(4 Posts)
MamaMimi Wed 29-Jun-11 10:40:39

Last year we decided to build an extension and sorted out the builders etc. My Uncle had recently qualified as an electrician and we asked him if he would be interested in doing the electrical work on the extension. I asked him for a price for the work after showing him the plans but he didn?t come back to me with one. He was asked again for a price when the first electrical work was to be started but again didn?t come back to me with a quote.

To cut a long story short, he still hasn't finished after more than 12 months work (although the actual build was signed off in January) and has been responsible for a catalogue of disasters including cutting through a water pipe on his first day, forgetting to put cables in and switches on walls, breaking lamp shades and sockets, and generally bodging a lot of the job. In addition he only comes for one or two half days a week when he spends more time sat on the chair drinking tea and eating lunch we've made him than working and practically has to be dragged off the chair to do anything at all. He often rings up to cancel coming at very short notice as he is working on jobs for other people, which all take priority over our job.

He has held up our decorating work and caused endless frustration and stress. In addition he has used DP as a labourer, used DP's tools as he never seems to have the right tool for the job, uses materials meant for us on other jobs and never tidies up any of the mess he makes. Also DP usually has to go round after he's gone making things good and ensuring fitments are level etc.

If he wasn't related and we had employed him with an agreement in place, we would have fired him from the job at least 6 months ago.

The reason we have put up with all of this and remained patient and good natured with him is we presumed that he was doing the job for nothing, especially as he was prioritising other jobs before ours and fitting us in around other work.

We have paid for materials as and when needed, including equipment and materials needed to repair his bodges.

Today he asked DP for £1000 for the work he had done. DP was a bit stunned and told him that he would discuss it with me later. If we had been told beforehand by him that the work would cost £1000, we would have demanded the job be given priority and finished well before now. We also wouldn't have put up with any mess or mistakes either.

We are both gobsmacked that he has asked for this money and are not really sure how to handle it. We feel that he has not earned this sort of money from us at all and our initial reaction is to tell him to take a running jump. Any opinions and advice would be welcome.


Thistledew Wed 29-Jun-11 10:52:58

If you can afford, say £100, I would write him a letter with everything in your post, put the money in the envelope as well and add that you really hope it is not going to blow up into a big family row.

Alternatively, do you have a cousin or aunt with whom you get on well, who you can have a subtle conversation with on the basis that you are not sure that he is serious about asking for the money?

SarkySpanner Wed 29-Jun-11 13:48:22

Ask him for a detailed break down of the costs of the hours worked and materials used. Then you have something more concrete to 'dispute'

And likewise you should come up with a breakdown of the costs that you have incurred due to his mistakes.

MamaMimi Wed 29-Jun-11 18:24:09

Sorry, I've been busy all day since posting.

Thanks for your responses and suggestions Thistledew and Sarkyspanner.

I don't really want to involve any other family members, just feel like it's between us.

Yes, I could ask him to break it down. I get the feeling he thinks he's asking for less than the job should cost. As I've said we've already paid for all the materials so the £1000 is obviously just meant to cover his labour. I don't think he would be able to give us a breakdown as I doubt he's kept track of when he's been here, he is so unorganised. Often he would turn up without the necessary materials, tools or equipment to do the job he knew was planned for that day and would either have to use stuff of dp's or leave early without achieving very much!

He couldn't come at one point because he didn't have any cable - an electrician without any cable!! I don't know how he'll keep the business running.

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