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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 07:57 pm
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srossi
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So I'm having a nightmare with a handyman Tom that I've used extensively since I bought my house 2 years ago.  He's probably helped us with a dozen smaller projects, and they all turned out great.  He was friendly, on time, did good work, no red flags at all.  He charged $50/hr. and never seemed like he was wasting time and we tipped him on top of that and treated him really well.

So the last 2 weeks of August into the first week of September we went on vacation and wanted 2 projects done while we were away.  The first was remodeling the master bathroom that we had another crew do.  The second was creating a walk-in closet in our bedroom and expanding a closet in another room, because we needed more space for when the baby comes.  This was the largest project that we've ever asked this guy to do, and he came with a colleague to look at the job and they both agreed they could handle it.

So we go away and we're following up with everyone via text.  Tom texts back that he's completed the demo but certain things are slow going because he doesn't have room to work while the bathroom guys are cutting tile and doing other stuff.  We follow up with him a few more times and that's really the only indication we get that things aren't going perfectly, but he wrote "I'm not sweating it" and nothing seemed that awful.  The bathroom guys call at one point though to tell us that our house is a mess as far as dust and stuff and basically to say "It's not our fault" and that they cover everything when they work but Tom isn't being that careful.  I know Tom a lot better than I know these other guys so I don't think much of it, figuring that he'll clean up in time for us to get home. 

So we get home after 2 1/2 weeks away in early Sep. and nothing is cleaned up.  Layers of dust everywhere, even on different floors where they weren't working.  Our dresser is on our bed.  Furniture is moved and not put back.  It's a disaster area to the point that we have to get a hotel for 2 nights because we can't stay there.  Also, other than demo, nothing has been done.  There was never the slightest indication from Tom that the house was in that condition without the slightest regard for how we'd sleep there after a long plan ride.  From his texts, we were expecting that maybe he had to finish it still, but nothing like this.

So over the past 2 months we tried to get him to finish.  They would do a little work, then disappear.  The guy working with Tom, who was supposed to be the "expert" in these things, supposedly wound up in the hospital after getting beaten up by his domestic partner, which is only the 2nd most bizarre excuse we received.  After that guy dropped off, Tom asked his brother-in-law to finish it and he did a great job for a day and a half but on the day he was supposed to finish, we got a text from him saying that Tom insisted he take his kids to the zoo that day and Tom would come by and finish instead.  WTF?  Officially the most bizarre excuse.  You know where this is going.  Tom never showed up and claimed he never had that conversation.  Every day we'd ask, every day something else would come up.

So finally last week we get this exact text from Tom:

"I'm not gonna make it back to NY today. I'm sorry but your gonna need to find someone else to finish it. Every time I try to schedule with you things keep screwing up on my end."

I don't know how any of that is my problem but that's the message.  So he's out.

I paid him $1,000 up front with the idea that he would get another $1,000 plus cost of supplies upon completion.  When his brother-in-law got involved, he told me to pay him $500 to finish it, no supplies, and he would eat the rest due to the inconvenience (and I assume he was paying the brother-in-law something too, I have no idea).  For the 18 hours or so that the brother-in-law put in, I made the mistake of being nice and paying him $400 with the other $100 to be paid upon completion.  But he did a lot in fairness, more than Tom ever did, and installed the entire closet organizing system as well, so I'm less mad at him despite this bizarre zoo excuse.   

So I'm $1,400 in the hole (plus 2 nights in a hotel) and there's still a lot more to do and in getting quotes from other contractors some of what they did wasn't high quality work.  One of the closets need to be squared, finishing touches need to be put on them, but most importantly the doorway to the bedroom was moved and that's really a mess and not done well so a lot needs to be done in terms of framing the door, plastering, etc.  It's very clear he was in over his head and never should've accepted this project and couldn't handle it.  They started the demo on Aug. 22 and now it's Oct. 31.

It's going to cost at least $1,500 to finish, probably more.  I also have to pay a couple hundred at least to dispose of garbage from the demo that he left in our garage and never got rid of because he never came back.  I've already paid $1,400 for shoddy work.  I've asked for $700 of it back and he won't return texts or phone calls and he still has our house key.  I can threaten to sue, but to get lawyers involved is going to cost more than what I'm asking for.  Wondering what the best way to get this guy's attention might be.   



Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 08:03 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 08:49 pm
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freebirdsforever2001

 

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Do it yourself next time.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 09:29 pm
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srossi
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freebirdsforever2001 wrote: Do it yourself next time.
Yeah, great advice.  Because anyone has the skill and equipment to move a door and build 2 closets. 



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 09:50 pm
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DaNkinator



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srossi wrote: freebirdsforever2001 wrote: Do it yourself next time.
Yeah, great advice.  Because anyone has the skill and equipment to move a door and build 2 closets.

I'm with you, not good advice at all.

I have nothing to add either, other than thanks for the added anxiety after reading about all of this.  I'm about to have work done as well, this doesn't help.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 09:52 pm
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Benlen



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You dont wanna take him to small claims court? Time to cut ties with him.



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 10:27 pm
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srossi
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Benlen wrote: You dont wanna take him to small claims court? Time to cut ties with him.
The ties have clearly been cut, but the small claims court thing seems like a huge hassle and inconvenience.  I have the time but my wife dealt with him a lot and she's pregnant and has taken enough days off of work because of that so the she really doesn't have the time to take another day off.  We have so much to do that pursuing it legally seems like a huge hassle and more anxiety with no guarantees.  Instead of going after him for only $700, I might as well sue him for punitive damages if I'm going to go that far. 



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 10:36 pm
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srossi
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DaNkinator wrote: srossi wrote: freebirdsforever2001 wrote: Do it yourself next time.
Yeah, great advice.  Because anyone has the skill and equipment to move a door and build 2 closets.

I'm with you, not good advice at all.

I have nothing to add either, other than thanks for the added anxiety after reading about all of this.  I'm about to have work done as well, this doesn't help.

The big mistake was trusting this guy to do the work while we were away, which we only did because we have 2 years history with him and didn't want to be home without a bedroom or bathroom.  But I'll never do that again no matter what.  These guys need to be supervised at all times.  He's flat-out lying that he couldn't work at the same time as the bathroom crew because they told me they were only in his way for maybe 2 days, and they stopped working at 5:00 PM and Tom wouldn't even show up until 4:00 PM.  He's always come late and stayed late so I completely believe that story, and my neighbor confirmed there was a car in our driveway until 9:00 or 10:00 PM some nights.  So there was little to no overlap and he just underestimated how long it would take or tried to squeeze it in between other projects.  And his partner who was supposed to be doing the bulk of the work didn't really know how to do it, bottom line.  So he gave up and dicked me around all this time.    

Last edited on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 10:40 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 10:38 pm
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beejmi
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I agree w Benlen. Take him to small claims court.

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 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2016 11:28 pm
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Principal_Raditch



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I feel your pain. Not anywhere where you're at now, but we're in the middle of re-doing the exterior of the house and this shit is dragging. Most days they show up @ 10 am and leave at 6, but today for some reason 2 of the 3 guys showed up for @ 1hr and haven't been around all day and the weather is nice. Had to email the foreman to see why we've basically wasted another day with no work. 
These pics show the state of flux. You ave the front of my house still untouched waiting to be wrapped. The back and one side wrapped an the left side mostly done with the darker hardie board and fascia. It's frustrating, but at least it's outside and doesn't really affect my daily stuff as much as when we did the floors last summer.




















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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 01:36 am
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yellowdog



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beejmi wrote: I agree w Benlen. Take him to small claims court.
at least get a letter from a lawyer and scare him.  pregnant wife, excessive dust, health hazard...I'd threaten damages too and see if he crumbles and returns the cash

Last edited on Tue Nov 1st, 2016 03:25 am by yellowdog



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 01:49 am
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Know any cops?  If he's got your house key I would send the cops around to retrieve it or hunt him down and kill him till he's dead and then kill him a little more.

Also I once built something exactly like that with a bunch of legos.  No hassle.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 02:37 am
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gwlee7
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People who don't give a shit won't appear in small claims court. You will be found in favor of and still not get your money. Make sure he isn't totally off the grid so you can lein his car, house or something. If not, you'll pay the filing fee, be out the $700 still, and just be even more pissed.



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I just think it's amazing that Trump is really on Twitter all day, personally writing this shit. He's about 3 beers away from joining S&W and getting into a flame war with Ports.----srossi
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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 02:39 am
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WongLee
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Angelic Assassin wrote: Know any cops?  If he's got your house key I would send the cops around to retrieve it or hunt him down and kill him till he's dead and then kill him a little more.

I like this. I like this alot.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 02:43 am
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WongLee
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Does this guy have any internet presence such as a small website or on Yelp or Google or some other review site? You can crush him there and that would put a stake in the heart of possible future clients.

If not, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. The shit has to be fixed. Period. Swallow the bitter pill and pay some pros to finish the job correctly and get your home back to being your home.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2016 03:20 am
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srossi
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WongLee wrote: Does this guy have any internet presence such as a small website or on Yelp or Google or some other review site? You can crush him there and that would put a stake in the heart of possible future clients.

If not, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet. The shit has to be fixed. Period. Swallow the bitter pill and pay some pros to finish the job correctly and get your home back to being your home.

The funny thing is my wife added him on Facebook and I don't think he ever unfriended her. But as far as professional sites, I haven't found him anywhere. 

And yeah, we've already moved on and have someone coming to work on it tomorrow. It's not like we're waiting for the refund before hiring someone else. But I just sent him another text about an hour ago. My next play is to threaten a lawyer and if there's still no reply I have a lawyer friend who can send him a letter on his stationary to try to scare him. But I have no intention of actually pursuing it so the smartest thing he could do is just never reply and call my bluff, which I believe is exactly what he's going to do. 



Last edited on Tue Nov 1st, 2016 03:21 am by srossi



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