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Tradie/ Acquaintance conundrum
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#1 Jellyblush

Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:46 PM

Hi everyone. I'm in a sensitive situation where I really don't know what to do. All advice appreciated. Want to do the right thing but something smells fishy and don't want to be taken advantage of.

In December 2010 I decided I needed two doors replaced in my home, due to dog scratching them.

Got a quote from Doors Plus which came in at just under $2k, which I thought was a bit steep.

Friend mentions they have a friend (acquantaince of mine) who is a carpenter and builds new houses, who can do it for much less, if I just buy the doors.

It is agreed I purchase two doors, and they fit them, charging me a half days work to do so.

This occurs in March 2011.

I ask them and ask them and ask them to invoice me; I know the price of the doors ($700) and have budgeted and put aside $1200 for the job thinking that should be plenty.

They don't invoice me.  I keep chasing. I WANTED to pay, as I had the $$ at that time.  Eventually, in December 2011, the guy says "don't worry about it".  Well, I still want to worry about it! I want to pay!

Today - almost 2 years after the job was done, I get an invoice for $2500. It just says 'Home renovations as per quote"
Well there was no quote, ever, and it is so much higher than we discussed
I also think it should be itemised - doors and labour, but it isn't.
It says immediate terms too, but I will have to pay in installments now because they money I set aside is long gone.


What do you think I should do? What I'd like to do is:
a) request an itemised invoice for doors and half days labour
b) discuss the expectation that it was going to be about half the invoiced amount
c) say I need a payment plan due to it taking so long to invoice me

Is the above reasonable? I'm nervous as I think it will cause ructions with the mutual friends. So wish Id just gone with a professional at the time sad.gif

#2 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 11 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

What they have done is so unreasonable that surely your friend will see it is wrong.

The lack of a supplied written quote is a huge red flag and the billing almost 2 years later is also bizarre.

#3 causeway

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:16 PM

Surely they are taking the p*ss!

I'd be calling them and querying it! There is no way I'd be paying as per invoice. It took them 2 years to invoice, you could take 2 years to pay!

#4 TotesFeral

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:20 PM

The fact that you didn't get a quote is worrying, if he took it further you might not have a leg to stand on as there is a big legal difference between an estimate of costs and an actual quote.
But I'm not sure where he would stand seeing as it has taken him over 2 years to invoice you.

What state are you in OP? Can you contact Fair Trading or your states equivalent.

#5 Poss and Soss

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:21 PM

I would ask for a 'copy' of the quote they say they provided, and also an itemised receipt.

Given it reads that you paid for the doors it looks like they've charged you $2.5k for 4 hours work? $625 an hour? Not bad if they can get it wink.gif

I certainly would not be paying it! I would pay something but not that much!

#6 TopsyTurvy

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

I would go back and tell them they have sent you the wrong bill.

Put it in writing.

Dear XYZ tradie,

I recieved your invoice number ABC, which you have sent to me in error.

Please send the correct invoice for EFG amount as originally verbally quoted which was for a door instillation only.

Thankyou and kind regards,

Jelly

#7 lizzzard

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:31 PM

QUOTE (TopsyTurvy @ 11/01/2013, 02:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would go back and tell them they have sent you the wrong bill.

Put it in writing.

Dear XYZ tradie,

I recieved your invoice number ABC, which you have sent to me in error.

Please send the correct invoice for EFG amount as originally verbally quoted which was for a door instillation only.

Thankyou and kind regards,

Jelly


This. I would assume benign intent in the first instance - it may have been a genune error... See how they respond to the above original.gif

#8 TotesFeral

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:38 PM

QUOTE (FluffyOscar @ 11/01/2013, 02:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Hmm, what doors?

Seriously, if there is no quote and no contract and no invoice for the doors purchased, the "friend" has a hope in hell they'll get paid.

Do not pay OP.


But contracts can be oral. If he has anyway at all to prove that he did the work then the OP will need to pay. The OP didn't obtain a written quote so technically all she got was an estimate which is not legally binding so yeah he can then charge her more.


#9 Lifesgood

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:52 PM

QUOTE (TopsyTurvy @ 11/01/2013, 02:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would go back and tell them they have sent you the wrong bill.

Put it in writing.

Dear XYZ tradie,

I recieved your invoice number ABC, which you have sent to me in error.

Please send the correct invoice for EFG amount as originally verbally quoted which was for a door instillation only.

Thankyou and kind regards,

Jelly


This is a good idea because it gives the tradie an 'out' without losing face and it gives you the opportunity to state the 'implied price' that formed what was obviously an oral quote. Also include a note about it being two years ago.

Stand your ground OP, there is no written quote, pay what you were expecting to pay, no more.

#10 Phascogale

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:09 PM

Did you purchase the door separately or did they purchase you your behalf - this part isn't clear in your OP?

I like the above letter that TopsyTurvey wrote.  It does give them an out.

It's worth calling Fair Trading or equivalent in your state.  They will be able to step you through what you need to do.

I would hope that the company would provide an itemised bill.  There may be a mark up on the doors if you didn't buy them yourselves but I would imagine you have a good case if it's just for 4 hours worth of work to hang a couple of doors (the actual work I could see coming to about $400 ie 2 people x $50/hr each as it was half a day).

Sounds like they are making things up two years later as they can't remember what they did.  There's probably been an audit and they are $700 short for the doors or something and thought home renovations would cover it.  The above letter would address this as it would tell them what it was for.

#11 Jellyblush

Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:32 AM

Hi, thanks very much you guys.

To clarify - the doors were purchased by him, at wholesale price for me, so he said.

Appreciate your answers. Need to ring him now and am so nervous.

#12 LambChop

Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:37 AM

"Please send the correct invoice for EFG amount as originally verbally quoted which was for $700 for the doors and 4 hours work for door installation."

#13 Kickingitcountry

Posted 12 January 2013 - 09:52 AM

QUOTE (LambChop @ 12/01/2013, 07:37 AM)
15230825[/url]']
"Please send the correct invoice for EFG amount as originally verbally quoted which was for $700 for the doors and 4 hours work for door installation."


I would do this. I would also have a word with the friend that recommended him. Not to have a go just to let them know that this tradie has done this so they stop recommending him to other friends.

#14 JaneDoe2010

Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:06 AM

QUOTE (LambChop @ 12/01/2013, 10:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
"Please send the correct invoice for EFG amount as originally verbally quoted which was for $700 for the doors and 4 hours work for door installation."


I agree with this. We run our own electrical business and wouldn't dare invoice someone 2 years after the fact, especially for that much!!

Good luck. He's WAY in the wrong. And yes, I'd speak to your friend too.

#15 Jellyblush

Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

Thanks very much everyone, I will do this. Hate this sort of stuff so much.

The $2.5k invoice he's sent also says 'and materials costs' but materials costs were paid by me at the time - we went to Bunnings together and I bought everything he needed (bar the doors) and paid by credit card so have it documented.

Do you think it would be worth me writing to consumer affairs just to let them know what has happened and ask advice?


#16 kpingitquiet

Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:42 AM

Is it possible that someone bought the business? Or they changed accountants? It sounds to me like someone went through old notes/invoices and is trying to settle outstanding bills without knowing the deals you made, and quoting current market prices.

I will say door stuff is expensive. My husband literally went and fixed a kickplate on a firedoor, took about 15 mins. The company quoted $400 for work+materials. wacko.gif

#17 Lifesgood

Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:46 AM

QUOTE (Jellyblush @ 12/01/2013, 12:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks very much everyone, I will do this. Hate this sort of stuff so much.

The $2.5k invoice he's sent also says 'and materials costs' but materials costs were paid by me at the time - we went to Bunnings together and I bought everything he needed (bar the doors) and paid by credit card so have it documented.

Do you think it would be worth me writing to consumer affairs just to let them know what has happened and ask advice?

I would deal direct with the tradie first and see how you go. Definitely put it in writing though so you have a record of what is going on. Point out the errors he has made and restate YOUR understanding and expectations of the transaction.

Most people back down if you call them on their "mistake".

Please let us know how you go.

#18 Jellyblush

Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

Thanks heaps, just tried to call him but it went to messagebank.
I left a message stating that I wished to discuss the invoice as an error had been made.

No change in company - he is a sole trader, the invoice was issued by his dad who does his account. I know he hasn't worked for about 4 months due to travelling so think he is just trying to call in cash.

Edited by Jellyblush, 12 January 2013 - 01:15 PM.


#19 Jellyblush

Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:30 PM

Okay everyone, I have composed this to send based on previous excellent advice in this thread:

Hi XXX,

I received your invoice number XXXXXX, which you have sent to me in error.

In January 2011, we made a verbal agreement for the supply at wholesale price and fit at discounted rates of two corinthian external doors at $700. You advised that labour would not be charged at greater than one half days work of 4 hours. All materials except the doors were paid for by me by credit card. We agreed that work would commence 'when you had time' due to the discounted nature of the work, and that doors would be hung but would not be finished or painted.

This work was completed as described above on 25/03/2011.  I requested an invoice in March 2011, April 2011, May 2011 and December 2011, however none was supplied, and I was verbally advised by you "not to worry about it", which, alongside the fact that you had not invoiced, I took to mean that you did not intend to seek payment.  I then received the attached incorrect invoice XXXXX on 11 January 2013.

Please send the correct, dated, invoice for supply at wholesale price (with receipts) and fit at discounted rates of two corinthian external doors, as per our verbal agreement.

Thankyou and kind regards,

Jelly

#20 JustBeige

Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:50 PM

I like the letter. The only other thing I would do is try and get a couple of quotes on how much just hanging a door would cost for labour.  That way if he comes back to you, you can say "i spoke to consumer affairs / building industry body, and they advised a basic hourly rate is....."

Just so you have a clue on how much its suppsed to cost.

#21 Jellyblush

Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

double post

Edited by Jellyblush, 12 January 2013 - 03:01 PM.


#22 Jellyblush

Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

Oh, great idea, thanks Justbeige.

I have also sourced my doors online, retail, including delivery, this is them:

http://www.masters.com.au/masters/navigati...uct_details.jsp

So the $700 originally agreed for two, wholesale, seems more or less right.

#23 Jellyblush

Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:01 PM

argh double post, I need to calm down!

Edited by Jellyblush, 12 January 2013 - 03:02 PM.


#24 JustBeige

Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:06 PM

Thats good. You can use that to show that you know how much they should cost if you need to.

I agree with your thought on the dad/him trying to get some money off you and just charging at todays costs.

Definitely tell your friend to not recommend him any more. It looks bad for them.

Oh, I would also make sure you register post the letter. I would do that on top of emailing it - get a return recpt too if you do it that way

Edited by JustBeige, 12 January 2013 - 06:37 PM.


#25 jessie123

Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:06 PM

He has to be trying it on. Who sends a bill 2 years later.

I  wonder if he has money problems  - sounds like he has suddenly billed you as he needs $$.




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