Am I being unreasonable?

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by steph, Nov 7, 2013.

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  1. Nov 7, 2013 #1

    steph

    steph

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    I would like to know if anyone thinks I'm being unreasonable about a bathroom remodel job. The contractor on Saturday stated he's finished and yesterday said he was going to issue a lien on the property if he's not paid in full by Friday. I won't go into all the issues we had details of this 2 to 4 week project now entering week 15, but the following 2 issues.

    1- Code required a hot water mixing valve for the bathtub, now problem paying the additional charge, for him to purchase and install it. However when you open the hot water faucet all the way the pipes make a noticeable hum. He states in passed inspection so it's fine. I don't believe humming pipes are normal, are they?

    2- We had a dual shower installed, since they were identical he noticed one of the Moen shower control valves was warped. Instead of contacting Moen he told my girlfriend who was home at the time and said it wouldn't be an issue. You guessed it, it is, both cosmetically and functionally. We supplied the Moen products, but he knowingly installed a defective part and claims it's not his responsibility to fix. Though he said if we move forward with our basement remold as a "favor for the new work", he would swap the unit at no charge. We contacted Moen and they immediately sent out another unit, but he refuses to fix it. Again am I being unreasonable, he's the pro and installed something he knew wasn't right?

    Thanks in advance for your advice,
    steph
     
  2. Nov 7, 2013 #2

    havasu

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    He can say what he wants, but I believe it would be reasonable to withhold partial payment until you are satisfied. I sure hope you are keeping a paper trail and photographs on all the imperfections. By the way, the humming pipes could probably be easily rectified by a licensed plumber.
     
  3. Nov 7, 2013 #3

    steph

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    Yes we've been keeping photos and the emails with the various punch-list items. I'm amazed it passed inspection because we had to have him correct the shower after he passed because the Hot & Cold were reversed. I'll contact a plumber as you recommend, any idea what causes a pipe to hum?
     
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  4. Nov 7, 2013 #4

    johnjh2o

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    If the hot and cold were crossed with a Moen valve it's just a matter of flipping the stem to make it correct. But for sure I would be holding funds back for the other problems.
     
  5. Nov 7, 2013 #5

    chukar

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    Did you sign a contract, you may be SOL if he has done the work to the stated contract, when it's customer supplied parts I offer no warranty on them, even when it's broken from the get go. If we supply the fixtures it's normally a 1-2 year warranty.
     
  6. Nov 7, 2013 #6

    johnjh2o

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    I agree with part of what your saying. But even if I'm installing owner supplied faucets I wouldn't install one that I new was defective.
     
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  7. Nov 8, 2013 #7

    Zanne

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    I would also suggest that you find out whether or not this guy is licensed. Your state should have a listing on a website that lists contractors with residential licenses.
    How much did this guy charge you? If he charged more than a certain amount without having the proper license, he can be fined up the wazoo by the state.

    You may end up having to take him to small claims court.

    I do agree with chukar to a degree, but I also agree with Johnjh20 that the guy should not have knowingly installed something that was defective. What he should have done was contacted you and told you about it and given you the option to replace it with something that was not defective.

    Did your contract state how long it was supposed to take for this job?
     
  8. Nov 8, 2013 #8

    chukar

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    I should have been more specific if it's a broken part I offer no warranty but I also won't install it personally, I know others I have worked with would install it. This is why a contract can be very important having a warranty clause in there for craftsmanship and such.

    You can raise the issue with your state officials but more then not they won't do much especially if it is properly permitted and inspected,
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  9. Nov 8, 2013 #9

    Joe_Joe

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    Here is the deal, he is a contractor who has done work. He needs to be paid. So, you must pay him. You cannot, not pay him.

    Just as a babysitter may do everything wrong and almost kill your child, they must get paid - and then you can tell everyone not to use them.

    Personally, I would look into having a second, licensed and more qualified person, review the work and to give a written opinion if it is completed in the proper manner - and a cost estimate for repair any outstanding issues.

    I would then immediately pay the contractor for the cost of what he completed correctly less the improper portion - and start a negotiation for repair of anything that he did not do properly. Do all of this in writing, by email, or similar way to track what was said. Face to face is really not going to help you when you go see Judge Judy. Try to negotiate and get him to do it right. Right, not as defined by you or him, but as defined by a much more qualified third party. If he just disagrees, pay him - and do not drag this for months. That is not legal and not fair. He completed work and must be paid in a timely manner. What if you and your boss had a disagreement and you didn't get paid for an additional 3 months, you wouldnt be able to eat.

    In the end, you pay him what you know you owe him, try to work out the remainder ASAP, and then pay the remainder that he says you owe ASAP. If there is still a disagreement, you have to go to court. You cannot - not pay.

    On an aside, if you have a contract that shows that you can withhold retainage; then, and only then, can you withhold a portion of payment until you think he is complete. And no, your contract will NOT show that you can hold retainage.

    If you don't think that you can afford an opinion for an obviously superior plumber, then you also just decided to live with it and not get it fixed. Do you think a judge will believe your plumbing testimony as a home owner over the plumber. I wouldn't. You would loose. You must have another opinion even if it means throwing a little more money out the window.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  10. Nov 8, 2013 #10

    steph

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    I do have a plumber scheduled to look at it tomorrow. I'm not trying to screw the guy there have been numerous issues in his work that he agreed were wrong and had to redo. Each time I footed the bill for the additional material to correct his mistake. There are issues we are willing to live with just to get through this. As I stated he just finished his other two plumbing screws up on Saturday, the water diverter (which was quick) and the toilet leak. I told him if he wasn't going to correct the humming pipe, I would have to get someone in to tell me if it was a problem or not and I would need a few days. Then on Wednesday he threatens to place a mechanics lien on my property, if I don't pay him by today.

    I've been paying him milestone payments as we agreed so it's not like I've stiffed him. I would think if anything it would be a warranty issue and he doesn't specify he won't fix material he didn't supply, hell he won't fix what he did provide.The excerpts below are from his contract; I guess I'm going to have to get a lawyer, this sucks.

    "The Owner may cease construction due to OwnerÂ’s decision to terminate
    contract for default or convenience. Default may be due to lack of performance or poor or faulty workmanship. Convenience... without
    authorization. Owner will be obligated to pay only up to work performed."

    "All work is warranted for six (12) months against defects in workmanship, and all material is warranted as per manufacturers specifications. All material is guaranteed according to different manufacturersÂ’ warranty....The above work is to be performed in accordance with plans and specifications, except as otherwise stated in contract, and completed in a workmanlike manner."

    Thanks again for everyone's input and advice.
     
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  11. Nov 8, 2013 #11

    Joe_Joe

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    I did not mean to imply that you were not paying. If I did, I apologize. Please do not read into what I said in that way.

    I was just stating the facts and your rights.

    Many people do not understand what they really can and cannot do.

    Sounds like you are on the right track and doing the right thing.

    He is just trying to Bully you into paying. Don't fall for it.
     
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  12. Nov 8, 2013 #12

    Zanne

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    I would think that if you have documentation of things he messed up and for which you had to pay extra, the judge might actually listen to you in this case.

    I am curious about something: If the contractor is the one who makes a mistake, shouldn't he foot the bill for extra materials? I mean, I understand that there is room for error and that there should always be a little bet extra in terms of materials purchased just in case something goes wrong, but if the guy did not account for that and is charging large sums in addition to fix blatant errors, then I would think he should have to eat the cost. I know that hurts his business somewhat, but maybe it would encourage him to do things right the first time. It sounds to me like this guy is not very professional and possibly not even qualified.

    You should definitely spread the word about this guy's poor workmanship so others in the area might not suffer through the same crap.

    If the cost of the work is less than $5,000 (or whatever the maximum limit for small claims in your area) you would not need to retain a lawyer. You would just have to take him to small claims court.

    I do hope it is resolved without going to court.

    Wouldn't the guy have to go to court and show some sort of proof to get a lien anyway?
     
  13. Nov 18, 2013 #13

    Zanne

    Zanne

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    Just out of curiosity, any updates on this? Did he follow through and try to get a lien or was he just bluffing?
     
  14. Nov 20, 2013 #14

    Another-Plumber

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    if a good plumber does work, it never has to be re-done... shouldve just got someone else =( dude sounds like a hack
     
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  15. Nov 20, 2013 #15

    steph

    steph

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    Once again I just want to thank everyone for their input, I've had two different plumbers come and look at the job.

    The water safety which was causing the hum one of the plumbers spotted the problem immediately, it was installed in reverse...the cold is going to the hot side and the hot to the cold.

    As for my Moen shower mix valve one of the plumbers thinks he dropped it and tried to fix it because he said he's never seen a Moen part bent and the other said no matter what happened he should have never tried to solder the valve and since he did he owns it, because it leaks at his solder joint.

    When you compare the replacement part and the one he installed you can tell immediately someone tried to solder the joint and pretty poorly.

    The company has not responded to repeated calls or emails regarding their warranty or confirmation of what is actually owed, nor have we heard from the court. Right now were dealing with his insurance company and if they pay for the repairs, we'll be happy.

    However, we will be writing to Angies List about them and were going to file a complaint with the state for the sub-standard work. Now what I want to know is how did the plumbing inspector miss these during his inspection? It's not like it was a big job and he just sampled various sections were talking a bathroom. Who do you complain to when the county inspector does an inferior job? Normally I wouldn't throw someone under the bus, but nobody should have to go through this when they're paying for a job.
     
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  16. Nov 21, 2013 #16

    Zanne

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    Steph, That is a good question about who to contact when the inspector misses something. I honestly don't know how this guy can have a valid license with the kind of problems you're describing. I wonder if he bribed the inspector or if the inspector was a friend or you just got a lousy inspector. I've seen quite a few TV shows where inspectors missed some very important things that they should have caught.

    I think you should get reports from the plumbers who looked at the work, and photographs of the problems and forward copies to the inspector to let him know what he missed and perhaps send an inquiry to find out why these things were missed.

    Generally, if the damage is caused by negligence or someone else's fault-- like the contractor doing things wrong, the insurance might not cover it. They generally expect you to sue (or do you mean his insurance?)

    Personally, I think you should be able to sue him for your money back for the extra cost bc of his mistakes AND make him pay for a new plumber/contractor to fix things.

    I would also double check with the State Licensing Board to find out if he has the right license to be doing residential plumbing.
     

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