Handling Dispute with Contractor

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mw1739
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Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mw1739 »

We are replacing our counters and backsplash with quartz. The counters were installed satisfactorily (a few minor issues we can live with). When the company came to install the quartz backsplash the installers found that the previous measurements were wrong and the pieces won’t fit properly. They proposed various alternatives that are unacceptable to us, namely involving extra seams in the backsplash with leftover material. They refuse to order an additional slab to correct their mistake. I’ve paid 50% of the total cost and don’t plan to pay the remainder until this is corrected. Any thoughts on a reasonable compromise or way to get the contractor to fix their error?
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walkabout
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by walkabout »

Who took the measurements? The contractor?
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mw1739
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mw1739 »

walkabout wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 5:07 pm Who took the measurements? The contractor?
Of course
inverter
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by inverter »

Is the quartz installer a sub?
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mw1739
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mw1739 »

No, employees. We already spoke with the owner, who tried to convince us into accepting additional seams and refuses to order a new slab.
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8foot7
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by 8foot7 »

New slab installed within 30 days, or you will proceed to hire another firm to procure and install said slab and charge the full cost of such against the remaining amount due to contractor; and you’ll pursue any costs incurred in excess of the balance due on your original contract in small claims court due to contractor’s error and recalcitrance in rectifying it.

What you want is what you ordered. You didn’t make a mistake and you aren’t going to accept a substandard product that is inferior to what you would have had prior to the error being made. Play hardball.
SwampDonkey
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by SwampDonkey »

If it were me, I would not pay in full.

I would:
1. Determine what percentage of the bill was specific to the backsplash and what percentage was specific to the counters. Example: 70% for the counters and 30% for the backsplash.

2. I'd pay whatever percentage was determined to account for the counters. So in the above example, I'd pay him 70% of what we had agreed upon (if you've already paid 50%, I would just add another 20% to that).

3. For the remaining percentage I would offer to negotiate with the contractor. He is trying provide you with a finished product that wasn't agreed upon. As such, I'd offer him 50% (or whatever number you think is fair) of whatever remaining balance there is. In the above example, the backsplash was determined to be 30% of the project so I would offer him 50% of the 30% ....or 15% of the remaining balance to finish the project.
Last edited by SwampDonkey on Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
quantAndHold
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by quantAndHold »

I would find out why he doesn’t want to order a new slab. A single quartz slab isn’t really all that expensive. Is it an availability problem? The other question is is the seam going to be in a place that wouldn’t be all that noticeable, and you’re making a mountain out of a molehill? A small discount on the job might make it okay. We have a seam down the middle of our counter that I notice maybe once a year.

Then I would either get him to order a new slab, or pay him off for the work that was completed, and then get someone else to install a tile backsplash.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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mw1739
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mw1739 »

Thanks for the advice. We are frankly just baffled as to how the contractor thinks we shouldn’t get what we ordered. They did send another text saying we could just forget the backsplash, pay what is owed and walk away, but that doesn’t seem right to me either. We never discussed, nor does our contract define a price per square foot, only a flat figure for the overall project. In reality the counters are the majority of the material, but our bill doesn’t reflect that. We had agreed on two seams in the backsplash, which is what we would have gotten if they measured and cut properly. Now that they messed up, we shouldn’t have to deal with their problem.

Very confused about the whole situation and why we are left feeling like we’ve done something wrong.
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mw1739
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mw1739 »

quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:11 pm I would find out why he doesn’t want to order a new slab. A single quartz slab isn’t really all that expensive. Is it an availability problem? The other question is is the seam going to be in a place that wouldn’t be all that noticeable, and you’re making a mountain out of a molehill? A small discount on the job might make it okay. We have a seam down the middle of our counter that I notice maybe once a year.

Then I would either get him to order a new slab, or pay him off for the work that was completed, and then get someone else to install a tile backsplash.
Our contractor claims the slabs are backordered until March. We’ve made a few calls and located some several states away, but again the contractor drawn a line in the sand that they won’t buy a new slab.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by ResearchMed »

mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:11 pm I would find out why he doesn’t want to order a new slab. A single quartz slab isn’t really all that expensive. Is it an availability problem? The other question is is the seam going to be in a place that wouldn’t be all that noticeable, and you’re making a mountain out of a molehill? A small discount on the job might make it okay. We have a seam down the middle of our counter that I notice maybe once a year.

Then I would either get him to order a new slab, or pay him off for the work that was completed, and then get someone else to install a tile backsplash.
Our contractor claims the slabs are backordered until March. We’ve made a few calls and located some several states away, but again the contractor drawn a line in the sand that they won’t buy a new slab.
Do you have any idea just why the contractor thinks they don't have to comply with the full terms of the contract, and can just walk away with it partly done (and also keeping some of your money)?
That all sounds very odd.

RM
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mw1739
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mw1739 »

ResearchMed wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:21 pm
mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:11 pm I would find out why he doesn’t want to order a new slab. A single quartz slab isn’t really all that expensive. Is it an availability problem? The other question is is the seam going to be in a place that wouldn’t be all that noticeable, and you’re making a mountain out of a molehill? A small discount on the job might make it okay. We have a seam down the middle of our counter that I notice maybe once a year.

Then I would either get him to order a new slab, or pay him off for the work that was completed, and then get someone else to install a tile backsplash.
Our contractor claims the slabs are backordered until March. We’ve made a few calls and located some several states away, but again the contractor drawn a line in the sand that they won’t buy a new slab.
Do you have any idea just why the contractor thinks they don't have to comply with the full terms of the contract, and can just walk away with it partly done (and also keeping some of your money)?
That all sounds very odd.

RM
No clue. The current market is obviously insane so maybe they don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting it right. The counters were more material than the backsplash so we are sitting fine having only paid 50%.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by Sandtrap »

mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:50 pm We are replacing our counters and backsplash with quartz. The counters were installed satisfactorily (a few minor issues we can live with). When the company came to install the quartz backsplash the installers found that the previous measurements were wrong and the pieces won’t fit properly. They proposed various alternatives that are unacceptable to us, namely involving extra seams in the backsplash with leftover material. They refuse to order an additional slab to correct their mistake. I’ve paid 50% of the total cost and don’t plan to pay the remainder until this is corrected. Any thoughts on a reasonable compromise or way to get the contractor to fix their error?
A construction professional viewpoint:

Notes and questions:

1. Is the contractor a reputable licensed contractor (with a current license) and insured?
2. Is there a contract for the work?
3. Are there specs for the work that are included with the contract that describe exactly what is agreed on?
4. Have you taken pictures and recorded all conversations (write down all conv. recaps), emails, txts, etc.
5. Is the contractor a "General Contractor" and licensed with that VS a speciality subcontractor?
For example:
General Contractor licensed for larger projects with multiple subcontractors = "B" license.
Speciality Contractor and./or subcontractor licensed for a speciality (plumbing, electrical, cabinetry and carpentry repairs, etc)

Actionables:
1. Since the "owner" (you say the "owner", is that the contractor head of the project?) said "no", (they do not get to say "no" so don't empower or acknowledge that). You are the customer. You pay the bill.
*Talk only with the "owner" . . you mean contractor. Right?
Do not talk to the employees except to say, "no", "stop". Which they have to listen to.
But, you can't tell them to do something if their boss said something else. They don't work for you.

2. At this point you likely have had only spoken conversations with the "contractor". So. . . .
a) Withhold any and all progress payments immediately. It doesn't matter what percentage of the project, or what. You pay more and you lose leverage. Etc. It's not about fair. If it was about fair, then you would get what you pay for. What you want is full attention.
b) Stop the project completely until this is resolved, or. . . if there is a larger scope to the project, you can let that continue, but don't make any payments yet.
c) Talk to the contractor, if it is a "hard and absolute "NO", (my way or the highway) then construct a written letter summarizing what was agreed on and what has taken place and what you want as a solution. Be specific. Don't make a "narrative or story" just a list with high points. Don't sound whinning. Make it professional.
Be very specific what you want the contractor to do and agree to do.
"Request that you install the countertop backsplash in "1 Piece" as is normal professional practice and workmanship standards and what I we agreed on before the start of the project, at your cost, with no additional cost to me." "At that point, when that is done, then we can continue on the project at the agreed price.
d) If you feel uncomfortable with this, pay a small fee for an attorney to write that letter which should be the end of it.
( you are not litigating or going to court. . .you are just asking an attorney to write a letter for you on his letterhead and mailing it to the contractor).

I have been on both sides of these types of issues as an owner, and as a developer, G.C. (with subs that mess up). In some cases, the backsplash can be redesigned with the existing scrap material such as a broken backsplash on delivery that the contractor already paid for. (they are long and narrow and brittle so do break often if not packed and trucked right), but in other cases, it doesn't look right or the owner just wants it done right so a new one is ordered and the contractor or sub absorbs the cost.

*Last note: You are entitled to get what you want as a quality project with quality results that you pay for. Don't settle for less. Stand your ground.
Why?
Every time you are in the kitchen, your eyes will see what should have been done but wasn't. . . forever.

*You can stop the entire project. You have the power to get what you paid for and be treated as a valued customer. Keep the "pecking order in mind". There are contractors that are pushy or salesman convincing. Stand your ground.

* It can and will be argued that the backsplash is not 50% of the project and proportionate value or payment price per stage of construction. Don't fall for it. It's precisely that that gives you leverage to get what you paid for.

A contractor or service provider that says "no" to a customer unfairly . . . . is an issue.
j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by ResearchMed »

mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:28 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:21 pm
mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:11 pm I would find out why he doesn’t want to order a new slab. A single quartz slab isn’t really all that expensive. Is it an availability problem? The other question is is the seam going to be in a place that wouldn’t be all that noticeable, and you’re making a mountain out of a molehill? A small discount on the job might make it okay. We have a seam down the middle of our counter that I notice maybe once a year.

Then I would either get him to order a new slab, or pay him off for the work that was completed, and then get someone else to install a tile backsplash.
Our contractor claims the slabs are backordered until March. We’ve made a few calls and located some several states away, but again the contractor drawn a line in the sand that they won’t buy a new slab.
Do you have any idea just why the contractor thinks they don't have to comply with the full terms of the contract, and can just walk away with it partly done (and also keeping some of your money)?
That all sounds very odd.

RM
No clue. The current market is obviously insane so maybe they don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting it right. The counters were more material than the backsplash so we are sitting fine having only paid 50%.
Are you able to get the other section done within the other half of the money? Would it match? It might be difficult to get a smaller job ("just the backsplash, please!") done, plus the matching bit...
Or is there other material that you feel would work --> as well?
You didn't pay to get a patchwork quilt kitchen, right? :annoyed

How urgernt is it to get it done fully... are you able to use the countertops? And without having water or crumbs go down behind that back edge of the counter top, or splash onto whatever that part of the wall is currently?

RM
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Topic Author
mw1739
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mw1739 »

Sandtrap wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:31 pm
mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 4:50 pm We are replacing our counters and backsplash with quartz. The counters were installed satisfactorily (a few minor issues we can live with). When the company came to install the quartz backsplash the installers found that the previous measurements were wrong and the pieces won’t fit properly. They proposed various alternatives that are unacceptable to us, namely involving extra seams in the backsplash with leftover material. They refuse to order an additional slab to correct their mistake. I’ve paid 50% of the total cost and don’t plan to pay the remainder until this is corrected. Any thoughts on a reasonable compromise or way to get the contractor to fix their error?
A construction professional viewpoint:

Notes and questions:

1. Is the contractor a reputable licensed contractor (with a current license) and insured?
2. Is there a contract for the work?
3. Are there specs for the work that are included with the contract that describe exactly what is agreed on?
4. Have you taken pictures and recorded all conversations (write down all conv. recaps), emails, txts, etc.
5. Is the contractor a "General Contractor" and licensed with that VS a speciality subcontractor?
For example:
General Contractor licensed for larger projects with multiple subcontractors = "B" license.
Speciality Contractor and./or subcontractor licensed for a speciality (plumbing, electrical, cabinetry and carpentry repairs, etc)

Actionables:
1. Since the "owner" (you say the "owner", is that the contractor head of the project?) said "no", (they do not get to say "no" so don't empower or acknowledge that). You are the customer. You pay the bill.
*Talk only with the "owner" . . you mean contractor. Right?
Do not talk to the employees except to say, "no", "stop". Which they have to listen to.
But, you can't tell them to do something if their boss said something else. They don't work for you.

2. At this point you likely have had only spoken conversations with the "contractor". So. . . .
a) Withhold any and all progress payments immediately. It doesn't matter what percentage of the project, or what. You pay more and you lose leverage. Etc. It's not about fair. If it was about fair, then you would get what you pay for. What you want is full attention.
b) Stop the project completely until this is resolved, or. . . if there is a larger scope to the project, you can let that continue, but don't make any payments yet.
c) Talk to the contractor, if it is a "hard and absolute "NO", (my way or the highway) then construct a written letter summarizing what was agreed on and what has taken place and what you want as a solution. Be specific. Don't make a "narrative or story" just a list with high points. Don't sound whinning. Make it professional.
Be very specific what you want the contractor to do and agree to do.
"Request that you install the countertop backsplash in "1 Piece" as is normal professional practice and workmanship standards and what I we agreed on before the start of the project, at your cost, with no additional cost to me." "At that point, when that is done, then we can continue on the project at the agreed price.
d) If you feel uncomfortable with this, pay a small fee for an attorney to write that letter which should be the end of it.
( you are not litigating or going to court. . .you are just asking an attorney to write a letter for you on his letterhead and mailing it to the contractor).

I have been on both sides of these types of issues as an owner, and as a developer, G.C. (with subs that mess up). In some cases, the backsplash can be redesigned with the existing scrap material such as a broken backsplash on delivery that the contractor already paid for. (they are long and narrow and brittle so do break often if not packed and trucked right), but in other cases, it doesn't look right or the owner just wants it done right so a new one is ordered and the contractor or sub absorbs the cost.

*Last note: You are entitled to get what you want as a quality project with quality results that you pay for. Don't settle for less. Stand your ground.
Why?
Every time you are in the kitchen, your eyes will see what should have been done but wasn't. . . forever.

*You can stop the entire project. You have the power to get what you paid for and be treated as a valued customer. Keep the "pecking order in mind". There are contractors that are pushy or salesman convincing. Stand your ground.

* It can and will be argued that the backsplash is not 50% of the project and proportionate value or payment price per stage of construction. Don't fall for it. It's precisely that that gives you leverage to get what you paid for.

A contractor or service provider that says "no" to a customer unfairly . . . . is an issue.
j :D
Thank you for your knowledgeable advice. This is just a stone fabricator I’m dealing with. I told the workers on-site that their solutions were unacceptable and then spoke directly with the company owner who again offered subpar solutions. Thanks for confirming I should stand my ground on this. Definitely no plans to make additional payments at this time. After todays frustration I plan to cut off communication for a couple days then reiterate my position early next week, potentially with my real estate attorney.
mkc
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mkc »

ResearchMed wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:32 pm
mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:28 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:21 pm
mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:11 pm I would find out why he doesn’t want to order a new slab. A single quartz slab isn’t really all that expensive. Is it an availability problem? The other question is is the seam going to be in a place that wouldn’t be all that noticeable, and you’re making a mountain out of a molehill? A small discount on the job might make it okay. We have a seam down the middle of our counter that I notice maybe once a year.

Then I would either get him to order a new slab, or pay him off for the work that was completed, and then get someone else to install a tile backsplash.
Our contractor claims the slabs are backordered until March. We’ve made a few calls and located some several states away, but again the contractor drawn a line in the sand that they won’t buy a new slab.
Do you have any idea just why the contractor thinks they don't have to comply with the full terms of the contract, and can just walk away with it partly done (and also keeping some of your money)?
That all sounds very odd.

RM
No clue. The current market is obviously insane so maybe they don’t want to deal with the hassle of getting it right. The counters were more material than the backsplash so we are sitting fine having only paid 50%.
Are you able to get the other section done within the other half of the money? Would it match?
Quartz is produced in lots - each run can have subtle color variations. It's possible a slab ordered for the backsplash will be slightly different than the counter material. Have seen some hideous mismatches on Houzz where slabs from different lots were used for counters and were clearly different lots.

That said, it would be vertical, not on the same plane as the counters, so may be OK.

Another option is to accept the current offer of paying just 50% of the contract for the counters and going with another contractor and tile for the backsplash. If it happens to be behind a gas cooktop, this would actually be a better solution since quartz with scorch/discolor with high heat.
Topic Author
mw1739
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by mw1739 »

To be clear - there is no offer to walk away with the 50% already paid. The contractor said he was fine to send a prorated bill without the backsplash. But we’ve never discussed how that would work.
quantAndHold
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by quantAndHold »

I actually prefer a tile backsplash, for a number of reasons. But if you still want quartz. you should get what you signed the contract for.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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galawdawg
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by galawdawg »

mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:01 pm To be clear - there is no offer to walk away with the 50% already paid. The contractor said he was fine to send a prorated bill without the backsplash. But we’ve never discussed how that would work.
As always, Sandtrap brings wise information from his experiences in this field. Let me add a few thoughts from a legal perspective (of course, IANYL):

I'd recommend you get several estimates to have a matching backsplash, of the same quality and material as originally specified, fabricated and installed. In contract terms, a buyer's procurement of substitute goods is your "cost to cover" and the measure of damages in this case if the original installer does not fulfill his obligations under the terms of your agreement.

If your original installer refuses to complete the job in a workmanlike manner, then your only alternative is to have it finished by another contractor. There are two challenges to be aware of:

1. The contractor who refuses to complete the job can place a lien on your property. While it appears from the facts you have presented (we, of course, are only hearing one side) that you would ultimately prevail, resolving that lien may require the services of an attorney and litigation, both of which can be costly and time-consuming endeavors.

2. Ordinarily I would recommend, in order to avoid such an occurrence, that you negotiate with the non-performing contractor to pay him the balance due, less the anticipated "cost to cover", upon his providing a lien release from each supplier of materials and labor. However, because delays are increasingly common in the trades and costs are rising, your anticipated "cost to cover" based upon the estimates may not be what you have to pay in several months when the work is actually done. Ultimately you may decide it is the wisest course of action to absorb any pricing increases that may occur in the future in order to rid yourself of the non-performing contractor and the risks of a lien.

In any case, you still retain the ability to leave truthful and honest feedback on review sites and to file a complaint with whatever state or local entity licenses contractors in his field.

Consultation with your own attorney will, of course, provide you the best legal guidance. Good luck.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by Mr. Rumples »

Does the OP's state have a licensing board which regulates compliance with contractors? In VA, all contractors who are licensed pay into a recovery fund. If a contractor loses a court case regarding the job, the Dept. of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) uses the fund to get the work done.

https://www.dpor.virginia.gov/Boards/Co ... overy_Fund

Whether this would meet the VA requirements, I don't know, but it still might be worthwhile to reach out to the relevant jurisdiction's licensing authority.
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johnubc
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by johnubc »

Has the owner offered any money back in order to accept the backsplash with additional seams in it? It might be worth a path looking into. Can the seams be strategically placed in order to reduce the visibility of them.

I would certainly not pay the full price with the additional seams - if it was discussed where and how many seams there would be.
London
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by London »

I understand you position and I’m sure it’s frustrating but sometimes things don’t work out perfectly. Figure out how much the inconvenience of an additional seem is worth to you and ask for that discount. While an annoyance, life will go on.
Iphone5
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by Iphone5 »

Some good advice has been given in comments above.

Does the Person who you have a contract with have a license? If not, then they cannot put a lien on your house and you do not have to pay them at least that’s the way it is in my state.

What do the terms of your contract or estimate state ?

Do not pay them another penny, you will lose all leverage. Get 3 estimates and see how much it will cost to finish your kitchen. It might be considerable less than 50% your are holding thus there is enough money to complete project and pay owner. Are you also holding retainage?

Have a last conversation with owner and try to reason with him/ her- this has worked for me a number of times in the past.

If that does not work get a lawyer to write a delay notice to the owner that in a week’s time you will supplement them and use the 50% balance to finish your project and any additional costs incurred will be at his expense. See if that motivates him/ her.

Btw, I have been on both sides of similar situation. You did not do anything wrong, you are the victim do not feel obligated to pay.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by Sandtrap »

mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 10:01 pm To be clear - there is no offer to walk away with the 50% already paid. The contractor said he was fine to send a prorated bill without the backsplash. But we’ve never discussed how that would work.
The problem here is the price difference with prorating is rarely enough to hire someone else to do it right and buy a new backsplash. It seems “fair” but to who.
If possible aim for a complete project with the burden of execution on the builder as it should be.

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CurlyDave
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by CurlyDave »

mw1739 wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:19 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jan 14, 2022 9:11 pm I would find out why he doesn’t want to order a new slab. A single quartz slab isn’t really all that expensive. Is it an availability problem? The other question is is the seam going to be in a place that wouldn’t be all that noticeable, and you’re making a mountain out of a molehill? A small discount on the job might make it okay. We have a seam down the middle of our counter that I notice maybe once a year.

Then I would either get him to order a new slab, or pay him off for the work that was completed, and then get someone else to install a tile backsplash.
Our contractor claims the slabs are backordered until March. We’ve made a few calls and located some several states away, but again the contractor drawn a line in the sand that they won’t buy a new slab.
If you have to get legal help this is going to deteriorate very quickly and end up costing much more than anyone believes right now. Every time I have had to hire an attorney the final legal bill was at least 3x the original estimate.

I suggest you talk to an attorney just to get an estimate for what it might cost to force the contractor into doing it right. This is the maximum additional amount you should be willing to pay to the contractor to incentivize him to do the job correctly.

Possible solutions:

1. Learn to live with the extra seams. This is the very lowest cost solution. Maybe get a little creative. You started with two seams and he is proposing 3. If you added another could you get a more aesthetically pleasing result with 4? This will be the least costly solution.

You may be able to "hide extra seams in plain sight". For instance, If you made the backsplash behind the sink and/or cooktop higher than the backsplash in other areas this may be functional, look good, and justify some extra seams.

2. Find out how much an extra slab really costs -- you found some, but now add in shipping. Offer to pay the extra cost to get another slab. This may hurt your pride, but will probably be the second least costly solution.

3. Think about a different material. This will increase costs.

4. Have an attorney write a saber-rattling letter. The problem with this is that the contractor may very well do a shoddy job if he is not happy.
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tibbitts
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by tibbitts »

I had no idea a countertop and backsplash being the same material was a "thing." My '80s kitchen has that: both white Formica - and no seams!

I think everybody needs photos to understand where the seams are or would be, but it seems like you need to determine what the cost would be to obtain the material you want (or think you want, since it might not match, assuming it's supposed to) and labor. If you can do what you want for the 50% the contractor is seemingly walking away from, then it's annoying but not really a problem. If not, what's the difference in cost? In any case I wouldn't want that contractor doing more work, since they obviously don't want to, and suggest moving on. I wouldn't want someone finishing a job that they simply don't want to finish.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by Sandtrap »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Jan 15, 2022 12:51 pm I had no idea a countertop and backsplash being the same material was a "thing." My '80s kitchen has that: both white Formica - and no seams!

I think everybody needs photos to understand where the seams are or would be, but it seems like you need to determine what the cost would be to obtain the material you want (or think you want, since it might not match, assuming it's supposed to) and labor. If you can do what you want for the 50% the contractor is seemingly walking away from, then it's annoying but not really a problem. If not, what's the difference in cost? In any case I wouldn't want that contractor doing more work, since they obviously don't want to, and suggest moving on. I wouldn't want someone finishing a job that they simply don't want to finish.
+1
Great points.
Well said, as always.

Photos would be helpful. Otherwise, suggestions are only based on what we might "imagine" the actual kitchen to be. Maybe it's a mountain. Maybe an ant hill.

Yes. The human factor. Some contractors and subs are just jerks with poor workmanship and ethics and the priority then becomes getting rid of them and moving on, rather than struggling with the relationship that feels like a "root canal" that never ends.

Speaking of formica:
Back in the day, when we finished union finish carpenter apprenticeship. As a journeyman, we would build entire kitchens with raw materials dropped off on site. Old growth redwood, etc. We made the cabinets and counters, and window frames, etc.
Countertops were "formica" sheets over shaped plywood, etc, per prints. Tools were laminate trimmers, etc. Glue was heavy vapor migraine brain dulling contact cement. Trim was either metal bands in various shapes or no trim and laminate chamfered edges.
Now, 1 piece granite, stone, and synthetic counters are absolutely beautiful!

j :D
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Handling Dispute with Contractor

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Read the contract carefully and understand it.

I once had a house where I had a company replacing all the windows. I paid whatever deposit was required up front. They came and installed all the windows except a picture window, which they said broke. They asked that I pay the remainder of the total and when the replacement picture window came, they'd put it in. I read the contract which said that UPON COMPLETION of the job, I would pay the total.

I did this because a previous contractor was hired to put in a new exterior door. This contractor noticed that I had a bunch of new interior doors sitting, waiting for me to install and offered a reasonable price to install these. I thought fine. So he installed all the doors and all of them were digging into the carpet. Clearly needed to trim the bottom of each door. So the contractor showed up and asked to be paid for the interior door installation at which point, I pointed out that the doors needed to be trimmed to fit. He came back and did that and again asked to be paid for that portion of the work. We paid. Never saw him again and the exterior door, which is all we really needed him for remained untouched. We learned to not pay a dime until the work is complete.

In this case, I would pay the original contractor nothing. Find another contractor who can properly do the work as you want it. If it takes until March to get the stone, it takes until March. When the backsplash is complete by the new contractor, the remaining money owed to the first contractor is reduced by whatever you pay the second contractor. If it turns out that the backsplash costs 50% of the original, entire bill, you will owe nothing. The original contractor is the one who has breached the contract.

To play even more hardball, if an exact match is impossible, then the new contractor should be directed to remove the first piece and install matching new pieces. Offer the first contractor the original counter top and take him to small claims to get your original 50% back.
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