Too late to go after driveway guy?

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PlayingLife
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Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by PlayingLife » Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:26 pm

Last June we had our driveway paved. The guy paved over our existing driveway. The job was very poor from the beginning and a 2x2 section of old driveway was even missed (hidden under a pine tree branch - I offered to cut this away and move it and the guy said he'd take care of it). Also on one area of the driveway you could see gravel was coming up and the job was not done correctly. After some back and forth he offered to seal coat the driveway for free which was done in September after a waiting period. By Nov/Dec I realized the dirt I was seeing on our new $3000 garage doors was not dirt but was seal coating that he accidentally sprayed on the doors.

Now it's been a very long time, I realize this. I tried getting in touch with him in December when I finally had a moment to breath between Christmas and New Years. I just tried reaching him again last week when I noticed a severe 3 foot crack along one of the driveway edges. While he seal coated over the unfinished section of driveway, this does not fix or cover up the problem. I want this section fixed and I want him to remove the seal coating off the vinyl doors. I also want this new crack repaired.

Is there anything I can do here? Did I wait too long? Life is not easy to keep up with these days and I'm kicking myself for not taking more aggressive action. Everything is photographed near to the dates in which the job was conducted.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:44 pm

It sounds like the guy does crap work. He paved over your existing driveway without properly removing the old pavement and properly preparing the sub surface? I wouldn't want him doing anything on my driveway. If I saw work like that in progress, I'd have thrown him off my property. (I have done that with trades people who don't know what they're doing).
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cheese_breath
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by cheese_breath » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:12 pm

Where did you find this guy, or did he find you? Lots of construction scammers drive around looking for houses with problems and promise to fix them at great prices.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

colemanst13
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by colemanst13 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:19 pm

Normally an oral contract has a 3 year statute of limitations. If you had the contract in writing, its normally 5 years. This depends on your specific state’s laws. You could write him a demand letter. Also, you could look into filing a complaint against his contractor’s license. Look to your state’s licensing authority.

123
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by 123 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:23 pm

First check to see if he's a licensed contractor in your state. There should be an on-line look-up. That could impact how you proceed.

Get an estimate from someone else about what a "fix" would cost (maybe a "fix" is a completely redone job including prep). Potentially you could proceed with a small claims action if he has assets you think you can attach or collect from.
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toofache32
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by toofache32 » Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:32 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:12 pm
Where did you find this guy, or did he find you? Lots of construction scammers drive around looking for houses with problems and promise to fix them at great prices.
I was thinking the same thing.

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Spirit Rider
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:00 pm

What are the specific terms and conditions of your contract? Do have a written contract? If it is something as described in some of the previous posts, you might very well be out of luck.

ad2007
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by ad2007 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:25 am

I feel your pain as we've gone through similar situations.

Now I ask that they show proof of insurance, and when appropriate a state license. It seems to weed out some of the low ball quotes - go figure. And always written estimates and/or contracts.

Are you sure you want him to fix your driveway anymore?

Good luck.

mrc
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by mrc » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:59 am

This sounds like a sunk cost. Write it off as experience to hire only reputable contractors for work like this.

You can go after the guy, but you'll never recover enough to cover the initial cost plus remove the shoddy work. He doesn't have it.

Get three bids next time, plus check the license and insurance as others suggest.

Painful lesson. But the sooner you move on the better.
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Mr.BB
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:04 am

If he is listed on Angie's list or other such forum's take pictures and give him a lousy review so at the very least other people won't be screwed over by him.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

fru-gal
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by fru-gal » Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:24 am

Mr.BB wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:04 am
If he is listed on Angie's list or other such forum's take pictures and give him a lousy review so at the very least other people won't be screwed over by him.
This.

I think you have to eat the cost of the shoddy work and repairs, but at least you can warn other people. I would also complain to the state licensing board on the off chance, unlikely, that he is a licensed contractor.

I will add that even licensed contractors with good reviews can sometimes be a wreck. I had my house painted by such a company last summer, and finally threw them off the property.

pshonore
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by pshonore » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:29 am

Note that "licensed contractor" doesn't mean much in a lot of places. Outside of trades like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc there are few tests for competency.

Spirit Rider
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Spirit Rider » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:30 am

I would add that in my neck of the woods, even the majority of well known paving companies have questionable business practices. They have atrocious BBB records and they often show up in the local paper's small claims court reporting, letters to the editor and there have even been article series.

It seems to be like the HVAC field, in that it draws a large number of contractors with questionable business practices. You really have to do your due diligence. Licensed doesn't mean ethical.

finite_difference
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by finite_difference » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:37 am

fru-gal wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:24 am
Mr.BB wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:04 am
If he is listed on Angie's list or other such forum's take pictures and give him a lousy review so at the very least other people won't be screwed over by him.
This.

I think you have to eat the cost of the shoddy work and repairs, but at least you can warn other people. I would also complain to the state licensing board on the off chance, unlikely, that he is a licensed contractor.

I will add that even licensed contractors with good reviews can sometimes be a wreck. I had my house painted by such a company last summer, and finally threw them off the property.
If they’re on Angie’s list, just threatening to put up a bad review will get them to fix their work. I would ask him to fix XYZ and if he doesn’t then follow through on your (honest) review of his work.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:40 am

Avoid further aggravation.
Move on.
Reset
Reboot

Seek a reputable paving contractor.
View example of previous work done well.
Check business license, contractor's license, insurance, etc.
Get a contract with payment schedule and work to be done, when, and completed by.
Have the contractor look at the work done and what corrections are needed for long term reliability.
Get an estimate in writing.

Do the same as above for 2 more contractors.
Compare prices and so forth.
Get work done.

Example:
Where I used to live before retiring, 9 out of 10 licensed contractors were indeed licensed with great track records.
Where I live now after retiring, 9 out of 10 folks that "say" they are "contractors". . . . are not.

Buyer beware.
Due Diligence.
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Sam1
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Sam1 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:41 am

I wouldn’t want him returning to my house to do any work. I’d stay far away.

I also wouldn’t write a bad review out of fear of retaliation.

Mr.BB
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Mr.BB » Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:04 pm

Sam1 wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 8:41 am
I wouldn’t want him returning to my house to do any work. I’d stay far away.

I also wouldn’t write a bad review out of fear of retaliation.
What kind of retaliation can he do. If the OP takes pictures, documents the lousy job this person did then he is fine. Have him try to defend the lousy job he did. When I go on Angie's list one of the things I look for in a company is how they reply to a bad review. I found a great roofing company because I loved how they explained in detail why the reviewer who gave them a bad review was wrong; they also had a lot of excellent reviews.
There was one "major" carpet/flooring store I was looking at for some flooring in our house. I didn't get a good feel when I was in there store and when I check their reviews online, there was a lot of complaints, but more than that the company just cut and pasted the same feeble excuse for each bad review. That told me everything I needed to know about them.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

michaelingp
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by michaelingp » Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:42 pm

How many inches of asphalt did you pay for?

From your description I would eat the cost and try to find someone reputable. But I'm pretty hassle-averse.

quantAndHold
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:25 pm

Pretty sure you don’t want this guy trying to “fix” the problems. I would just write bad reviews on every social media site I could find and find someone else to redo the work.

Trader Joe
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Trader Joe » Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:29 pm

PlayingLife wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:26 pm
Last June we had our driveway paved. The guy paved over our existing driveway. The job was very poor from the beginning and a 2x2 section of old driveway was even missed (hidden under a pine tree branch - I offered to cut this away and move it and the guy said he'd take care of it). Also on one area of the driveway you could see gravel was coming up and the job was not done correctly. After some back and forth he offered to seal coat the driveway for free which was done in September after a waiting period. By Nov/Dec I realized the dirt I was seeing on our new $3000 garage doors was not dirt but was seal coating that he accidentally sprayed on the doors.

Now it's been a very long time, I realize this. I tried getting in touch with him in December when I finally had a moment to breath between Christmas and New Years. I just tried reaching him again last week when I noticed a severe 3 foot crack along one of the driveway edges. While he seal coated over the unfinished section of driveway, this does not fix or cover up the problem. I want this section fixed and I want him to remove the seal coating off the vinyl doors. I also want this new crack repaired.

Is there anything I can do here? Did I wait too long? Life is not easy to keep up with these days and I'm kicking myself for not taking more aggressive action. Everything is photographed near to the dates in which the job was conducted.
Yes it is way too late. Next time engage with a licenses contractor, not someone that just knocks on your door. I am confident that you have learned a lesson here. This will help you move forward and make better decisions.

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Robert The Bruce
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by Robert The Bruce » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:25 pm

Wonder if they were “Irish Travelers”. https://www.courier-tribune.com/news/lo ... elers-scam
North Carolina 2015
“Blair said, as was the case with the Randolph incident involving paving a driveway, “They tell their victims a story about having too much material left over from their last paving job, and how their bosses will fire them if they come back with it because it can’t be returned to the asphalt plant. After convincing the homeowner that their driveway is in desperate need of repaving, they will then offer the victim a ‘deal of a lifetime,’ just so they can keep their job.”

I heard these stories in the ‘80s when I lived in South Carolina. You want to believe it’s an urban legend.

Here’s another: https://www.gainesville.com/article/LK/ ... 174286/GS/
New Mexico 2008
“We are working on a (paving) job just down the street, and we can do your driveway for $2 a square foot. Today. Right now.’ He said they had over-ordered materials. They must go to college to learn this line,” said Rehm, a retired sergeant with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, recalling the pitch.
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lthenderson
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Re: Too late to go after driveway guy?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:29 pm

PlayingLife wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:26 pm
Is there anything I can do here?
In situations like this, where you really don't want the contractor coming back to "fix" things, I usually file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and I've always had good luck. It won't fix your driveway, but you may get some money back out of the contractor if he wishes to salvage his rating with the BBB. It is also a good source of information on a company you are thinking about hiring.

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