Forums / Property Investing / Help Needed! / Dealing with a unexpected bill

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  • Profile photo of wilko1wilko1
    Participant
    @wilko1
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 510

    Usually the majority of trades people and companies that I deal with in renovations etc operate with integrity and honesty. But every once in a while you encounter a person or company that is a bit shady and try's to pull one over you.

    Recently I called company A who put me onto company B. As this situation required attention immediately. I organized with the boss of company B to meet his employee out at site that afternoon.

    Company B sent their employee out to quote up a job for me, I met him on site and we ran through the details of what needed to be done.

    I said I will need to know how much it's going to cost.

    He made a phone call to his boss discussed the job with him and came back to me it should cost between 3,500 to 4,000 plus gst.

    I said ok so long as its not more the 4k plus gst, he said it shouldn't and we shook hands on it and I said "lets get it done then" as it required attention immediately. (First mistake, why I didn't get a written quote my mistake but as this needed to be fixed ASAP it would of taken time to write that out which I didn't have).

    They ended up coming back and starting the job on a Monday. (Employee came out on a Saturday to quote)

    They finished the job on Wednesday and as they said it should be between Tuesday and Wednesday when they would be finished I was fine with that.

    Then comes the bill for it 4 days later.

    $8011.67.

    The break down

    Labour 58.5 hours – $5148

    Material fittings – $2135.34

    Total 7284 plus gst 728

    (On a side note, don't open bills after business hours, you can't sort it out)

    At no stage was I contacted to say that there were any difficulties, that it would cost extra, I didn't organise any additional works.

    That's when you know you've had one pulled over you.

    Got a meeting with the lawyer today and a couple of complaints going in to the department of consumer/business affairs and fair trading today if they can't sort it out.

    Profile photo of Scott No MatesScott No Mates
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    @scott-no-mates
    Join Date: 2005
    Post Count: 3,850

    check the security of payments legislation – it will provide protection if it is an ip. you will need to notify the other party of the dispute within the timeframe though .

    Profile photo of jmsracheljmsrachel
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    @jmsrachel
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 711

    Wilko, what was the work for? I’m definitely in the wrong trade, cabinet makers don’t make close to that.

    Profile photo of Jamie MooreJamie Moore
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    @jamie-m
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 5,069

    I'd be interested to hear Terry's take on this.

    I'm not sure how verbal agreements stack up – but verbally quoting $4k and then doubling the cost at completion, without any justification, is obviously unreasonable. 

    What sort of work was it?

    Cheers

    Jamie

    Jamie Moore | Pass Go Home Loans Pty Ltd
    http://www.passgo.com.au
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    Profile photo of Tony FlemingTony Fleming
    Participant
    @the-dark-knight
    Join Date: 2008
    Post Count: 396

    Dodgy *ricks. Getting sick of tradies thinking that because it's a IP we are all rich. $208 quote to change 3 lightbulbs in a regional property lol the other day seemed heaps legit.

    Tony Fleming | Triumphant Property Group
    http://www.triumphantpropertygroup.com.au
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    NSW Buyer's Agent specialising in Western Sydney-Blue Mountains-Orange-Albury

    Profile photo of Jamie MooreJamie Moore
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    @jamie-m
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 5,069

    Is that for real dark knight? Maybe I'm in the wrong game!

    Surely the PM can pop around and change a few bulbs – they could carry out an inspection at the same time and kill two birds with one stone.

    Cheers

    Jamie

    Jamie Moore | Pass Go Home Loans Pty Ltd
    http://www.passgo.com.au
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    Mortgage Broker assisting clients Australia wide Email: [email protected]

    Profile photo of Tony FlemingTony Fleming
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    @the-dark-knight
    Join Date: 2008
    Post Count: 396

    Yeah i at first thought he was joking they are your basic basic lightbulbs you know the type were you screw them in and thats it lol.. Yeah the PM ended up doing it even he was a little confused by the price. The worrying thing is that the PM said he was usually the cheapest. I'm praying i don't ever need a new powerpoint installed otherwise I'll need to refinance or sell off a property to cover it :P

    Tony Fleming | Triumphant Property Group
    http://www.triumphantpropertygroup.com.au
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    NSW Buyer's Agent specialising in Western Sydney-Blue Mountains-Orange-Albury

    Profile photo of TerrywTerryw
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    @terryw
    Join Date: 2001
    Post Count: 16,190

    Well, oral contracts can be binding. But was it a fixed price agreement? What were the other terms? Was it even an agreement?

    Terryw | Structuring Lawyers / Loan Structuring Pty Ltd
    http://propertytaxbook.com.au/
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    Profile photo of wilko1wilko1
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    @wilko1
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 510

    The quote was for plumbing. A new sewer drain to be installed. 

    The materials used where 20-22m of 100mm poly pipe.

    4 y junctions, 2 corners, 1 head vent, 4 rubber joiners. 2 ip covers.

    these materials you can get retail for under $400-500. So I was a bit shocked with materials 2.3k

    and labour. Wow I should of been a plumber. $88 a hour. – $704 for each worker per day. 

    First day there was 1 plumber, 1 apprentice and 1 digger operator. 

    2nd day was the same and 3rd day there was just one guy. 

    Pretty unbelievable really just excessive and pretty unhappy with it 

    Profile photo of wilko1wilko1
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    @wilko1
    Join Date: 2010
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    Well I thought a agreement was made.

    they came out looked at the job. Said it would cost between 3.5-4k I said that's ok we shook hands. They started work 2 days later. If the job changed or was more difficult I would expected to be contacted, ie we have hit rock it's gonna cost a extra 1k I would then say yes or no. 

    Profile photo of TerrywTerryw
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    @terryw
    Join Date: 2001
    Post Count: 16,190

    It could be there was a contract in place.

    I would suggest you write to the company and dispute the bill and state you had an agreement for $4500 to $5000. Be nice about it and see what they say.

    If you get a nasty reply then reassess.

    Terryw | Structuring Lawyers / Loan Structuring Pty Ltd
    http://propertytaxbook.com.au/
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    Lawyer, Mortgage Broker and Tax Advisor (Aust wide) http://propertytaxbook.com.au/

    Profile photo of jmsracheljmsrachel
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    @jmsrachel
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 711

    I’m pretty sure drainage for a new build is only around $4000. Like Wilko said the materials aren’t that expensive.
    .

    Profile photo of FreckleFreckle
    Blocked
    @freckle
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 1,681

    Wilko while I understand your angst I don't think the price is too far off the mark.

    Labour rate is actually pretty reasonable. Charge out rates for tradies have been around $90/hr for the last 10 years or more. Plumbers are the most expensive trade next to sparkies. The hours worked are about right. I notice there's no machine time listed. Generally a digger will go out around $300 – 500/day.

    Sure they've over charged on materials – who doesn't.

    The problem as I see it is that they've balls'd up the quote and the final price has exceeded your expectations leading to an I want to kill some body moment.

    The other problem I see is that as I read it you were given an estimate not a fixed price quote. Biiiig difference me ol' mate.

    I'd ask for a discount which is the best I think you could get. Maybe $200 at most. Take it on the chin, lesson learned which is GET FIXED PRICE QUOTES.

    So if they're unwilling to be friendly you can claw a little satisfaction back by dragging out payment for ever as a reminder to these guys that financial pain can be a 2 way street.

    Best I ever did was 5 years.

    Profile photo of FreckleFreckle
    Blocked
    @freckle
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 1,681

    PS:

    Terry might be able to confirm this but I believe that as long as you're paying something towards settling an account on a regular basis they can't have a judgment awarded against you.

    Profile photo of TerrywTerryw
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    @terryw
    Join Date: 2001
    Post Count: 16,190
    Freckle wrote:
    PS:

    Terry might be able to confirm this but I believe that as long as you're paying something towards settling an account on a regular basis they can't have a judgment awarded against you.

    Don’t think this is the case. If you breach an agreement someone can take you to court and if you lose a judgment will be issued against. If you don’t turn up then a default judgment will be listed too. Once that occurs you may be able to pay off the judgment debt by installments.

    Terryw | Structuring Lawyers / Loan Structuring Pty Ltd
    http://propertytaxbook.com.au/
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    Lawyer, Mortgage Broker and Tax Advisor (Aust wide) http://propertytaxbook.com.au/

    Profile photo of jmsracheljmsrachel
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    @jmsrachel
    Join Date: 2012
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    Freckle, remind me to never do any work for you!

    Profile photo of PLCPLC
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    @plc
    Join Date: 2012
    Post Count: 400
    Freckle wrote:
    Wilko while I understand your angst I don't think the price is too far off the mark.

    Labour rate is actually pretty reasonable. Charge out rates for tradies have been around $90/hr for the last 10 years or more. Plumbers are the most expensive trade next to sparkies. The hours worked are about right. I notice there's no machine time listed. Generally a digger will go out around $300 – 500/day.

    Sure they've over charged on materials – who doesn't.

    The problem as I see it is that they've balls'd up the quote and the final price has exceeded your expectations leading to an I want to kill some body moment.

    The other problem I see is that as I read it you were given an estimate not a fixed price quote. Biiiig difference me ol' mate.

    I'd ask for a discount which is the best I think you could get. Maybe $200 at most. Take it on the chin, lesson learned which is GET FIXED PRICE QUOTES.

    So if they're unwilling to be friendly you can claw a little satisfaction back by dragging out payment for ever as a reminder to these guys that financial pain can be a 2 way street.

    Best I ever did was 5 years.

    Now this really has me intrigued. If you don't mind divulging, I would love to know the story behind it.

    Cheers

    Tom

    PLC | Phoenix Loan Consulting
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    Profile photo of PEACHYPEACHY
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    @peachy
    Join Date: 2004
    Post Count: 78

    Hi Wilko,

    We recently had our place in Mackay re-routed due to a leak. The quote we got was as follows and the apprentice was charged out at apprentice rates. Quotes I got varied from $70 – $99/hr for labour. Also the total quote costs ranged from $3,500 to $20,000 so it really can vary depending on the contractor!

    I know it is different work but he actually ended up taking less time than quoted below so total cost was $5,800 including copper piping as part of the supply costs. Might shed some light on your labour break down?:

    Plumbers x 2 48 Hours $78.00 per hour $3744.00

    Apprentice x 1 24 hours $26.00 Per hour $ 624.00

    Materials $1230.00

    Total including GST $6157.80

    If you dispute it you may get some kind of result.

    Peachy 

    Profile photo of wilko1wilko1
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    @wilko1
    Join Date: 2010
    Post Count: 510

    Well its been over a week now since i got the old lawyer to type up a quick letter  and post the cheque for the original quoted amount of $4400.  No reply yet. Ill wait another month i think i can say its all clear. It was a nice strong letter.

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