Bad (non pay)Day

Discussion in 'Other Trades Talk' started by Bigplumber, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. Bigplumber

    Bigplumber New Member

    I have spent the last week tiling and changing an en suite for a couple. The lady of the house was away and her husband kept inspecting the work and said everything was ok. I have been tiling for over 18 years, but do more plumbing now. Anyway, sorry to waffle. Mrs X returns today and says that she dosen't like it. I know he commented about the red lines round the tiles yesterday when I grouted it, but th etiles were supplied by them and were only £3.40 from B&Q. Basically the glaze finished just on the edge.

    All my tiling is perfectly level, no edges showing, and perfectly plumb. Used my trusty straight edge and laser level.

    Her reasons are,

    She dosent like half tiles on show (the shower tray was not level, discussed at quote stage)
    I didn't do behind the toilet (put tiles behind to further than the eye could see)
    Didn't like the cut behind the sink round a pipe (they wouldn't pay to have the walls skimmed)

    I am thinking that she just does not like the tiles.

    Am thinking of sueing them.

    Anyone had anything like this, as this is my first.

    Thanks, any replies most welcome.
  2. This is an awful situation, yes I have had this but in a slighlty different manner, usually where it comes to settling the bill.

    One half (usually the wife) has been saying yes to extra's, I always put these in writing before I do them, the husband comes to pay the bill and it's more than the estimate as a result of all these extras.

    Anyhow, your in the right here, the tiles are plain cheap, thats not your fault, personally I tile then fit any suite so I understand that point but the rest of it is unreasonable.

    I've never had to sue anyone, I've made it clear I wouldn't leave until I was paid a couple of times but I've never had a flat out refusal.

    Take legal advice if this is as far as you've got.
  3. Bigplumber

    Bigplumber New Member

    Cheers Mudster, I;ll think about it.
  4. Boxer Red

    Boxer Red New Member

    Sorry to hear of your situation BP, never had this happen but have had to do extras a couple of times to keep cust sweet. Personally, I think I would detail everything in a letter adressed to Mrs,pointing out Mr was happy and had every oppertunity to comment if he wasn't happy with quality of work carried out. Don't get personal, stick to facts. State in the letter that you are more than happy to employ the labour of an independant judicator to examine your work, but she would have to bear half the cost of this. If nothin else, the letter may help if you did have to go to court to get your money. Let us know how / if you do manage to resolve this matter and how you went about it.
  5. Bigplumber

    Bigplumber New Member

    Thanks for the reply
  6. BP, this happens to all of us at some time or other.

    the advice given is right, try to avoid legal stuff at all costs - it is unbelievably expensive, I have a one year old debt of £8K which so far has cost about £1200 and I'm still no where near collecting.

    If the debt is less than £5K and the approach suggested here doesn't work, then try the small claims court.

    An alternative is mediation using a chartered surveyor. Costs about £320 to get an independent surveyor, make sure there is an upfront written agreement that both parties will abide by the surveyors report.

    You could alway rip off the tiles, buy them some more of the same and throw in a bucket of sticky stuff for free and tell them to get on with it!

    Good luck and please let us know how you get on on.
  7. Washboy

    Washboy New Member

    Big plumber,

    I've been through this twice before and am currently having a similar problem. My advice would be to negotiate rather than mitigate.
    Most people can be reasoned with, but it does take a bit of diplomacy.
    For the future, and I'll be taking heed of my own advice, draw up ANY terms and condions that you think may be relevant, and have them checked by a solicitor with experience in this field. E.g. that you'll not be liable to recompense your customer any losses of salary or other incurred by him/her due to customer taking time off for the duration of or for delays on the job.
    Keep a few blank copies of change order sheets in your job folder, which can be filled in and signed by both parties when anything differs from original spec. Also have a blank snag list form, with same. You don't have to wave the snag list form around at the end of every job, but if the customer is unhappy, get it on paper. That way you know exactly what needs rectifying and what is impossible to do. This all counts as evidence.

    Also, slap anyone who has the cheek to ask you to fix B&Q tiles!

    Anybody know, if customer decides to refuse access to collect tools, whether this is theft or a civil matter?
  8. ultimatehandyman

    ultimatehandyman New Member

    Hi BP,

    Just a few words of warning, if you do go down the route of suing, make sure that-

    1. The people you are suing will not be eligible for a legal aid certificate.

    2. The people you are suing have money or at least capital wealth.

    3. Never trust a Lawyer.

    There are 2 plumbers in my family and they have had similar problems to you, one of them was sued two weeks ago for installing some radiators (long story).

    I once had to fight someone with a legal aid certificate and it is no fun as they have a blank cheque to fight you with!

    The solicitor told me my case was winnable, after paying him £5,000 he changed his mind and suggested I settle out of court. Be very careful!

    I hope it works out in your favour!

    Good Luck

  9. Boff

    Boff New Member

    Did you supply the adhesive & grout? If you did and you can live without the money from the job then accept you're probably not gonna get it and proceed to remove all your materials - see how they react when you start pulling the tiles back off the wall. If they're only cheap tiles then you can afford to reimburse them for any you break while getting them back off. I've threatened to do something along the same lines before and the customer coughed up.


    there is only one solution to this
    i ve been there a couple of times i like you have been tiling for 17 years never had any problems b4 but you always get 1 person who decides they ain t gonner pay
    Go back there monday morning, take your trusty hammer and chissel and say to them u don t except there excuses
    take them up stairs and ask them if they r going to pay
    if the answer is no say ok then i m going to correct my work
    take your hammer and chissel and proseed to remove all the tiles ignore there shouts and screams
    believe me mate you won t remove more than half a wall be4 thery cough up!!
    and if they don t carry on mate after all they had no intention of ever paying for it and you ve lost a weeks work
    By the time you would of finished removeing all the tiles your have a smile back on your face knowing they ain t got anything for nothing either
    they might threaten to call the police ignore them the police can t do anything its civil mate
    Learn from it and move on
    There s always someone out there waiting for a freebie!!
  11. three-twenty

    three-twenty New Member

    i like the idea of smashing the tiles off, however, could you start by trying to lessten her moans? for example put white or chrome pipe covers behind the sink (sfd do sell these) do something behind the toilet, even if it means removing the toilet. this may seem like it is going deeper, but at least you can hold your head high.
  12. bathstyle

    bathstyle Active Member

    She dosent like half tiles on show (the shower tray was not level, discussed at quote stage)

    So I'm guessing you haven't put a new tray in ? In this case there is no other option but to put cuts in as you have done.

    I didn't do behind the toilet (put tiles behind to further than the eye could see)

    I personally would have removed the W.C, maybe you could remove the cistern and tile behind it?

    Didn't like the cut behind the sink round a pipe (they wouldn't pay to have the walls skimmed)

    Take the tile off and re cut.

    Would they accept this and pay up if these small items are seen to?

    Snagging lists are quite normal in the Bathrooms that I fit, in fact I encourage my customers to make notes of anything they are unhappy with. I usually go over everything with a fine tooth comb to make sure it's all tip top and rarely get a list from the customer.
  13. salem2000

    salem2000 New Member


    There has been a few comments saying to remove the tiles from the walls, be vary careful.

    Your customer supplied the tiles (even if cheep ones) therefore they are not your property. If you damage them in any way, you could then be prosecuted for criminal damage.
  14. Boff

    Boff New Member

    That's why I made the point that they are cheap enough for him to replace them for her if need be. If they're cheap **** from b&q then chances are they will break coming off anyway.
  15. Over the years I've run my business, I've found the lower cost fits create most problems.

    It's the penny pinchers that you have these confrontations with, fortunately I don't need to do these jobs any longer and you get a feel on when to walk away and when to quote.

    It all seems to be a part of the learning curve of business and sooner or later you'll get caught by one, when you do, you make sure it won't happen again.

    Good luck with it all and let us know how you get on.


    just do as i ve said
    if you break the tiles when removing them just tell them that the money they ve screwed you for they can now go out and replace them there seves
    i would nt do anything else for them your never be rite and they will never be happy
    they bought cheap tiles they wanted a cheap job run mate
  17. Islander

    Islander New Member

    Not so much of Tradesman not being paid how about tradesman that get paid and don't complete the job lol
  18. The only deposit I take is to cover the cost of items supplied and materials, if your paying up fornt for anything else you're leaving yourself wide open for abuse.
  19. bathstyle

    bathstyle Active Member

    I'll never forget the time where a customer paid me the total amount for a Bathroom on the day I started, it came to a whisker under £8000 all in, the guy went on holiday for 2 weeks as well while the work was done!

    Needless to say he go a lovely job done, and I didn't moan once on the whole job!
  20. Had a Russian CHap do that once, I was tiling his halway in Marble, He insisted paying in full in cash the day I started, He actually seemed insulted when I tried to explain He pays when I finish.

    The place was surrounded with bodyguards (armed) it was quite disturbing espcially as It was in the middle of Kent and these large chaps are walking around watching what you're doing openly wearing shoulder holstered guns.

    Just not used to seeing that in the home counties!

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