Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Has it all gone down the toilet?

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine.” MOVIE: Casablanca, amended version.

I called up an advertisement in the paper a few weeks ago for a local carpenter tradesman, most were busy but one came right out. It was not long before we realised that we had grown up together in the same area ~ even came to find out he played with my brother! A few years down the road and here we are, older, both a little rounder etc. He looked over the job, says that he has done work for the Duke of Argyll, charges roughly £20 an hour; he makes furniture but will stop anything for a kitchen; that’s his favourite job! He tells the “hubby” and me it will be about a weeks work and his fee would be around- wait for it… £1200. Now that is only sitting putting together flat packs. He asks for half up front as he needs to buy materials. Next day he appears and like a fool l give him the money. We just assumed he was being honest and that this was the going rate. “Hubby” would have built the cabinets but most of his work colleagues are on holiday juat now so he is working till late.
I called my Dad who just had his kitchen done, around the same size, four men, a day and a half- £600, l call a few more local builders and start to realize that this old friend has charged us way in excess- even if he has done work for the Duke, it’s not as if he is painting the Sistine Chapel- these are flat packs, 3 days work- max.! I call him up and say that if he worked flat out for seven days then at £20 per hour we should only be paying £980 so does this include the electrics/plumbing?? He says no. ARGHHH. My lights are flashing and the more l think about it all the more l realise what an idiot l have been ~red warning flags were everywhere. None less than the fact the only thing he had to buy was some fixings for the wall cabinets- nothing else!
I offer him 10%, keep £50 for his troubles and tell him it will blow our budget if we proceed with his offer so can we get our money back. He says he will have to keep a bit. Oh no…… now l am feeling ill. I had been far too trusting and handed the money over in good faith. I did not sleep much last night.

Our poor wee 'Black Jack' passed yesterday evening ~ flushed away to his watery heaven. Sam is coping well; l told him that the wee fish was off to find his Mummy ~ a bit like Nemo in reverse.

Sometimes life’s lessons are hard. I will learn from this and move on. The worst thing though is the feeling of being cheated.

Update: He came around tonight and handed me the envelope, thankfully he only took the £50 offered. My dad still thinks he should have given it all back ~ I’m not unhappy with the result. We all have to live in the same small town.

'Blog Fodder': I went out to a friends today and 'low and behold' her husband is going to help- he can plumb and is a qualified electrician. He is even putting together their own kitchen units at the moment, bought from the same place!!! How wonderful is that?! RESULT

So today l hired a van to take across the water this weekend and G. and l will collect our kitchen and bring it home.... then the hard work begins... flat packs!


Grish said...

Oh wow, He sounds very unprofessional. I have had to deal with tradesmen of this type on and off for a few years now, as I've been building my house.

I have done it all myself but the flooring, in the end . I just haven't found anyone that I trust not to cheat me in some way. Glad you got the bulk of the money back.

Sigrun said...

What a story! Wow. I think everyone has to learn such a story sometimes in his life.

Come at my blog and drink a whisky with me.


Alice said...

Very unprofessional - but it's not the first time I've heard of 'friends' doing the dirty on a business deal.

Good luck with all of your renovations. I hope you will be thrilled with it all when finished.

Tammy said...

What a scuz...what did you brother do to him??
Sorry to hear about the wee fishy! You feel cheated...what about me...mine didn't last 24 hours...try try again I always say...are you going to buy another?

Lorraine said...

I'm so glad that worked out. Contractors. What a bitch. When we did our remodel we had first-rate plumbers and flooring guys. The electrician was another story...rarely showed up when he said he would, messes everywhere, never did give us a contract, even though we asked repeatedly. The work passed inspection first time 'round, but The Spouse did easily 1/3 of the finish work. For which the electrician actually tried to get paid (but didn't. Please.)

So glad it worked out, so sorry about the fish and have fun with your flat packs (whatever that is...are we talking Ikea?)

PEA said...

Grrrr talk about being underhanded, trying to cheat you like that!! Darn good thing you checked around and found out he was overcharging you wayyyy too much. I know it's maddening that he did keep a bit of the money but then, he could have kept it all and given you more of a hard time. It seems to be working out well though, now that you've found a friend's hubby who is willing to help:-) As for the fishy, that's really too bad but I'm glad that Sam is taking it rather well!!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I always try to be trusting, but I have learned through the years that you just have to check around first before handing over any money in advance...especially that much. I'm glad he took you up on keeping the 50 in return for the rest...but I do think that out of good faith he should have returned the whole amount. But that's only me.

Sorry about the wee black fish...SEE this is why I have a virtual aquarium...otherwise I would be mourning the passing of dead fish.

Granny said...

That's a lot of money. Glad you were able to recoup.

Merle said...

Hi Horizon ~~Sorry you had such trouble getting the work done in your kitchen.
It doesn't always work out with friends
or even family. Anyway it won't be long
now and it will be great. I think Flat
Packs are boxes ready to assemble, is
that right? Thanks for your comments and
your sister's suggestions. Hugs, Merle.

Connie and Rob said...

Oh I am so sorry you had to go through such an ordeal. That would have made me sick. So glad you were able to get the other part of your money back and get rid of him.

Thankfully now you can start fresh and I hope you get a beautiful kitchen as a result.

Take care,

wazza said...

Thanks Horizon for having a look at my blog. I have a cousin who suffered the same fate as you. Her sister's husband, a handyman (yeah sure handy with somebody else's money) put a deck on her house and "charged like a wounded buffalo". Sometimes it ain't worth dealing with family or friends when it comes to money and/or business.

Sue said...

Oh my goodness! How terrible for you!
It's hard to waste even a small amount when you have so many other things to pay for with your kitchen.
Hope things go a little more smoothly now!

slap me happy said...

glad your sorted out not sis, willl help you bury the body when I come over in 3 weeks lol. The least we could do is bury the conman with his butt sticking up out of the soil, (somewhere for Dan's bike to stand huh)
lol. give my love to all, busy here tying up loose end and the paperwork for the houses so Joe is all organised too.
Love you heaps sis xx

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