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Hello everybody,


Let's say that somebody is plastering then painting a livingroom for 1000

and he includes free skirting boards

everything reported by email

during the upgrading he asks for money at completion by but he finished only plastering and the living room has still to be painted

you explain that the agreement was painting and plastering then the payment and he replies:

you don't trust me so I don't fit the free skirting boards

Can he decided to change the agreement?

Many thanks

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Was there a formal written contract or was it a just a verbal agreement ?

If there was a written agreement....

Unless you agreed to stage payments it's reasonable to expect a finished job before payment. Alternatively it's also reasonable to pay for the plastering and withhold the decorating payment until completion.

If there wasn't a written agreement....

There's no chance of ensuring you will get anything.

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Thanks for your reply

everything has been written by email:

Hi Marco,

Further to our telephone conversation today please see breakdown below :

£ xx.00 Deposit received Thank you !

£ xx.00 To pay today ! (that I paid)

£xx.00 left to pay on completion of all works !

Total price xxx0.00 including extras below

£xx.00 for skimming the rest of the living room

£xx.00 sorting out front guttering

Also we are fitting a free trickle vent to the living room window to help with airflow to the room and also fitting new skirting boards for you free !!

Kind Regards

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I'm not sure that an email constitutes a formal agreement. It's not signed by the contractor.

You could try taking action in the small claims court but success depends on the validity of the email.

It's never a good idea to cut corners with business arrangements.

It's also best not to have items identified as'free' on the contract. Let's face it....nothing is actually free, it's just not separately costed, it's included in the overall price.

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Email acceptance of work to be done at an agreed price would be good enough for me to withold final payment for uncompleted works. The only time I would have agreed to change of terms would be to allow for any unseen extra work that obviously nobody could have included in their pricing.

Tough business in the renovation / building game so tough up and tell him how it is and show him your email and tell him to check his and if he doesn't like it........tough!

Normally for work like this it does pay to have things on proper headed quotation paper but I have no doubt this is just a non vat Guy undertaking small scale building type work for cash..........not declared.

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I witheld payment for a builder I found carrying out an affair in our shower room, for as long as I possibly could. Definitely wasn't in the contract. Slimey git, nothing to do with the thread, but felt really good to get it off my chest.


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Your failing decorator may have some personal reason to want to give up this job. It happens.

I would assess what you owe him for work done to satisfaction and offer him a settlement (keep it low) to close with him. If he's unhappy, you won't get good quality finish from him if he carries on. Better to let him go and get someone else to complete the work.

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Good point Chestnut. Pay him for what he has done and get rid of him.

Reminds me of a decorator I used 20 years ago who quoted and then demanded an unreasable amount of money to finish what was already in the quote for no good reason that I could see. I gave him the key to the property so that he could come an go as he pleased over the week. It turned out he was doubling up on jobs spending about 3 hours on my job and then off to do other work. Sent him packing.

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This tale sounds very similar to what happened when I employed a pointer via Gumtree back in October. Little did he know I have CCTV around the building he was 'working' on. We had an agreed price but then he wanted to keep adding on after half a day - particularly slimey.

By chance the roofer I use had been passing and called me to advise that this guy had a bad reputation and had been chucked off several jobs he had been on. I paid him £100 by bank transfer to go away. (No meeting necessary.) My scaffolder recommended me a good pointer - ah the joys of networking...

Sorry to hear about that Dave - bet it was a bit cramped!

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that guy is a joke especially because he keeps on saying job completed plese pay and the tenants confirms my idea about him

tenants reported as following:

Hi marco,

Gutter has been done.... An he is coming to do the skirting boards on thursday they havent arrived yet.
I made up with the work and all the jobs that have been done the house has been cleaned up after each one i cant fault him.
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