the low life handy man sent me a bill

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
the low life handy man sent me a bill
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 12:54am

Long story short: I hired an unemployed acquaitance who started a handyman service. He insisted on charging by the hours only and refused to give me an estimate. Well he took too long and on the third day after I've already paid over $600 (for days 1&2) still didn't finish what I wanted him to do. This happened b/c he kept wasting time on doing extra things I didn't want him to do. So I didn't want to pay him for the third day. We got into an argument, he calle the police thinking they would make me pay. They came, didn't make me pay and asked him to leave.

Now he also tag on a charge of $40 for spending an hour calling the police. so total bill is $265 for the third day.

I didn't want him to call the police but he did. Now charges me for the time and threatens to sue me for the labor and cost for time to prepare for the case if we go to court.

I went through all our correspondence, initially I wrote an email to him telling him I wanted certain tihngs done but after he came to my house the first time I explained things in more details and add things to the list and took something off the list when I realized things weren't going fast enough. I never went back and correct the original list. Other than that we didn't have anything in writing.

Do you think that email can be used against me? for instance, on the email I said to make me a new attic cover. When he came to my house the first day, I realized the edeges of the attic opening are in bad shape so I told him repeatetly I wanted that fixed as well but I never added on the list.

I read in California, an unlicensed handy man cannot do more than $500 worth of work labor and material included and would not be able to collect beyond that amt. I already paid him over $600.

Any advice? Thank you very much.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Sat, 11-02-2013 - 7:29pm

Can't advise you on CA law but...

Do you have ANYTHING in writing saying he'd charge by the hour? If so, you don't need change orders to the work being done since he wasn't charging by job but by time put in.

Do you have a copy of the police report where he was told to leave? That should document that he didn't work that third day.

That should be enough evidence in a small claims court to show you paid for the hours he put in.

In future, lesson learned. Have a contract. Specify the work (or the by the hour agreement) and update any changes in writing. Insist on written and itemized bills. NEVER EVER pay in full before the work is done.

And write a review of him on Craig's List, Angie's List, the BBB, anyplace else you can think of so no one else gets conned by him.