so the low-life handyman sent me a bill

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
so the low-life handyman sent me a bill
11
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 12:41am

Now he also tag on a charge of $40 for spending an hour calling the police.

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.

 

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Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 2:02am

Check to see if this is a small claims court amount or not.   That will see how much you will have to spend.  See if there is an agency that handles such disputes. 

chaika

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 10:12am

I'm not familiar with the law in CA so I can only tell you what would happen in MA.  If there is no written contract, he would have to prove the value of his services.  Since you already paid him, what is he saying that you owe him?  What happened with the attic cover that was not done properly?  did you have someone else repair it?  You could get a letter from that person (and his bill) saying that it was not done correctly.  I think you also said that he did things that you did not tell him to do--so why should you pay for that if he was not authorized to do that work?  Trying to charge you for calling the police is ridiculous and he also can't charge you for the time it takes him to go to court.  He is probably blowing hot air.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 2:29pm

Hi Musiclover and xxx

The attic cover doesn't fit the opening  b/c the four sides are not even. He called me asking me to measure the opening for him. I did. I measured the width and the length of two sides only not realizing that it was not a perfect rectangle. For this reason, you can see 1/4 inch gap on a long side and a smaller gap on a short side. It looks tacky. He primed it but hasn't painted. The opening has ragged edge too but he completely neglected to fix it even though I told him on the first day, besides making the cover also fix the opening. I wanted everything to look good. doesn't make sense to have a new cover when the opening looks junky.

On the third day, he charged for 4.5 hours or $225 that I didn't pay him for b/c of the dispute over the attic cover/opening. To clarify here: on the second day, I told him I really needed to get the important things done  on the third day. he agreed to it. This includes: finish painting the front doors (it was 90% done I would say- but there were small areas where the old shade still showed through and other areas he hadn't finish touching up (mainly on the outside of the door). In addition, he didn't put tape on it so some of the door paint was on the stucco outside.

Well, at the end of the third day, he didn't finish touching up the front doors b/c it was "too cold" to be painting outside (65 degrees). the attic cover didnt' fiit as I mentioned, wasn't painted, and the attic opening untouched. He touched up the big spot where the paint came of on the bottom stair step (the size of a palm).

Instead he spent time touching up micro spots throughout the stairwell, they were super tiny spots on the stairs (from normal wear and tear), not very noticeable. We talked about it on the second day that when he's fixing the large spot with the painting supply handy, that he would let me know so I could touch up the little spots b/c this is low-skilled work and I didn't want him to waste his time. In addition, he painted the side of the stones line up the stairwell. I never asked him to do that and don't know what the heck for b/c it looked like junk. His reasoning was it would look better painted. If I hadnd't stopped him in time I don't know how much longer the job is going to be. Imagine painting the sides of the stone on 20 stairsteps.

At the end of the third day, I said enough, he wasn't done as promised, let's cap the 4th day, how much longer does he need. He : i.e. attic and front doors. He said 3 hours. Then we went over in detail now he said the three hours only include him finish the touch up on the front door and paint the attic door. Fixing the opening he had no idea how long it would take and he could not give me an estimate on it. He would work on it and it would take as long as it takes. That's when the argument broke out and I ended up not paying him the for the third day.

Other things he spent time on I didn't ask was on the first day. I only wanted him to fill the  nail holes on the stucco outside (about 30 of them) and paint over them. He painted over the holes and touched up other spots on the stucco throughout the house which I didn't ask him to do. At $50 an hour. I paid anyway even though I wasn't happy about it b/c I didn't want any trouble and it was only the first day, let see how it goes. But immediately on the second day, I stressed to him it was very important to focus on the things I wanted to get done, reiterated again on the third day, to no avail.

Based on hours of wasted time doing things I didn't ask, I feel I shouldn't have to pay for the third day. What do you think?

 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 4:25pm
I would check up and confirm the $500.00 unlicensed handyman law. If it is a law then you should not have to pay him one more cent. Especially since he did such shoddy work on the attic door and didn't do the other work as instructed. If he keeps harrasing you, I would threaten to take him to small claims court. Just the threat could be enough to get him to back off. And I would take pictures of the shoddy attic door and anything else you found done poorly.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 6:16pm

he already threatened to sue me. Today sent me an email accusing me of stealing from him by not paying.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 6:55pm

I found this: http://www.oclaw.org/research/code/ca/BPC/7048./content.html

I cut and pasted here. I'm a little confused on the wording. Plus the amended by part, would it change the statue.

You are here: California / Business and Professions Code - BPC / ARTICLE 3. Exemptions [7040. - 7054.5.] / Section 7048.



Section 7048. (Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 865, Sec. 8.)
Cite as: Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §7048.

This chapter does not apply to any work or operation on one undertaking or project by one or more contracts, the aggregate contract price which for labor, materials, and all other items, is less than five hundred dollars ($500), that work or operations being considered of casual, minor, or inconsequential nature.

This exemption does not apply in any case wherein the work of construction is only a part of a larger or major operation, whether undertaken by the same or a different contractor, or in which a division of the operation is made in contracts of amounts less than five hundred dollars ($500) for the purpose of evasion of this chapter or otherwise.

This exemption does not apply to a person who advertises or puts out any sign or card or other device which might indicate to the public that he or she is a contractor or that he or she is qualified to engage in the business of a contractor.


 

 

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 9:17pm

I'm inclined to think he's trying to scare you into giving him more money.  Do you know an attorney who could type up a letter for you?  I forget what it's called, but for some reason I'm thinking that they can send him a letter explaining that he walk away with what he's been paid, or go to court.  Whether that would mean small claims or what, I have no idea but I do know that he's pretty much harassing you and that's against the law.  I'm all for trying to help someone out who needs it but as you yourself have written, there are certain laws and guidelines that go along with this type of work.  He has to abide by the laws the same as yourself.  If he can't do that, he might need to look into another way of making a living. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 10:00pm

believe me cfk, I am a very fair person and by no means would scam somebody, even the people who have money, if they perform a service well, as promised and agreed on price, I would pay. I wouldn't try to weasel out by using some law. I know there are people who would do this but honestly I didn't know about the $500 law until I got his demand letter/bill. Then I looked online to see what my rights were and came across this law.

Most of the times, a consumer refuses to pay a home improvement person, it's b/c they're unhappy with something.  In my case, I feel strongly he did not pay attention to what I wanted. He had a pathologically high opinion of himself, blames his lack of experience on the tools so to speak.

Clearly he's trying to gouge me. On the bill he listed things such as phone calls, travel time, and even time spent fixing things he did wrong, then did me a "favor" by waving those fees. Can you believe that? We already agree I would not pay any travel time. I told him clearly in the beginning I could get someone locally who wouldn't charge travel time but I used him b/c I knew he needed the work and I kinda know him already.

I had a handy man (referred by a friend) who came a did an estimate on the attic cover and opening. His price sounds so much more resonable. We discussed in detail what he's going to do, how long it may take him. Well, until the work is done, I don't know for sure if this person will come through but even the discussion is a big step up from this guy. He adamantly refuses to give me any kind of estimate whatsoever, it would take as long as he needs b/c he "doesn't waste time".  He also claimed by law, he's not allowed to give an estimate as a handy man.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 10-31-2013 - 10:32pm

I have to say that CA law is pretty hard to read since the sections don't have headings.  Anyway to me, that says that a contractor doesn't have to be licensed if he's doing a project that costs less than $500 so I'd tell the guy that you could report him to the state for doing unlicensed contractor work.  Also it's ridiculous that he says he can't do an estimate.  My ex works for a lumber/paint store.  One time I told him my boss hired painters to paint by the hour and he got a big laugh out of that--that's like incentive for people to go really slow.  Every contractor I've ever hired has been able to give a full price for the job--they should know how much time it should take.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
Mon, 11-04-2013 - 12:24am

have you ever been concerned about these people taking revenge on you? A gf told me today, going to court is one thing but assuming I win in court. Can this nutcase come to my house and do something bad: like vandalizing the property?

 

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