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Old 03-23-2013, 01:03 PM   #1
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Plumber/hvac contractor won't finish job


In September of 2012 we hired a plumbing contractor to install a radiant system and rough plumbing in our new house.

We paid him half of the $40,000 we agreed to through our bank construction loan. By early December 2012, nothing had been done and I started to ask why and when.

They gave me a date but broke it. When I got mad about it they showed up for 2 days, rerouted a waste pipe and left. By the end of Dec they still were not back and again I called and asked them when I was going to get heat.

They said they will get to it as soon as they can. 2 weeks went by and no show so I fired them. That was when I found out that suing them would not be worth my time. I called the license board and was told they only meet 4 times a year, next would be March.

I sent the plumber an email asking them to meet with us which they did in January. It was agreed they would install the radiant heat and they came and spent 3 days in which time they got a boiler semi installed.

That was the last we saw of them. Seems the owner of the company had a heart attack and was no longer able to work, so now I am out $20,000 and I have a half installed boiler, no pex installed, a water tank not installed, and very little else. My husband seems to think we should give the plumber a break!!!!!!!!!

So, if it looks like I am on my own since we are very rural and no other plumbers locally will take over. Can the pro's here offer help ?


Last edited by oh'mike; 03-23-2013 at 01:15 PM. Reason: added spaces
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:12 PM   #2
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Plumber/hvac contractor won't finish job


who is this plumber your husband wants to give a break, the owner with the heart attack or the new owner? seems like your are stuck with the new owner or whomever he has running it now. unfortuntely getting "mad" in a rural area is a very bad thing as they know no one will takeover the job and you have to deal with them. I worked/lived in a rural area for many years. You probably are going have to figure out a peace treaty with them as it is not going to be a job you can DIY. all the other contractors don't want it because of the future problems/complaints/hassles that may happen plus it is a matter or pride for them. you didn't choose them so they have pride and don't want any sloppy seconds.

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Old 03-23-2013, 01:19 PM   #3
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Plumber/hvac contractor won't finish job


You are in an awkward spot---------

This is a do it yourself site---how are you at following directions? Do you know how to solder?

Have you spoken to other plumbers? What do they say?
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:21 PM   #4
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In September of 2012 we hired a plumbing contractor to install a radiant system and rough plumbing in our new house. We paid him half of the $40,000 we agreed to through our bank construction loan. By early December 2012, nothing had been done and I started to ask why and when. They gave me a date but broke it. When I got mad about it they showed up for 2 days, rerouted a waste pipe and left. By the end of Dec they still were not back and again I called and asked them when I was going to get heat. They said they will get to it as soon as they can. 2 weeks went by and no show so I fired them. That was when I found out that suing them would not be worth my time. I called the license board and was told they only meet 4 times a year, next would be March. I sent the plumber an email asking them to meet with us which they did in January. It was agreed they would install the radiant heat and they came and spent 3 days in which time they got a boiler semi installed. That was the last we saw of them. Seems the owner of the company had a heart attack and was no longer able to work, so now I am out $20,000 and I have a half installed boiler, no pex installed, a water tank not installed, and very little else. My husband seems to think we should give the plumber a break!!!!!!!!!

So, if it looks like I am on my own since we are very rural and no other plumbers locally will take over. Can the pro's here offer help ?
so sorry to hear this.... but in my area its always worth suing if you have a case and can win...20,000 dollars is alot of money and imo you would win the case....its your call.....if they are a good company they don't want a damaged reputation..if not a good company.. they may fear having a threat of pursuing leagal action from the local and state ...get another company to estimate what needs done and a time frame along with cost..present this to them. give them one more time to complete the job in a business like manner....if they don't respond ...DROP THE HAMMER.... ben sr..again sorry
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Old 03-23-2013, 01:27 PM   #5
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Plumber/hvac contractor won't finish job


The only advice I have is kind of useless now, but you never, ever, pay in advance for work. You only pay for work that is complete. This is the way commercial contracts work. A schedule of values is submitted by the contractor and reviewed by the project manager for validity.

There are circumstances where you pay up front for long lead time items, like special mill work, but this is rare. A contract, or a form of agreement is legally binding, and should have payment information, and a time for completion of the work. A good, stable contractor does not need you to pay him up front money.

Giving this guy 20 grand up front was imprudent, to say the least. I feel bad for him re the heart attack, and I feel even worse for him re his workers. A good foreman would have picked up the fumble and run with it.

I really feel bad for you though. If they left materials on site, lock them up.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:05 PM   #6
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20 grand not worth going to court for.

Then send me 20 grand to finish the job. I won't show up and do the work. But I'll have 20 grand, and you will still be paying the loan back to the bank.

Considering what has/hasn't been done yet. Might want to get some guys to help you on the side, and pay them only for the work they have done per week.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:08 PM   #7
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This is what lawyers are for. The business presumably has a lawyer to deal with its legal matters and you need to get one to deal with yours. $20,000 is a lot of money. If the guy spent it already you need to garnish his assets. If he hasn't, he needs to refund it until the job is done or he backs out of the contract (he sounds like he's already in breach of contract, six months out).
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Old 03-23-2013, 04:23 PM   #8
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I wouldn't eat 20,000. Time to hire a lawyer and spank this guys ass.
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Old 03-23-2013, 05:29 PM   #9
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Sue him make him miserable, make him go before a judge, upset his whole operation but. Make sure you have a good contract that's binding and covers your a--,. Did he pull a permit? You might have a claim against his bonding/insurance Company.

If none of that works well you might have to take care of business the street way.

Turn him in to everyone you know including the city, county, state.

Don't let him back on your property. Its to late for that.

I don't like to tell people this but if you could get a hold of Home Depot or Lowes they have Contractor's that work for them. Last resort.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:44 AM   #10
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All good advice of course but I did take this to 2 lawyers and both told me that it would cost me at least 10K in legal fees with no guarantee of collecting, and that even if I won the suit I could not claim the legal fees back as part of the settlement.

The plumber is a small husband and wife team with a couple of employees. He is a master plumber with a license, but we are not talking about any large established business here. I suspect he took our money and spent it and hoped to make it up later when they had to start buying the equipment for our job.

Like I said, this is rural. There is so little competition here the larger plumbing companies are not even doing estimates any more but simply working on time and materials. I have spoken to local building contractors and I am told that even they cannot get install dates for their projects. The area simply has too few plumbers and hvac or even skilled employees and they can pick and choose and charge whatever they like. If you don't like it, they don't care.
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Old 03-24-2013, 10:58 AM   #11
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I know, I worked in a hospital in a small town and because it was gov't funded we had to get 3 quotes for EVERY job. eventually the locals get so pizzed off at never getting the job they won't even give out quotes. small towns/rural areas are like soap operas/Peyton Place ( google that/famous old soap opera) so you have to live with them and work around them. c'est la vie.

I think you need to negotiate somehow with this contractor or get an independant third party mediator/negotiator involved so he feels less threatened etc. There are mediation counselors for hire in the yellow pages or some churches have them too.

Good Luck
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:05 AM   #12
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I know, I worked in a hospital in a small town and because it was gov't funded we had to get 3 quotes for EVERY job. eventually the locals get so pizzed off at never getting the job they won't even give out quotes. small towns/rural areas are like soap operas/Peyton Place ( google that/famous old soap opera) so you have to live with them and work around them. c'est la vie.

I think you need to negotiate somehow with this contractor or get an independant third party mediator/negotiator involved so he feels less threatened etc. There are mediation counselors for hire in the yellow pages or some churches have them too.

Good Luck
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:06 AM   #13
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sure, you got more than 10 posts so it should work.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:17 AM   #14
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I can't post anymore advice to you on here. If it was me I guarantee I would take care of it. I might not get my money back but it will surely cost him a heap of money.

Good luck and by the way where you guys from. Yuri is a good guy and can steer you in the right direction.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:32 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=snowchild;1144607]Could I PM you ?

I believe you need 20 posts to PM here---go to ;Introductions' and greet a few new members---Moderator----

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