Payment for fences?

By 3 February, 2014 16

Part question but mostly a rant.

Two of my neighbours recently agreed to replace the fence between them.  The blocks don’t align perfectly so it made sense to also replace a small section (4m) of my fence at the same time. My neighbour (NOT the fencing company) asked me if I was ok with it being replaced, as long as they had enough materials on the day, and it would be in the $200 to $300 range. I agreed.

About six weeks later I get an invoice – $680!  So I call the fencing company a number of times and they eventually admit they got it a bit wrong and send a revised invoice; $480 for the total cost of the fence, my half being $240.  Here’s where the problems start. I paid my $240 but the fencing company say I MUST pay $480 and collect the other $240 from my neighbour. The neighbour refuses to pay me, says it’s not my job to collect their money, which I completely agree with!

So now we’re deadlocked. The fencing company and the neighbour clearly have each other’s details but are both too lazy or stubborn to talk to each other. And the fencing company are saying I am “legally” responsible for the total cost. Gee, if we want to get all technical and legal I never received a proper quote nor signed anything to authorise the work…

I should add it was absolutely no problem for all other fencing contractors I’ve had to simply give each party a separate invoice. It’s not rocket science!

So what to do?

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16 Responses to Payment for fences?
#1
chewy143:45 pm, 03 Feb 14

Pfft, I would completely forget about it.
You didn’t organise for the fencing to be completed so I have no idea how the contractor can think you’re responsible. You’ve already paid your part of the bill.
Is the neighbour complaining about something and refusing to pay?

#2
Elf4:02 pm, 03 Feb 14

My understanding as a former Landscaper who dabbled in fencing is that you get the signed agreement of all parties or from 1 who guarantee payment and collect off other party(s) before you do the job. In other words if you had no signed agreement with the fencer to collect money, the most they can expect out of you is your 50% of the cost. The fact that you signed nothing, means there is no contact price so they could be ask any amount.

If they got no signed agreements then I might suggest they might be a bit shonky. Anyone can put up a shingle saying “fencer” which brings a lot of dodgy tradesman into the industry. Given 99% of jobs go to the cheapest quote, quality tradesman usually find an income elsewhere.

#3
garglebutt4:03 pm, 03 Feb 14

I might have missed something but it sounds like two of your neighbours were replacing their fence and you were tacked on the end of the work so shouldn’t they be getting the invoice and you pay them your 4m?

#4
A_Cog4:17 pm, 03 Feb 14

chewy14 said :

Pfft, I would completely forget about it.

+1

But, if you can’t let it go… send an email to the company (cc yourself) outlining what the situation was, and confirming you paid the $240. Also say that as you have completed your part in the matter, you will take no further action.

Keep a copy of the email, do nothing further, forget about it, and go on with your life.

In the event that any party tries to chase you for the money through ACAT, the email you sent will free you from any claim and you won’t need to go to any trouble to demonstrate that. Your email will demonstrate you paid your bit, and it isn’t your role to chase money from anyone else, since the debt doesn’t belong to you. Love love love ACAT.

#5
Rollersk8r4:20 pm, 03 Feb 14

garglebutt said :

I might have missed something but it sounds like two of your neighbours were replacing their fence and you were tacked on the end of the work so shouldn’t they be getting the invoice and you pay them your 4m?

Yes, appears to be mostly my fault for chasing the guy and repeatedly asking how I could finalise payment.

#6
NoImRight4:24 pm, 03 Feb 14

chewy14 said :

Pfft, I would completely forget about it.
You didn’t organise for the fencing to be completed so I have no idea how the contractor can think you’re responsible. You’ve already paid your part of the bill.
Is the neighbour complaining about something and refusing to pay?

Pretty much this I think. I had a similar issue with a sparkie employed by a the installer of a new HWS. He decided he wanted a new powerpoint added so got the sparkie in to do it without consulting me in any way. First I knew was when the bill arrived. Rang the electrician (who does have my sympathy but not my money) told him I had a quote to do the job which Ive paid. It was between him and the contractor to sort out his payment. He kept sending me the bill for some months but then it just stopped. I agree he should be paid but as far as Im concerned it comes out of the contarctors pocket not mine. We had a fixed price arrangement.

#7
Innovation4:36 pm, 03 Feb 14

garglebutt said :

I might have missed something but it sounds like two of your neighbours were replacing their fence and you were tacked on the end of the work so shouldn’t they be getting the invoice and you pay them your 4m?

This makes the most sense to me. Your component would be the smallest. I’d give the money that you think is reasonable to whoever organised the work and let them deal with the fencing contractor.

I’d be interested to know the name of the fencer. We’ve had terrible trouble to get a new fence. It involved getting the agreement of several parties to one of the quotes and then, when we went back to the fencer for them to start work, they wouldn’t honour the quote and do the work or even return our calls and emails. Now we’ll have to start the process all over again.

#8
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd6:13 pm, 03 Feb 14

This is really, really basic.

Ask the company to produce a quote acceptance signed by you.

#9
milkman7:45 pm, 03 Feb 14

I’ve had a similar issue.

You’ve paid your part, and presumably have evidence to that effect (receipt, credit card statement, whatever), Next time the company/tradie calls, tell them your part is paid and you have evidence of this, and suggest they chase the nieghbour. Advise them that if they hear from you again you will refer the matter to both Fair Trading and the Master Builders Association, etc.

This is the typical lazy Canberra tradie approach of chasing money from the party of (perceived) least resistance. Simply tell them you won’t be paying any more money and the matter is closed. If they do anything silly like trying to ‘take back’ their fence, report them to the police for trespassing and press charges.

#10
TheBusDriver8:45 pm, 03 Feb 14

Hang on, you people are paying $120 per metre of fence? What’s it made out of? Gold I can understand. Brick or stone I can kind of understand. Fence palings, nope, makes no sense. Colourbond, ahh WTF?
Make sure you get an invoice for exactly what you have paid for because it reads like you’re subsadising your neighbours fence. I bet they didn’t pay $120 per metre for their fence. If they did, then I need to whip down to Bunnings, get some colourbond, posts and a shovel then make me a sign and undercut the tradies out there.

#11
gooterz9:34 pm, 03 Feb 14

Send them a letter of cease and desist, any further unsolicited communication will be taken as harassment.

#12
Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd10:16 pm, 03 Feb 14

milkman said :

I’ve had a similar issue.

You’ve paid your part, and presumably have evidence to that effect (receipt, credit card statement, whatever), Next time the company/tradie calls, tell them your part is paid and you have evidence of this, and suggest they chase the nieghbour. Advise them that if they hear from you again you will refer the matter to both Fair Trading and the Master Builders Association, etc.

This is the typical lazy Canberra tradie approach of chasing money from the party of (perceived) least resistance. Simply tell them you won’t be paying any more money and the matter is closed. If they do anything silly like trying to ‘take back’ their fence, report them to the police for trespassing and press charges.

As I understand, it is 100% illegal for any works to be removed from a customers house regardless of payments.

#13
zorro293:27 pm, 04 Feb 14

Sounds like your neighbours are real pieces of work…drag you into this and then lump you with the bill.

You’re between a rock and a hard place (cos there is no winning here – you’re correct that you don’t need to pay on this but, if you don’t, you’re stuck with cranky neighbourly relations).

Why are the neighbours refusing to pay anyway? I don’t get that bit.

In these cases, pretty sure there all parties to a contract are jointly and severally liable (meaning they can chase anyone for the full amount) – BUT you weren’t on the contract so they can’t chase YOU for any part of the contract. They just find you more reasonable to deal with (clearly) and are trying to bamboozle you.

Get a receipt for the work and move on. Tell the fencers to chase up the parties to the contract for the balance.

(they sound dodgy anyway – sounds like a lot of $$ for fencing and the way they “mischarged” was poor form)

Feel for you buddy…hope you get it sorted. But they have no leg to stand on so don’t worry about it.

#14
Sandman7:20 pm, 04 Feb 14

Price doesn’t seem too far out of the ordinary. Old fence needs to be removed and disposed of, there’s a couple hours of labour involved even in that 4m, decent materials aren’t exactly cheap (even from Bunnings).
Sure, you could do it a bit cheaper if you did it yourself, but you’d still spend $250 plus your time.

#15
thatsnotme10:51 pm, 04 Feb 14

Ha! Reading this:

Elf said :

Anyone can put up a shingle saying “fencer” which brings a lot of dodgy tradesman into the industry. Given 99% of jobs go to the cheapest quote, quality tradesman usually find an income elsewhere.

Followed by this:

TheBusDriver said :

Hang on, you people are paying $120 per metre of fence? What’s it made out of? Gold I can understand. Brick or stone I can kind of understand. Fence palings, nope, makes no sense. Colourbond, ahh WTF?
Make sure you get an invoice for exactly what you have paid for because it reads like you’re subsadising your neighbours fence. I bet they didn’t pay $120 per metre for their fence. If they did, then I need to whip down to Bunnings, get some colourbond, posts and a shovel then make me a sign and undercut the tradies out there.

is hilarious.

$120/m was the going rate when we had a fence put up about 4 1/2 years ago. That’s for supply and install of a 1.8m Colorbond fence.

What struck me at the time was just how hard it was to get in touch with a fencer in the first place, and then how much harder it was to get them to show up to do a quote. Seems like one of those areas where someone who knows how to erect a fence, and also has enough nous to run a business efficiently, should never be out of work.

#16
NoImRight9:41 am, 05 Feb 14

thatsnotme said :

Ha! Reading this:

Elf said :

Anyone can put up a shingle saying “fencer” which brings a lot of dodgy tradesman into the industry. Given 99% of jobs go to the cheapest quote, quality tradesman usually find an income elsewhere.

Followed by this:

TheBusDriver said :

Hang on, you people are paying $120 per metre of fence? What’s it made out of? Gold I can understand. Brick or stone I can kind of understand. Fence palings, nope, makes no sense. Colourbond, ahh WTF?
Make sure you get an invoice for exactly what you have paid for because it reads like you’re subsadising your neighbours fence. I bet they didn’t pay $120 per metre for their fence. If they did, then I need to whip down to Bunnings, get some colourbond, posts and a shovel then make me a sign and undercut the tradies out there.

is hilarious.

$120/m was the going rate when we had a fence put up about 4 1/2 years ago. That’s for supply and install of a 1.8m Colorbond fence.

What struck me at the time was just how hard it was to get in touch with a fencer in the first place, and then how much harder it was to get them to show up to do a quote. Seems like one of those areas where someone who knows how to erect a fence, and also has enough nous to run a business efficiently, should never be out of work.

I had the same issue a while back. Fairly easy fencing job (no old fence to get rid of even). Rang maybe 10, 4 showed up.Two quoted. One was ridiculous and the other didnt call me back when I asked him a question about it.Ended up getting a landscaper to do it. On the basis of he’d “have a go”. Turned out really well for half the price.

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