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What can be done about shonky tradesmen?

By tomH 12 January 2011 26

I’ve just had a horrible experience with a tradesman who took most of the money and has left the job half finished.

My lawyer says that I should call him and beg him to come back and finish the job as taking him to court will just mean more legal bills.

Does anyone have any ideas how I can get the message out there so that other people aren’t burnt by the same guy?


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What can be done about shonky tradesmen?
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Artie_F 9:35 am 30 Jul 13

six_by_nine said :

We had a similar experience with a paver late last year. We engaged a tradie at the recommendation of a local paving supplier and it turned into a nightmare. The first sign of rain and all the paving washed away. We couldn’t get the paver back to fix it, and when we did finally get him on the phone he suggested drilling into the neighnbour’s wall for drainage. We ended up cutting our losses and getting a second tradie in to fix the mess.

I wish there was a forum for naming and shaming, but I know RA won’t.

Instead, I’d like to take the opportunity to recommend All Rock Landscapes & Constructions. Todd was amazing, took the time to explain everything, his quote turned up 3 days after the visit, and they did the whole job the next day. He put in some decent drainage, and fixed up the paver pattern so it’s better than the original job.

Just an update on this post in case anyone else reads this recommendation and goes with Todd (like I did):

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/authorities-issue-public-warning-about-landscaper-20130711-2prpj.html

Name and shame indeed.

Henry82 11:28 pm 22 Aug 11

small claims court is ummm quite a bit of effort, been there done that. You have to prove that the job wasnt completed satisfactorly, and that would need to be by an expert who has written a signed statement. If you don’t, the judge will just say “well im not an expert at x” and they’ll postpone the proceedings. Make sure you you get all evidence photocopied 3 times (you, judge, other guy).

milkman 10:56 pm 22 Aug 11

460cixy said :

shonky tradies are great 🙂

There’s certainly enough of them…

460cixy 10:31 pm 22 Aug 11

shonky tradies are great 🙂

Innovation 10:12 pm 22 Aug 11

One risk not yet mentioned with small claims is that, if you reach a resolution in mediation, that is not always the end of it. We had a tenant that trashed our house (damage plust rent was in the 10’s of thousands). They agreed to pay $50 per week on a fraction of the debt (about $3k I think) which we accepted because we knew we would never see the total balance.

The made one payment and then skipped town. It turned out that breaching the order reached in mediation was not a criminal offence and it was our responsibility to hunt them down and start the court process all over again.

matt31221 9:59 pm 22 Aug 11

theblues said :

KB1971 said :

Do the work yourself………

Not everyone can do DIY jobs. Have you considered that someone may be disabled or have mobility issues that may prevent them from undertaking DIY jobs?

Or they are simply untrained and don’t have the skills to do it properly. That 4 four apprenticeship in most trades is done for a reason.

molongloid 9:58 pm 22 Aug 11

There’s the carrot approach. Describe the job as part 1 of a 3 part job, where they will get to do the other 2 parts if the first works out. Tradies are so much more keen in the quoting phase.

theblues 9:37 pm 22 Aug 11

KB1971 said :

Do the work yourself………

Not everyone can do DIY jobs. Have you considered that someone may be disabled or have mobility issues that may prevent them from undertaking DIY jobs?

jasmine 6:53 pm 18 Jan 11

Was it a plumber?

We had a similar experience last year with one who was supposed to clear a clogged pipe and then put up a riser out of the deck to make access easier next time. We pulled up part of the deck so the plumber could get access the opening.

The plumber said he was going to a rally in Cooma or something (can’t remember what exactly) and could we pay him the whole amount and he would come back next week to finish the riser. Well he seemed like a nice guy and we paid him and ….yes drum roll… you guessed it, never to be seen again and messages on his mobile were left unreturned.

I know you will say it was our own fault but he really seemed trustworthy and was very friendly. But we all live and learn. Word of mouth is the best communication as I think one can be sued for naming and shaming but I am no lawyer so may be off base on this one.

Lillypilly 3:06 pm 18 Jan 11

Sure it is, have at it!

tomH 11:52 am 18 Jan 11

Thanks everyone for the comments and recommendations.

It looks like I’m going with a 2 pronged approach:

1. small claims court
2. name and shame on every public forum I can find.

Any recommendations? Note: I haven’t included the organisation’s name and details as I’m not sure RA is the right place for it… or is it…

spinact 11:41 pm 14 Jan 11

T1G3R said :

Name and shame. People like this give other tradies a bad name.

Break it down……….

T1G3R 6:39 pm 14 Jan 11

Name and shame. People like this give other tradies a bad name.

cleo 2:05 am 13 Jan 11

Ring consumer affairs, or Fair Trading.

six_by_nine 9:25 pm 12 Jan 11

We had a similar experience with a paver late last year. We engaged a tradie at the recommendation of a local paving supplier and it turned into a nightmare. The first sign of rain and all the paving washed away. We couldn’t get the paver back to fix it, and when we did finally get him on the phone he suggested drilling into the neighnbour’s wall for drainage. We ended up cutting our losses and getting a second tradie in to fix the mess.

I wish there was a forum for naming and shaming, but I know RA won’t.

Instead, I’d like to take the opportunity to recommend All Rock Landscapes & Constructions. Todd was amazing, took the time to explain everything, his quote turned up 3 days after the visit, and they did the whole job the next day. He put in some decent drainage, and fixed up the paver pattern so it’s better than the original job.

John Moulis 5:44 pm 12 Jan 11

Thumper said :

Name and shame.

Can JB afford the legal bills?

Golden-Alpine 5:39 pm 12 Jan 11

Judge Judy.

Deano 12:37 pm 12 Jan 11

The problem with Small Claims Court is that even if you get a judgement awarded in your favour, there is no guarantee on getting your money. Whilst the property which can be seized to settle the debt is quite broad and includes land, cars or any other property of value but does not include necessities for living or tools of trade needed to provide a livelihood. It does not include items which are subject to lease or hire purchase agreements.

Unless the tradie has gone out and bought a new plasma TV with your cash, it is unlikely he will have any assets worth seizing. In most cases like this, the money has been spent on paying previous debts.

Grumpy Old Fart 11:54 am 12 Jan 11

Small Claims Court is the best option if the claim is under $10,000. It is not a complex process other than needing to know the details of the tradesperson and where a subpoena can be served. You are better of representing yourself as you know the facts. Just make sure you have as much information recorded as possible including photographs if applicable. Write your version of events down so that when you are in mediation or before the magistrate you have you story correct. Take your time when responding and don’t let anyone push you around.

Also lodge a compalint with consumer affairs and the master body for the particular trade if available.

georgesgenitals 10:42 am 12 Jan 11

Tooks said :

Thumper said :

Name and shame.

Yep, agreed.

Another vote from me for name and shame.

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