Bad tradesman?

From: Geoff Whitfield

What can be done about a tradesman whose work (and charges) for my IP I am not happy with?

The electrician quoted me a per hour cost on the phone- $60. Then charged $65. Then GST on the top of that. (Does a quoted charge have to include GST? I've come against this one before.)

He's charged me for 20 double power points- there were 16. etc etc.

Even the date on the invoice for the initial work is 2 weeks before the work actually occurred- well before settlement, which might make the invoice hard to justify as valid to ATO.

I feel the final bill was exorbitant.

OK, my big mistake was not getting quotes (or anything else) in writing. I was not organised well enough- and at least he started the work on very short notice.

Am I stuck with paying what he asks? Or can I pay a discounted amount (25%?) and explain why?


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Reply: 1
From: Joe D

Unless you have already paid the invoice I don't see that you have problem. Whilst you hold the purse strings he (the tradesman) has to play your tune. Whilst we all hate having disputes etc, the onus rests with this tradesman to justify his costs in accordance with whatever you have previously agreed, either verbally or in writing.
When I have been in a similar situation I have conveyed my concerns or disputes in writing beforehand, but if agreement can't be reached I simply pay what I feel is reasonable and justified. The tradesman or whoever then has to either accept or weigh up whether they have enough "evidence" to win any action against you or even if it is worth pursuing.

As always put it in writing.

As for being quoted a price and then getting lumped with GST added on, I find this very common. Whilst I don't think this should happen on a domestic level (ie. GST should automatically be include in quotes to Mr + Mrs Householder), on a bigger and perhaps commercial scale I can understand why this can mistakenly be omitted.

Joe D

'Juggling is like life...... it's fun, but sometimes you drop the ball ....'
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Reply: 2
From: Greg Mitchell


Don't pay the invoice but return it with a list of the issues. Don't say you won't pay but say " I am happy to pay for the work done if you correct the following....

Invite him (assuming it is a him) around to show you where the missing power points are.. etc.. etc.. (that should be good)

Make sure the tax invoice confirms with the ATO guide lines ABN no. etc.. it should have his electrical contractors licence number on it (if not ask for it).

You might want to suggest that the date on the tax invoice may suit his accounting methods but not yours.

Keep a record of all conversations you have with him incase it goes to the department of fair trading etc..

I have had cases where I have repeatedly asked for receipts with no joy, If the ATO audits me (again) I will just pass on this info. I assume the ATO would love this info.

unfortunately a lot of tradesmen think that property owners are a soft touch, especially if it is through a real estate agent.

good luck

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Reply: 2.1
From: Tibor Bode

Hi Geoff,

My understanding about the GST that quoted prices must include GST (hourly rates as well). Maybe some on the forum can confirm it. Otherwise it could be something to be conveyed to the ACCC (my understanding they already won cases on this bases) and / or to the fair trading department of the state.

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Reply: 2.1.1
From: J Parker


Call and explain that you are not happy due to the reasons you've cited. Work out the new bill, at the rate you were quoted, minus the bogus power points etc and post it back to him. Good sparkies are hard to come by, but if you're in Brisbane then I know a good one. E-mail me and I'll give you his details. Best of luck,
Cheers, Jacque :)
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Reply: 3
From: Glenn Mott

After making enough mistakes with tradesman, I now make sure that everything comes in writing as well.

As Greg said, if there are parts of his work that you are not happy with, point them out specifically and request that these issues be addressed before payment. You will have no chance of getting shoddy work fixed after making full paymnet.

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Reply: 3.1
From: Terry O

I'm a sparkie and can tell you that any work over 200 bucks requires a written contract (NSW).Did you have one?
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Reply: 3.1.1
From: James Doherty

If you did not receive a written quote then i suggest you learn from your mistake and not do it again. Pay the man or he will be back to take back all you outlets and whatever else he installed. Did he provide you with an Electrical safety certificate and show his E licence (VIC). If not you are not insured and I suggest you call the chief electrical Inspectors office.
Mistakes are learning curves.
James D

Yes i am an electrician if i sound a bit pittyfull for the tradesman.
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From: Dale Gatherum-Goss

Hi James

The sparky can only take back his work if his invoice includes a clause that says that the title of the goods does not pass to the new owner until payment is made.

Otherwise, he is committing theft as well.

Be careful and get a solicitor to draw up the correct wording.

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From: Geoff Whitfield

Thanks James and thanks to all.

Sorry for the late reply.

I have delayed paying as long as I can, as I really did not want to face up to the issue straight away. But he called me asking for payment, so the issue was raised.

I told him I was not satisfied with the work, with the hours charged for the work, nor for the hourly charge. We agreed though that if he reissued the bill with the original quoted hourly charge (which would include GST this time) I would pay on that bill (he agreed, and remembered, that the hourly charge quoted was $60, not $65 as charged; GST was conveniently not mentioned in the phone quote).

I feel that I have still paid more than necessary for the job. But, that's cool. I will be employing a lot more electricians in the future if things go according to plan. But this sparky will have actually lost a lot of money from me in the longer term.

In the meantime, the painter who did the job for such a good price will get heaps more business.
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