Late Payment to builder for incomplete work

From: Manny B


was after a quick suggestion on the following:

I built 2 unit 1.5 years ago & the builder didn't complete everything that was in the contract & on the final payment I simply deducted $1,000 & told him he will get it if/when he comes to finish up these small outstanding jobs. Today I received a letter in the mail stating that I pay within 7 days OR legal action will be taken & interest for the last 18months will be charged at 18%.

What you do you suggest I do?

By the way, I intend to call him tomorrow to tell him to either come & finish the job otherwise I would not give him the $cash$...

Thanx in advance...

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Reply: 1
From: Thorpey !

Hi Many,
You must put your concerns in writing to the builder stating that they must finish the job to contract specs. and that you will be making a claim through Dept. Fair Trading (DFT) if your requests are not met.
Then if no action has come from the builder, you go to DFT with your claim. They will take it from there.
Usually this is enough to motivate the builder into doing their duty as the DFT is their licensing body and any adverse records affect their business.

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Reply: 1.1
From: Splinter Wood

Hi Manny,

Firstly, he can usually only charge you interest FROM the letter of demand. I gather this is the first one you have received ?

Second, if he has not delivered, then if it's all true, you have a good case. As Thorp said, send HIM a letter stating very clearly the outstanding issues and quoting the original agreement and give HIM 7 days to complete OR forfeit the $1000. Then spend the $1000 on a builder who will do the job. He probably will drop it then and you can go on with your respective lives !

You may want to run it by a lawyer but that will cost you probably in the short term.

It will be a major hassle for him to chase you through the courts over $1000 but he could have a lawyer who has convinced him to do this (fees fees fees). defending yourself is a P.I.T.A. !!

He must have his side of the story too remember so would also be a good idea to have them respond with their reasons before you send that next letter. *Information is King * You may have overlooked something ??

Good Luck.
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