Was I overcharged?

Page 2 of 2  
On 6/19/2011 3:19 PM, Anthony wrote:

Couple of things to consider: One would be the considerable amount of work cutting a 7" hole in the brick and running the ducting. I do kitchens all the time, and I've never seen a 4" duct on a range hood. Second, and not a biggy. He installed the wiring from an outlet behind the range for the hood. The outlet behind the range can be tapped from the counter outlet circuit, as per Nec, however the range hood cannot. NYC also requires someone with an electrical license to do this work.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The outlet behind the range can be tapped from the counter outlet circuit, as per Nec, however the range hood cannot. NYC also requires someone with an electrical license to do this work.
HI, could u explain in detail of your comment?...per NEC? As for the wiring, it was hard wired from an existing outlet via bx cable to my new Hood ....and he is a licensed contractor, so wouldn't that cover the electrical issue?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
.

An electrical license must be held. I know of no place where a GC (general contractor) can do electrical work, without an electrical license. Usually, a GC subcontracts electrical work out to a _licensed electrician_. When I was a GC, my insurance would not have covered any electrical work performed for electrical.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, that is absolutely true. I am not fond of electrical. I've done a small amount myself, but my skills lie in other areas, so I use the same couple or three electricians that I've been using for 25 years. In the "real" world, handymen do electrical work all of the time, and, yes, they are not supposed to do it. To hazard a conservative guess, I'd say that at least half of the handyman out there would have absolutely no qualms about adding an outlet or wiring a ceiling fan.
In the OP's situation, if the contractor had hired an electrician, how much do you think would have been tacked on to the $2000 bill? I'd guess three hundred as an absolute minimum, and an extra day (or week?) added to the schedule until the electrician finally gets around to taking care of the huge single outlet retirement project. ;)
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload


Well, that $2000 labor included the electrical connection cause i asked him to do it. He did use bx cable which i believe was the right way of doing it. A handy man might of done it too, but without a bx cable.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 6/20/2011 8:41 AM, Anthony wrote:

Like I said, it's not a big deal, but the electrical code doesn't allow tapping that outlet to feed a range hood
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RBM wrote:
...

Yeah, and that's one of those places where assuming the circuit isn't otherwise overloaded and the fan isn't a 3hp industrial unit NEC seems perhaps overly conservative in existing work in a cost/benefit ratio. A typical home range hood isn't much different than the mixer motor/light that would be plugged into the outlet, anyway.
New work, sure. Old work that doesn't require a much effort to run, ok. Old work that's more typical I agree w/ the "it's not a big deal" assessment (w/ the previous caveats).
But, of course, it isn't in Code so I didn't say any of the above... :)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes, and if it isn't code, it isn't done in what courts call a "workmanlike matter" and leaves the contractor vulnerable to Anthony hiring someone else to make it code and the courts making him the original contractor pay for it. Could even cost him his license to do tile work if exceeded the bounds of his license.
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Green wrote:
...

OK, so now we got the usenet lawyers going... :)
Assuming for a moment the OP might even halfway consider such an action, assuming the facts are indeed as presented and there's not some unknown relief owing to particular circumstances, the original contractor always has the option to make "corrective relief". I don't believe the OP has unlimited right to expect restitution for a 3rd party unless he's had no satisfaction from the first dude first...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Let me be clear, I am not a lawyer and I am not offering legal advice. (-: I'm just describing what I've seen in the many years I've worked with lawyers in a support capacity in addition to my own personal experience with lawsuits of this nature.

Where did you ever get that idea? You must be a contractor! (-: There are plenty of situations where that's just not true.

You believe wrong. If the first contractor did the job in an "unworkman-like" manner (and that can be proved to the judge), the courts will almost never force the plaintiff to reuse that original contractor to correct the work because he's demonstrated his incompetence. A report from a NYC housing inspector regarding the outlet and licensing issue would be all it took to end that contractor's right to any "corrective relief." The OP could come by that with a phone call and perhaps a copying fee.
Think about it. Would YOU want an obvious incompetent back to finish or rework the job? I know this surprises and disturbs many contractors when they learn that in some situations, they will be both unable to correct their mistakes and in fact have to pay for whatever they did that another contractor will have to undo or repair. Seen it a dozen times or more. I'll look up the cites if you insist, but it's pretty standard stuff that is really common sense.
In this case, if the contractor needed an electrical license to perform the work but did it without one, it's game over, dude and a lawsuit could be the least of his professional problems. If all the tile needs to be pulled and redone to bring it up to code, who do you think *should* pay for it? The homeowner or the guy who made the mistake in the first place? If you do work you're not competent to perform, no court will order a homeowner to "give him another chance."
If the wiring problem is indeed not up to code, and the contractor had no license or right to be doing electrical work, he does NOT get a second bite of the apple. Plain and simple. He has already demonstrated his incompetence and disregard for the law. Courts also realize that once a contractor is sued, the relationship between the two has soured pretty seriously. I *know* guys in the trade just HATE to hear this, but that's how things work. Why is this so? Because there are plenty of fly-by-nighters who think they are more competent than they actually are.
For some reason I assume you're a licensed sparky, DPB. Even if you're not, let's assume you are. Is it fair that some guy who bypasses what you had to go through to get your license is taking work away from you illegally? The courts don't think it's fair because they are part of the system that licenses professionals in the first place. It's likely that the lack of license alone will sink the contractor's case.
The time, as you suggest, to try again to make it right is BEFORE you're dragged into court. Failure to settle with the plaintiff before you reach court indicates that the two parties cannot get along. Judges know better than to expect two people who now probably hate each other and couldn't settle this between themselves outside of court to work it out because a judge ordered it so.
What happens then? The contractor, if found liable, pays to make it right with the plaintiff being able to hire a licensed contractor of his choice to rip out and redo the work (at reasonable rates, of course). Lots of contractors don't know how frequently they expose themselves to this sort of situation.
The contractor in this case appears to owe the return of monies paid for work not performed. Very simple. People can imagine all sorts of set-offs like travel time, extra work performed not specified, etc. but the written contract always controls. Some people may think because he paid the bill the OP has no options. That's not true, either. It could be easily argued that puts him in a better place because he did not resort to legal self-help. It's always better to pay in full and sue than to hold back money and be sued. The former indicates that money is not the object, but the quality of the work is.
Believing in the right to "correct relief" is about as common as the guy who hits your car and then expects you to go to his brother's "Body Shop and Tattoo Parlor" to fix it. No court will ever demand an accident victim use the defendant's family or friends to do the work "on the cheap." It just doesn't work that way.
It's why properly written contracts and job change orders are so important. Yet amazingly they are so overlooked - until a lawsuit where everyone learns what they *should* have done. Do a poor enough job and you not only don't get paid, you may get to contribute more than the job was worth to set things right.
God help the contractor who has NO contract and is subect to "quantum meruit" where the judge gets to decide what is a fair amount. Lots of judges have no contracting experience to speak of, and having them "write" the contract ex post facto is never good for the contractor. Not only does the contractor appear like an idiot for not having a contract in the first place, the contractor has to prove every cent and second he spent on the job and will not get paid for anything he can't prove. That's almost always a loss for the contractor, whom the judge is probably eager to teach a lesson by lowballing him.
http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected 92
quantum meruit defined:
<< (kwahn-tuhm mare-ooh-it) n. Latin for "as much as he deserved," the actual value of services performed. Quantum meruit determines the amount to be paid for services when no contract exists or when there is doubt as to the amount due for the work performed but done under circumstances when payment could be expected. This may include a physician's emergency aid, legal work when there was no contract, or evaluating the amount due when outside forces cause a job to be terminated unexpectedly. If a person sues for payment for services in such circumstances the judge or jury will calculate the amount due based on time and usual rate of pay or the customary charge, based on quantum meruit by implying a contract existed.>>
With all of this said, there are plenty of homeowners and contractors who can get by on a handshake because of years of good experience. When dealing with someone you don't know, not having a contract is just plain dumb.
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Anthony wrote:
...

Was going to add above that while I don't think the hourly rate is terribly out of line for NYC, that's on basis of small jobs that are more costly to the workman than are larger projects; I'd expect the hourly rate to be significantly lower for a job that was a month, say.
I'd presume this actually was done as a fixed price bid and as such would not be terribly surprised he didn't drop the bill for a small task, particularly because he probably ran into at least some complication elsewhere during the job; nothing goes entirely as planned in old work.
Also, I'd expect the effort he planned for the original hole _probably_ wasn't as big an effort as you may think; typically homeowners/diy'ers way overestimate the actual work in making structural changes. For example, they'll go to all kinds of extremes to avoid cutting a hole in sheetrock when it wouldn't take a tenth of the total time to simply make the hole and repair the wall/ceiling the way a pro would approach it. Similarly, the concept/effort of knocking a hole thru a brick wall probably wasn't any different to this guy than would have been to just cut a hole through a frame siding. A hammer and chisel and a few blows and you gots a hole... :)
--




Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ive seen many run 6" ducts to a reducer and a 4" vent cap. Broan 88000 calls for 6" round or 3X10 rectangular Most of their other products DO call for 7" or 3 1/2X10. The Nutone RL6200 series only calls for a 5". So there ARE options for situations where a 7" or 3 /2X10 are not possible.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Jun 20, 2:26pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

If you were a salesman your family would be starving. It's okay to hope for something, but you _have_ to ask for it if it's not offered and you're entitled. It works that way everywhere. Airlines, hotels, everywhere. You have to have the information and ask for a specific thing.
This is a really obnoxious question, but hey, it's Usenet - how old are you? I'm not trying to be insulting, but I'm getting the notion that you haven't taken too many laps around the race course yet. Is this your first home? Like I said, obnoxious question, but stick around and grow some skin and the people here will keep you FOREwarned so these situations don't crop up again.

The hole isn't the issue - almost never is. It's what's around the hole that makes it or breaks it. We don't know if the OP even _owns_ the place. It might be a condo or coop, it might be on the first floor or the fifteenth. It's NYC and we know nothing.
In a best case scenario cutting the hole would take about 25% of the time for the entire task (other parts being setup, cleanup, etc. Worst case scenario cutting the hole might be <1% of the job (scaffolding , sidewalk permit, etc. - NYC, can't always just throw a ladder up).

I've seen messed up installations, too.

And...we know nothing about the OP's particular situation and job constraints. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.
R
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
news:35e7d35b-8280-4ca5-9f10-><stuff snipped> <<I am merely asking as a uneducated consumer in this field. I am not trying to squeeze him. Its done and over,but i was considering him for another job i need to be done and just wanted to know if those were typical rates. The overcharge statement was only related to the part of not doing that hole he said he would do into my cabinets, and then to the outside wall, which was never done. The $2000 charge included that part of the work and obviously, the more intense work, that was why he was charging me that amount. I merely thought that he would have said " i know i was suppose to do this hole bit and included in the price...but not being able to do so, i would lower my fee.">>
And he was probably surprised you took his first offer. The bottom line here is simple contract law. You had a contract to perform certain work, part of which was not performed. When you have no contract the theory of "quantum meruit" might apply,
http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected 92
But you *have* a contract (I assume) and if you sued, a judge would be likely to rebate the portion of your payment that could be attributed to the work not performed. The problem is, suing is very likely to be a wash. What you gained would be eaten up in costs. I'd just approach him and say just what I've said. You agreed to pay for something that wasn't done. That means a refund of some sort is in order. If it were to go to court, you'd probably have to get a separate quote just for the work that wasn't performed so the judge would have some idea what the unperformed work is worth.
I think you made an error by not bargaining right from square one - saying $2000 is more than I expected (or was much higher than my other two quotes - which you should have gotten) and offering something lower. Carleton Sheets, the real estate mogul said his fortune was based on offering outrageously low prices on houses that buyers, to his surpise, ended up taking. He said other potential buyers were worried about how the seller would perceive them if they lowballed an offer so they didn't and just moved on.
Contractors often aim quite high and are surprised there's no haggling. I once quote an hourly rate to a law firm that I thought was outrageously high. A junior associate told me "they were willing to pay twice that!" So I never again lowballed my own worth and regularly lowballed everyone else's. It's just the capitalistic way. By cheap, sell dear. Once you've established you're too polite to haggle, don't expect your contractor to offer a rebate without you asking for one. In legal terms, you're entitled to money back, as I understand your contract, because you paid for work not performed.
At this stage I would simply say, listen, I paid what you asked but you didn't do what you promised you would. I would appreciate an adjustment in the final price, especially since I've discovered the electrical hookup may be illegal and may have to be redone by an electrician to meet code requirements, a situation that could affect his license if it is indeed against code to pull a wire from an outlet box to the hood.
FWIW, recirculating fans are not worth much compared to an outside exhaust, at least IMHO, a conclusion you could come to on your own quite soon.
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If he didn't do something that was included in the original quote, you shouldn't pay him for that. You should have negotiated how much the left out part was worth, and deducted it. A hole in brick on the first floor over a driveway is a bit, a hole in brick on the third floor over a sidewalk is a much bigger bit. His idea of what it's worth will vary from yours, and you try to meet somewhere in the middle so both people are right at the mildly happy/unhappy line.
When you say done and over it is still not clear whether you already paid him. If so, then that was your mistake - not what the guy originally quoted you...but that was also a mistake in that you thought it was high and let it slide. The time to negotiate a change in price is always as soon as possible. The time to question a If you leave it to the end, he's already mentally spending the money and it'll be harder. If there are costs or savings that are not yet determined
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

contactor is not a licenced electrician. Some licenced renovators MAY be cross-discipline licenced - for example being a plumber/gasfitter/electrician - but VERY few.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

In some places A/C contractors are allowed to do limited electrical work, but cross-disciplined contractors are rare as you point out.
-- Bobby G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.