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Our house flooded in November. We chose not to use the insurance's recommended contractor since, based on his assessment and how he thought he would fix issues in the kitchen, he had no idea what he was doing. (I have a working knowledge of construction and carpentry having worked with my father framing and doing finish work). We hired someone we somewhat knew (through church) and had a good reputation with others.
Fast forward--work finished in March. Huge mistake--I paid the bill in full with his full assurances that he would come back and fix the complete hack job on the granite countertop. He never did, so I hired someone to do it and figured I would just file against him in small claims court. (I have many emails and texts, as well as calls and witnesses, saying he will take care of it).
Fast forward again--at the end of June water starts pouring out of the same kitchen cabinet where there were issues in November. I called the plumber, whom I trust very, very much. He said that the plumbing under the sink is a MESS. The refuse pipe was put in crooked, so nothing aligns and it needs to be torn out (it popped apart--thus the new link), including the base of the cabinet and the ceiling in the basement. The cabinet has cracked. The contractor also installed push on valves instead of sweating on the shut off valves, and they are not even put on correctly. While this was all happening, I texted him and sent him an email with a deadline to respond, and he has never acknowledged anything.
I don't really want him in my house ever again. He is obviously not skilled enough for the job. How would you proceed?

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Just because this whole thread is all about fake "contractors" doing horrible work, I feel like someone has to stand up ... (more)

meade18 (Aug. 03, 2017 @ 9:25a) |

if he's not licensed, he's not a contractor. he's a handyman. They're great. I have a good one too. He's starting his ow... (more)

imbatman (Aug. 03, 2017 @ 10:06a) |

Indiana definitely needs to thank God.

thank (Aug. 03, 2017 @ 11:00a) |

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Small claims court for faulty job or write it off as a learning experience.

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if he's a for real contractor, he has insurance to cover this kind of thing.
check with your state licensing board to make sure he's a licensed contractor, if so this will be relatively painless.
if he's not licensed, then file a complaint to the state that he's marketing himself as a contractor. Also take him to small claims.

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Your thread title already hinted this was about problems but your aside "through church" hit a warning flag for me too. In my experience, it's very much like money issues with family. There are sadly many who will exploit the relationship, partly because there are many who are excessively trusting of people with such a connection.

As soon as money becomes involved, you really should treat the other party as you would any stranger. If they take offense to that, you've advanced to another warning flag for me.

There's certainly nothing wrong with church folk, but be wary if you think that connection was part of the rationalization of paying for unfinished work.

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The original recommended contractor who "had no idea what he was doing" isn't looking so bad now, is he?

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I would just ask him via email, text, etc. Do you really want to go to court over this and tell him in no uncertain terms that you will if he does not reimburse you the cost of fixing his mistakes. I'm dealing with a nightmare contractor too, but I'm holding his other 50% back which he ultimately may only receive a fraction of because of his careless sub contractors and blatant lies. Next time make sure you hold all the cards because suing after the fact is much more work.

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Why do you have to replace granite counter tops for a plumbing flood?

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stanolshefski said:   Why do you have to replace granite counter tops for a plumbing flood?
  Why not?

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Your first mistake is going to church.

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forbin4040 said:   
stanolshefski said:   Why do you have to replace granite counter tops for a plumbing flood?
  Why not?

  because the plumbing is underneath the counter top ?

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stanolshefski said:   Why do you have to replace granite counter tops for a plumbing flood?
  OP never said anything about replacing granite for a plumbing flood.

he said the granite was a hack job. he had someone come and fix it because it was poorly installed.

2 months later there was a plumbing flood.

 

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computerquest said:   We hired someone we somewhat knew (through church) and had a good reputation with others.
 

  After this is resolved one way or another, make sure the church/community know about your experience about this "contractor" with "good reputation".
Be factual and dont commit slander.

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imbatman said:   
stanolshefski said:   Why do you have to replace granite counter tops for a plumbing flood?
  OP never said anything about replacing granite for a plumbing flood.

he said the granite was a hack job. he had someone come and fix it because it was poorly installed.

2 months later there was a plumbing flood.

 

  You read that backwards.

He had a flood, which damaged things including the cabinets.
While fixing the cabinets, he put in a granite countertop.
2 months later water started to leak out of the cabinet due to poor workmanship.
 

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forbin4040 said:   imbatman said:   
stanolshefski said:   Why do you have to replace granite counter tops for a plumbing flood?
  OP never said anything about replacing granite for a plumbing flood.

he said the granite was a hack job. he had someone come and fix it because it was poorly installed.

2 months later there was a plumbing flood.

 

  You read that backwards.

He had a flood, which damaged things including the cabinets.
While fixing the cabinets, he put in a granite countertop.
2 months later water started to leak out of the cabinet due to poor workmanship.
 


Right. Too many floods in this post.

If I was redoing my kitchen with insurance money, I'd put in granite if I didn't already have it.

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computerquest said:   I paid the bill in full
  
These stories all have one common element: payment is made for materials not yet received or work not yet performed. If people would stop getting duped into doing this, 90% of the problem would go away.

No matter what some home worker tells you, they will do the work or accept progress payments.

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Penny wise and pound foolish.

This is why I never do business with friends... because I am going to get what I paid for... the easy way or the hard way.

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relig said:   Your first mistake is going to church.
  
You created an alternate ID just to post this?

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relig said:   Your first mistake is going to church.
  The funny part is that every screwed up kitchen I have seen that involved a rip-off contractor somehow involved church.

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ksea said:   The original recommended contractor who "had no idea what he was doing" isn't looking so bad now, is he?
He's not, primarily because the insurance would have forced him to correct the problems that would have happened if he had followed through with his plan. Now it's my problem.  

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Crazytree said:   
This is why I never do business with friends... because I am going to get what I paid for... the easy way or the hard way.

  there's a reason for arms length transaction, to avoid getting screwed

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rufflesinc said:   
forbin4040 said:   
stanolshefski said:   Why do you have to replace granite counter tops for a plumbing flood?
  Why not?

  because the plumbing is underneath the counter top ?

The sink base cabinet had to be replaced due to the flood. In order to get the cabinet out, they removed the granite and then the cabinet before the floors were replaced. Because of the length of the countertop, there is a seam about 1.5 feet away from the sink, which the contractor cut open again in order to avoid taking out even more granite in an L shape instead of a straight run.
When the whole thing was put back together they did a hack job with the seam--chipping the granite and leaving a 1/2 inch wide seam with mismatched epoxy that was not level from one piece of granite to the next. The contractor agreed that it was not satisfactory.

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Crazytree said:   
relig said:   Your first mistake is going to church.
  The funny part is that every screwed up kitchen I have seen that involved a rip-off contractor somehow involved church.

  We had always had a rule to never do business with someone from church so that we wouldn't go to church wanting to punch someone. We broke the rule, because we really needed someone we could trust to do the job (in the midst of all of this we were going through a medical crisis that required extensive hospitalization).

I have learned the lesson and will never do business with someone from church again. That statement makes me so sad, because in all reality I feel like those people should be the ones we should be able to count on. Ultimately I should have gone with the preferred contractor and made it their problem. I hope that is a lesson to someone else in the future...

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imbatman said:   if he's a for real contractor, he has insurance to cover this kind of thing.
check with your state licensing board to make sure he's a licensed contractor, if so this will be relatively painless.
if he's not licensed, then file a complaint to the state that he's marketing himself as a contractor. Also take him to small claims.

Contractors in IN are not licensed. I already tried that. If I can't collect from his professional liability insurance, we will go to small claims.
 

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computerquest said:   
rufflesinc said:   
forbin4040 said:   
stanolshefski said:   Why do you have to replace granite counter tops for a plumbing flood?
  Why not?

  because the plumbing is underneath the counter top ?

The sink base cabinet had to be replaced due to the flood. In order to get the cabinet out, they removed the granite and then the cabinet before the floors were replaced. Because of the length of the countertop, there is a seam about 1.5 feet away from the sink, which the contractor cut open again in order to avoid taking out even more granite in an L shape instead of a straight run.
When the whole thing was put back together they did a hack job with the seam--chipping the granite and leaving a 1/2 inch wide seam with mismatched epoxy that was not level from one piece of granite to the next. The contractor agreed that it was not satisfactory.

i had granite installed on existing cabinets to save money by not putting in new cabinets  . I asked the installer about putting in new cabinets in the future and reusing the granite. He said pretty impossible due to taking apart the granite. 

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Just to clarify. The problem wasn't church. The problem was you doing business poorly. You paid him up front, you didn't get proof of liability insurance, you tried to do it cheap to save some of the insurance money (you don't say this, but I bet it's a fair bet). Learn the correct lessons -- don't blame God.

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ryoung81 said:   Just to clarify. The problem wasn't church. The problem was you doing business poorly. You paid him up front, you didn't get proof of liability insurance, you tried to do it cheap to save some of the insurance money (you don't say this, but I bet it's a fair bet). Learn the correct lessons -- don't blame God.
  Church is a valid reason.

Because they would see this person every Sunday (Assuming a sunday religion) and a 'bad' job will cause extreme awkwardness every time they encounter each other.
It's almost the same as 'use a friend' because if a friend screws up the job and won't fix, that makes it awkward with your group of friends.

I would ask for advice from a close set of people, but actually make them do work?  That's difficult.

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ryoung81 said:   Just to clarify. The problem wasn't church. The problem was you doing business poorly. You paid him up front, you didn't get proof of liability insurance, you tried to do it cheap to save some of the insurance money (you don't say this, but I bet it's a fair bet). Learn the correct lessons -- don't blame God.
I never said the problem is with church or God. The problem is with people. If I say I am going to do something, I do it. Unfortunately, not everyone has that same ethical foundation.
Your bet is wrong--this is not a job that I tried to save any money on--I paid everything the insurance paid and then some (for upgrades to flooring, for example). I just wanted someone I felt I could trust to do a good job and be in my home while I dealt with the crap the rest of life piled on us. If I had tried to save money, I would have done 80% of the work myself (not the kitchen cabinet and counter because it needed to match the other cabinets and the counter is too fragile, not the mud and tape because I hate to do that)
I paid him because we had one easily fixed problem to be addressed, and I trusted him on his word. That was a huge mistake, and I should not have done that. It was only later that his substandard work started to cause issues (like the new leak). There was no way to know that, for example, the corner molding he replaced would fall off my cabinets and break until it actually happened.
Since my insurance requires all contractors to be insured and bonded, I thought my insurance collected copies of that information (I was dealing with the medical crisis at the same time). They did not, so now I will hunt down copies (since the contractor pulled permits, city hall should have copies).
 

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computerquest said:   
imbatman said:   if he's a for real contractor, he has insurance to cover this kind of thing.
check with your state licensing board to make sure he's a licensed contractor, if so this will be relatively painless.
if he's not licensed, then file a complaint to the state that he's marketing himself as a contractor. Also take him to small claims.

Contractors in IN are not licensed. I already tried that. If I can't collect from his professional liability insurance, we will go to small claims.

  https://generalcontractorlicenseguide.com/indiana-contractors-license/ 
" Indiana contractor license is not at the state level. Rather, they are required to register or obtain a license by the various municipal governments throughout the state. However, there are requirements by state law for registering the name of a general contracting business as an LLC, limited partnership, or corporation before obtaining an Indiana contractor license. "
it does look like licensing is a home rule issue in IN for most stuff. So the rules would depend on which city you're in. Just because the state doesn't license them does NOT mean they are not licensed. I'd still check your city/county licensing office.

However:
http://www.in.gov/core/bg_licenses.html"II-B-3. CONTRACTOR SERVICESThe term "contractor" can be very confusing, as it is used in many business settings. As mentioned earlier, an independent contractor can be anyone in business for him or herself who is offering services to others on non-employee basis.The title of "contractor" is most commonly used to refer to those involved in construction or renovation of structures. It may be used to refer to general contractors, HVAC contractors, electrical contractors, or plumbing contractors. The only construction contractors licensed by the State of Indiana are plumbers." If he was doing plumbing, and he said he was a contractor, he had to be licensed by the state. If he was doing plumbing, calls himself a contractor and is not licensed with the state, he should be reported to the state licensing board.

 

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computerquest said:   imbatman said:   if he's a for real contractor, he has insurance to cover this kind of thing.
check with your state licensing board to make sure he's a licensed contractor, if so this will be relatively painless.
if he's not licensed, then file a complaint to the state that he's marketing himself as a contractor. Also take him to small claims.

Contractors in IN are not licensed. I already tried that. If I can't collect from his professional liability insurance, we will go to small claims.
 



IN....as in Indiana? Because that's not accurate at all.

They should be licensed in whatever municipality they operate in.

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Most likely OP hired a 'Handyman' not a 'Contractor'. That's why no license.

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forbin4040 said:   Most likely OP hired a 'Handyman' not a 'Contractor'. That's why no license.
  Definitely possible/probably. But if he's called himself a contractor in business dealings, he's subject to fines for practicing without a license.

I always check licensing boards before I let anyone do work at my house so I know who I'm working with

 

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imbatman said:   
forbin4040 said:   Most likely OP hired a 'Handyman' not a 'Contractor'. That's why no license.
  Definitely possible/probably. But if he's called himself a contractor in business dealings, he's subject to fines for practicing without a license.

I always check licensing boards before I let anyone do work at my house so I know who I'm working with

 

  This will be my first stop in the morning--city hall to get copies of the permits and his license. I will also report him to the state for plumbing without a license (especially since this is my biggest problem right now).

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rascott said:   computerquest said:   imbatman said:   if he's a for real contractor, he has insurance to cover this kind of thing.
check with your state licensing board to make sure he's a licensed contractor, if so this will be relatively painless.
if he's not licensed, then file a complaint to the state that he's marketing himself as a contractor. Also take him to small claims.

Contractors in IN are not licensed. I already tried that. If I can't collect from his professional liability insurance, we will go to small claims.
 



IN....as in Indiana? Because that's not accurate at all.

They should be licensed in whatever municipality they operate in.


These bible belt states will never learn.

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bibbel said:   These bible belt states will never learn.
 

  New alt-id for that?

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These bible belt states will never learn.

I am from Massachusetts. That is about as far from the Bible belt physically and spiritually that one can get.

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It sucks this happened to you, I'm sorry.

But I like the occasional reminder about how to work with contractors.  It's a bit more work to do the extra steps, but this can really cut down on the hassle and problems.

Here is the "before any work starts" check-off list I have:

  • Written contract with completion date.
  • Get payment schedule in writing.
  • Written warranty
  • Let them know my promise of recommendations from me X times, and where (yelp, Angies List, etc).
  • Pay for materials myself or get lien releases from all deliveries.
  • Get copy of Insurance Cert.
  • Fill out State Worker's Comp form (independent / no employee relationship form).
  • See current and prior jobs.
  • Pull criminal history
  • Pull liens and court cases from County website.

Depending on what state you are in, not all of these will apply.

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computerquest said:   These bible belt states will never learn.

I am from Massachusetts. That is about as far from the Bible belt physicallyand spiritually that one can get.  
 




then why did you say'
Contractors in IN are not licensed. I already tried that.

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computerquest said:   I have learned the lesson and will never do business with someone from church again. That statement makes me so sad, because in all reality I feel like those people should be the ones we should be able to count on. Ultimately I should have gone with the preferred contractor and made it their problem. I hope that is a lesson to someone else in the future...The mistake is assuming (or "feeling") that only honest and good people go to church. Or that only honest and good people go to YOUR church. Or that honest and good people can't be pastafarians.

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Even if he does have insurance you may need to file against him in civil suit to trigger the insurance. (or small claims)

Skipping 15 Messages...
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Crazytree said:   Thank God Indiana doesn't have the pesky government sticking their nose where it doesn't belong and trying to stop criminal "contractors." And I use the term contractors lightly.

Indiana definitely needs to thank God.

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