The majority of contractors out there are perfectly honest and they’ll do a great job at the agreed price. But there are a small majority of contractors out there that will try to rip you off. They might decide that the price has suddenly gone up halfway through the job or the quality of work won’t be up to scratch. In some cases, they might even disappear before finishing the job and leave you living in the middle of a building site. It can cause you some serious problems because you’ll have to fight to get them to finish the work or find somebody else to do it and pay them again. If you can’t afford that, there isn’t much that you can do. It’s never a situation that you want to find yourself in but if you do, it’s important that you know how to deal with it properly.
Avoiding Dodgy Contractors
The first thing that you need to know is how to avoid these people in the first place. There is no way that you can be entirely sure whether a contractor is genuine a lot but there are some things that you should look out for when you’re hiring somebody. First off, you need to think about all of the normal things like the price, whether they have all of the correct licenses and permits that they need, and whether they’ve got a lot of experience doing this kind of work in the past. Beyond that, you need to learn how to spot the signs of a dodgy contractor that is likely to rip you off.
If they don’t want to give you too many details about their business, that’s a big red flag. The reason that they don’t want you to have any details about them is that they don’t want it to be easy for you to track them down if they run off without finishing the job properly. Anybody that doesn’t offer you a proper contract should be avoided as well. If you have to take legal action against them later on, it’ll be very difficult to do that if there isn’t a contract in place. You should only deal with a contractor that gives you quotes in writing and has a proper contract signed before they start work.
You’ve got to be careful when it comes to pricing as well. If they’re offering a deal that seems too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. They want to entice you with a low price so they can get away with poor quality work and a half-finished job. Get some quotes from a few different places and see what the average price looks like. If their price is drastically lower, you probably shouldn’t trust them. Asking for a lot of money up front for the materials is another big red flag. It’s normal for contractors to ask for a small deposit sometimes, but if they’re asking for half of the total cost of the job, that’s a worry. A successful contractor should have the money to cover those costs and if they’re asking for that much, they’re probably planning to run off with the money.
Knowing how to spot these signs is important, but some of these rogue traders are very convincing and there’s still the chance that you’ll get caught out, so here’s what you need to do if that happens.
Get Them To Fix The Problem
If a contractor gets halfway through a job and you’re not satisfied with the quality of work, you need to raise the issue with them. Tell them that it isn’t up to the level that you expected it to be and you’d like them to fix it. In some cases, they might concede that the work isn’t up to scratch and fix it, and your problem is solved. However, a lot of the time, these people will try to argue the point with you and then either tell you that the work is fine or demand more money to fix it.
If you aren’t sure, you should get a second opinion from another contractor or a building inspector and they’ll tell you whether the work is really as bad as you think. If it is, then you need to start thinking about your next steps.
Get Rid Of Them
The next thing you need to do is to get rid of the contractor before they do any more damage. Simply tell them that if they’re not willing to fix the problem then you don’t want them to do any more work and you would like a refund for the work that they’ve already done because the standard is not acceptable. Most likely, they will stop working but refuse to give you a refund. They’ll take the money and run and you’ll probably have to fight them for it.
Seek Legal Advice
If they’re not willing to give you your money back, you’re going to have to take legal action against them to force them to pay. These cases can be quite complicated so it’s best to go to a legal referral service and explain your situation to them. They’ll be able to tell you exactly who you need to speak to and what the process is going to be. You’ll have to invest a bit of money in legal fees but it’s the only way that you’re ever going to get the money back from them.
If you’re fighting a legal battle, you’re going to need evidence of the work to prove that it’s not up to scratch. If you can’t reasonably show that they haven’t done the work as advertised, you might not be able to get your money back. Before you call anybody in to start fixing the problems, you need to take plenty of photographs of the work. If possible, it’s good to supply before photos so you can show the changes and you can prove that their work has caused damage. It’s always a good idea to photograph the area before they get started, just in case.
You also need to show evidence of the financial side so if you’ve got any quotes from them you need to keep copies of those. Copies of your bank statements showing how much money you’ve paid them are also essential if you’re going to recoup everything that you’re owed. The quicker you can gather all of this evidence, the quicker you can get the legal process started.
Find Somebody To Fix The Work
At this point, you probably don’t want to hire another contractor because you’ve completely lost trust, but you need somebody to fix the work. If you don’t, you’ll be stuck living in a building site and it’s not likely that you’re going to get the original contractor back to fix it. That means you’re going to need to find a reliable contractor that can come in and help sort the damage out. The best place to start is always recommendations with friends and family. You can be sure that they’re not a rogue trader and they’ll do good quality work for a fair price. Make sure that you’ve got everything in writing and if possible, try to find somebody that is part of a trade association. It’s not likely that you’re going to get caught out by rogue traders twice in a row but it could still happen, so make sure that you’re thorough when you’re choosing a new contractor to fix the damage.
Dealing with a dodgy contractor is always tough and it’s going to be a long road, but if you follow these steps, you will get your money back eventually.