Contractor Problem - Possibly getting burnt?

1 Reply

Hello BP!   I’m having an issue with a contractor and getting signs I may be getting burnt.  I will outline the situation below and please let me know your thoughts!!

- Rehabbed 4 houses in the last 2 months.  I engaged a licensed HVAC contractor to do my central air systems

- I’ve been burnt in the past, so my code going forward, is to buy materials myself, and pay the labor upon completions or milestones

- The issue with HVAC is suppliers will only sell to licensed contractors, not homeowners.  So I can’t buy materials upfront.  

- So against my will, I wire this contractor for 4 projects upfront for materials

- Somehow, he follows though on all 4 projects and completes them and I pay the labor upon completion.  Perfect, I trust this guy

- Job #5 is an HVAC repair from a job where I was previously burnt and the install was very poor

- I have my HVAC guy go look and give me an estimate.  He says $3000 (which includes permit).  I counter and said I can put it out to bid and get $2000.  He says he’ll do the best he can and sends me a request to get materials and permit for $2000 which I pay in full (dumb mistake #1)

- A week goes by, he does some repair, and says he tried, but needs another $750 to complete.  I trust this guy so what could go wrong?  I wire the $750 (mistake #2)

- Now is where he starts getting flakey.  He schedules for that wed/thurs and cancels out of the blue.  Literally text that says “Cancel today”.  Uhhhhh

- I follow up.  He says next wed/thurs should be good.  Ok so I sit patiently and wait

- Next wed rolls around.  I send a text - “what time tomorrow”.  His response: “will have to do repair on my schedule sorry”

- I start losing my mind.  I’m paid in FULL.  He starts balking on the agreement, saying he can try to fix the unit, but probably can’t and now mentioning replacing the whole thing

- Also drops that he will not be pulling a permit until he’s satisfied with his work, which is a 180 from the original agreement we had.  Permit is supposed to be pulled already.

- How do I deal with this guy to get him to do what we agreed to.  Or did I just get burnt for $2750???

What was the scope of work? What was $2000 worth of material you paid for? That should be spelled out before money changing hands.

It doesn't sound like he is a typical fly by night grab the money and go type, as he has done 4 projects with you. Personally I would set up an on site meeting and discuss exactly where you are now and where he intends to go with the job.