Out of Luck? Contractor Callback

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  #1  
Old 08-05-14, 05:38 AM
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Out of Luck? Contractor Callback

I live in Maine. Had a local roofing company out to repair leak around chimney to the tune of 500 bucks! Service guy assured me that the chimney was water tight after the repair. When I received invoice in mail, the small print read "we do not warrant repair work unless specifically noted".

Well, you guessed it.... I see signs of moisture leakage after the repair.

Do you think my verbal warranty means anything (Im pretty sure I know the answer to that already)?

How would you go about this situation?
 
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  #2  
Old 08-05-14, 05:40 AM
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Have you paid the invoice yet?
 
  #3  
Old 08-05-14, 05:46 AM
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A verbal contract is only as good as the person that gave it. Why were you mailed an invoice instead of receiving one when the work was completed? How long ago was the work done?
 
  #4  
Old 08-05-14, 05:55 AM
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Well, if he didn't give you a written contract or estimate to sign ahead of time and didn't tell you this, then you could just as easily win in small claims court. This doesn't look like an open and shut case to me.
 
  #5  
Old 08-05-14, 05:56 AM
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Hi mummy, your location is listed as DE but you say Maine. I'll go with the Maine location as we have some of the toughest consumer laws in the nation. And yes, a verbal agreement is enforceable in Maine. This chapter will get you started, but these are just excerpts from the law books.
http://www.maine.gov/ag/dynld/documents/clg4.pdf

If you are unable to find language to support your claim, join (small fee) Northeast Contact, a consumer protection group here in Maine, they have weekly articles in BDN. They are very familiar with Maine laws and even if this doesn't work out, becoming familiar with our implied warranties will pay off big time in the future.

Bud
 
  #6  
Old 08-05-14, 05:56 AM
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Yes, paid in full. So I am SOL?

Of course its premature talking about legal recourse.

Im curious, how would you handle this when calling them back? I have called, and they are sending someone out. When asked if this return visit was covered under the first repair I was told they would need to speak to a manager.

How should I proceed with these guys?
 
  #7  
Old 08-05-14, 07:56 AM
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Let me ask it this way....

after the repair I noticed a few tiny droplets in around the chimney chase after a moderate rain.

Prior to the repair water was streaming into the attic. It would partially fill a bucket or drop down into the living space.

There was no signs of moisture in the same buckets after the latest rain, just a few droplets up toward the chimney.

Should I wait to see if a more significant amount of water accumulates during the next rain? Or the fact that I see a small amount of droplets after a rain evidence enough that I need to spend more money on this issue?

And I guess I will leave the liability issue out there was well.... how do I proceed with these roofers?

My family is extremely stressed about this both mentally and financially.
 
  #8  
Old 08-05-14, 09:00 AM
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The plot thickens.

During their first visit, (when I was told the chimney was water tight when they left), they also gave me a proposal for a complete overhaul of the flashing system of chimney... to the tune of 2 grand!

When I called about the issue today, they later said if I were to accept the proposal that they would come out free of charge and get the chimney water tight and then schedule the complete overhaul.

I feel like that's extortion! I was told that the chimney was already water tight when they left the first time. Now it will take a second visit to actually get it water tight!! So if I want the first job down correctly (or the way I was told) then I would have to accept their larger proposal!

Does that sound screwy to you?
 
  #9  
Old 08-05-14, 09:47 AM
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Mummy, you didn't reply to my suggestion of the Maine implied warranties. If this building is in Maine, all of the concerns you are describing are covered. Keep notes and a paper trail and if you fail to get satisfaction, call the NE contact I mentioned. They can/will contact the business for you and explain the rules. NE Contact (it used to be Northeast Combat) is the oldest privately run consumer protection organization in the nation and they handle issues like this all of the time, with very good results.

Bud
 
  #10  
Old 08-05-14, 10:23 AM
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IMO you paid to have the problem fixed and they failed to fix it so they need to come back and make it right [for free] I'm a painter and if I didn't paint something right I'd expect to come back and fix it for no additional charge, I'd only charge extra if you decided to change the color or paint something not part of the original deal. Seems to me that you paid to get the leak fixed and they failed to fix it!
 
  #11  
Old 08-05-14, 12:15 PM
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I agree they should have fixed the problem when they first came out. Since they didn't do a good job the first time then they should come back for free and fix the problem. As far as state laws are concerned it really doesn't matter much which state you are in as all states have about the same laws concerning contractors and their workmanship. Granted some states handle it better than others. So if this is in Maine I would certainly use Buds advice and have someone help you as some contractors try to pull things to get more money from you.
 
  #12  
Old 08-05-14, 12:25 PM
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I don't think this is a warranty issue - at least in my mind, a warranty is something which protects you against future failures and that implies the current failure is resolved. In your case, it does not sound like the failure was ever resolved so the original work is not complete.
 
  #13  
Old 08-05-14, 01:25 PM
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The implied warranties is what I use most so that link was saved, but I can see where all may not have understood the depth to which Maine laws protect the consumers. Here is a link to several subtitles.:Office of the Maine AG: Consumer Protection: Purchasing Goods & Services
Going to the link for sales contracts in Maine one finds this:
http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/...?id=27920&an=1
"Contracts can be written, oral, or even implied."
It would take some reading to find specific language to use to approach this contractor, and I'm certain he is not familiar with Maine's laws (few are), but once properly informed he must comply of be in breach of Maine's Fair Trade Practices Laws.

For the op, everything he needs is spelled out in there or other related links. Just need to confirm this house is actually in Maine.

Hedge, as for some states handling it better than others, most states provide almost no protection. Maine has detailed language and volumes of law books dedicated to making sure what is promised is delivered.

I'll wait for his return and some indication he feels these laws will support his claim. He may not want to do the reading.

Bud
 
  #14  
Old 08-05-14, 03:03 PM
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If a roofer was called out to repair a leak and moisture is still evident, do you feel I am either 1/ entitled to a refund or 2. the company should increase the scope of the repair without additional charge?

PS- I didn't respond to the implied warranty information because I don't think that will get me anywhere... heresay what a service technician said and what is stated on their invoice are two different things.
 
  #15  
Old 08-05-14, 04:01 PM
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I'm not a lawyer, but I'm a contractor. If the guy told you (before repair) that you need additional work at additional cost to fix this properly and you refused, that could be a problem.

Normally a contract will not allow for preexisting conditions, such as rotted sheathing on roof.

I'm on your side. Hopefully the guy was honest. But to increase the scope of work at no additional charge is not fair to anyone.
 
  #16  
Old 08-05-14, 04:20 PM
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Now they are saying the only way to correct the leak is to agree to a $2000 estimate for total replacement of components...... That was not brought up to me prior to attempting a repair and collecting my initial money. They will not come out again unless I agree to the expensive repair.

Should I expect a refund for a failed attempt at repair?
 
  #17  
Old 08-05-14, 05:12 PM
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How old is the repair? Did it leak after the first rain? If the repair is temporary, then it should work for a short amount of time. Sounds like it didn't work at all.
 
  #18  
Old 08-05-14, 05:23 PM
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I'm sorry, I misspoke.... A preexisting condition can be discovered after work has started.
If it's a legit problem that needs $2k to fix, he should have made that clear to you during or after initial repair.

Something like: "Do you want me to proceed on job", "you need additional work at $2,000.00 or more to fix it correctly". Or a firm bid would be better.
That's where lawyers get involved. He may be entitled to the original fee.
 
  #19  
Old 08-06-14, 05:52 AM
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On their invoice (that a customer wouldn't get until after a repair is made and money changes hands) states that "they try to repair obvious problem first, most of the time that corrects the issue however if the issue persists, then the scope and magnitude of the repair must increase. Any additional work would be billed as time and material ."

So again my questions remain (without getting into legalities), if the first attempted failed then I did not get the service that I paid for. I feel I am entitled to a refund in that case instead of them rolling the dice a second or more times.

What do you think?

The Sh*t is about to hit the fan with these people and I sure could use some advice since I have nobody to ask besides you.
 
  #20  
Old 08-06-14, 05:56 AM
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That statement on their invoice means they are trying to cover their butt and not have to pay up or do extra work if they don't do it correctly .... it may not stand up in court. I think I'd get a different contractor out there to get his input on what needs to be done [or should have been done] to either do the job right or at least a repair that would be expected to last for awhile.
 
  #21  
Old 08-06-14, 06:10 AM
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It sounds like there's a good chance you're going to end up in small claims court with these guys.
 
  #22  
Old 08-06-14, 06:56 AM
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"MAINE
CONSUMER LAW GUIDE

A.
Contract For Services
When a contract for services is breached you should be reimbursed for your remaining rights to performance, not on the total contract price paid by the injured party. You should also be reimbursed for incurred expenses. If a garage mechanic fails to properly repair your car and you must have it towed to another garage, your damages would include the towing cost as well as the cost of the second round of repairs. But you would have to prove the faulty workmanship of the first garage and show that the costs and the second repair job were both reasonable."

From: http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/...?id=27920&an=1
@mummy "I feel I am entitled to a refund in that case instead of them rolling the dice a second or more times. What do you think?"

I don't think you are entitled to a full refund.

Bud
 
  #23  
Old 08-06-14, 11:58 AM
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do you feel I am either 1/ entitled to a refund or 2. the company should increase the scope of the repair without additional charge?
Mummy,
#2, increase work at no charge will probably or definitely not happen.

#1, a refund, will probably not happen.

If you call a Roofer and say you need your flashing fixed, and he charges $500.00, than that job is done.

Here's the hard part, please bear with me:
It comes down to what was said or promised.
In your case I would expect to hear from the contractor that repairs were made, but they cannot guarantee the work because __________________....
The because could be anything. Maybe they recommend you lift off shingles and get new sheathing, or other extensive work.
They can't be held responsible for work other than what they said they would do.

So they repaired the flashing, and charged for it. Which in my book is OK.
The problem is, upon repairing the flashing, they found other contributing factors that were not in the contract or agreed upon to repair. (assuming they're honest).

This is pretty much standard in any contracting business.
If I quote someone a price to install new kitchen cabinets and later discover their subfloor is rotted out, then something needs to be done. Either I give them another quote for floor repair or they shop around.

Good Luck, I would get other quotes and expert opinions.

Above, I said that was OK in my book. Actually I probably wouldn't have charge you, that way you keep good relations. You could then go out and find a contractor, this time knowing what your problem is.
 
  #24  
Old 08-06-14, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for your replies, Im probably out of luck I suppose. Surely I will be told to get lost.

The last post from handyone makes good sense. I should clarify though, I paid for a service call... hourly rate. It was not a contract.

I know in other trades, like plumbing or electrical, once a contractor touches some aspects of the system they are "married" to the installation regardless of stated warranties etc.

I wonder if that applies here. If a roofer touches or changes a roof structure, shingles or flashing are they now responsible for that portion of the roof?
 
  #25  
Old 08-06-14, 12:14 PM
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Generally you are responsible for the work that you do BUT so much depends on the job at hand. A bandaid can't be expected to fix a broken arm. I suspect there was either mis or missing communication between you and the contractor. Having another pro evaluate the job should inform you if you got what you paid for or if they just did a shoddy job.
 
  #26  
Old 08-06-14, 12:30 PM
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I just skimmed over this whole thread again and I'm not seeing how long ago this work was done. You seem to be avoiding some questions, so it's hard to give an exact answer without knowing all the facts. So, if it's been awhile, could be you need more than a quick repair job. Kind of like you need a new roof, but just have a coating put on instead. Just a matter of time before it begins to leak again.
This company could also be more expensive than another one, if you didn't price around.
Sounds like you may have expected the same results with a cheaper repair job or maybe they tried to save you money by doing a lesser repair first, to see if it worked.
I've always received an estimate with all work to be done and any guarantees, etc. upfront. I can't remember ever getting an invoice after the fact and after paying, without knowing what's what. If you didn't read the fine print first, that may be a problem.
Don't mean to step on any toes, but I'm not 100% we have all the facts.
 
  #27  
Old 08-06-14, 12:40 PM
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Hi Shadelaide- No toes being stepped on at all! Im not intentionally holding anything back, its just overwhelming to type everything. The work was completed less than a month ago. It took about that long to rain again.

Prior to the repair, during a torrential rain, water was streaming in, drenching wood... filled about .5 gallon of a bucket. That was viewed during the storm. The time after the repair, what I saw the next day after a moderate rain were only some droplets in the crevice where the chimney exits the decking. No wet wood nor anything in the same buckets.

So technically I don't know the true effects of the repair until I can be up there during a storm. However, any sign of moisture probably indicates it leaked thru somewhere where the buckets didn't catch it this time.

As for the fine print, there was none to read? As stated it was a service call with intention of fixing a leak... perhaps that is where I went wrong... I should have dried everything out and gotten estimates rather than a 'come tomorrow and fix it' kind of thing.
 
  #28  
Old 08-06-14, 12:52 PM
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I think Mark, in #25, addressed the issue well....
 
  #29  
Old 08-06-14, 01:35 PM
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Yes, you had a contract. Both parties knew what work was to be done (fix the leaky roof) and both parties knew the expected results (it would no longer leak).

Contracts must have these four elements:
A. An offer to perform an act;
B. An acceptance of the offer;
C. The act to be performed must be of some value (“consideration”) to both parties.
D. There must be mutual understanding by both parties as to the basic obligations of the contract.

It does not have to be a piece of paper.
Bud
 
  #30  
Old 08-07-14, 01:27 PM
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I agree with Bud9051 I believe you had a contract. However a written estimate is always better to have especially if you have never used the contractor previously before. A written estimate is better too as evidence in court if a lawsuit is ever filed as it spells out exactly what should have been done. I remember reading some very excellent advice once in a do it yourself magazine that was written by a contractor. Always get a written estimate, don't go for cheap find a mid point estimate. Check their work out and never ever get work done by door to door contractors.
 
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