So my day job is general building even though my official trade is carpentry and joinery.
So I was doing some oak window repairs and she asks me if I would do six tiles for her in her bathroom. I do the tiles for her no problem but then two days later when I go back to fit some handles and doors she does what I can only describe as loses her mind. She started screaming at me because of the tiles was not flush with the others. I put a straight edge over it and I could not even slide a piece of paper behind it the gap is tiny.
Not saying I wouldn’t redo the tiles and get them absolutely perfect because it’s only six tiles but my goodness lads in all my years nobody has ever spoken to me so abusively. She then proceeded to rampage around her own property throwing things so I got the heck out of there and now they want me to go back and “Finish my shoddy work”.
What would you do in this situation?
Max, I’ve worked in electronic repair (now IT hardware support) for 25 years. Some people are just abusive. I don’t know what labour laws are like where you are, but where I live verbal abuse is considered workplace violence and you do not have to put up with it. You are a service provider, not a slave, and have no need to cater to someone’s antisocial tendencies.
It sound to me like you did a superb job on the tiles. I’m not sure how you could make it better.
It’s just a disheartening situation to be in because during her rampage she tried to move a door that I was trimming and dropped it and has now implied in writing that it is my responsibility to rectify the damages…
I do believe I simply start my next job and perhaps say I’m not returning for personal safety.
what I’d do in this situation is go back smile, repair the tiles to her satisfaction and then get the hell out of dodge, people like her are think nothing of bad mouthing you to whoever they can and as we all know mud sticks, don’t give her the satisfaction of ruining a good tradesman reputation just because she doesn’t know how to speak civilly to people, (or phone her and tell her to #### off) you decide lol
I mean no disrespect to you Max but I long ago learned not to make a judgement nor take action upon hearing just one side of an argument/dispute and in case of marital/partner issues, Run with a capital R.
However, there are one or two things you write that causes me some concern and immediately I would a) ask you one or two questions for clarification purposes and b) instantly advise caution on your way forward and what you say to your client or ex-client perhaps.
The first thing is that in law, whether it be verbally or written, you have contracted to complete certain works for Mrs.X and to an acceptable standard.
You say she has written to ask you to return and remedy some defects in workmanship. Now that signals an alarm to me and it should to you. I’ve no doubt she has kept a copy of that letter which may well end up in the hands of her solicitor. By law she has to ask you to return and correct any defects before taking any further steps she maybe contemplating.
Bearing the above in mind Max I would ask you the following;
Q1. First you say “One tile” but you then go on to say” Not saying I wouldn’t redo the tiles because it’s only six tiles”. The question is, was it only one tile or did you make a bit of a pig’s ear of the tiling?
Q2. Did she itemise the so-called “shoddy work”? If so what was it she found shoddy?
Q3. You say you were trimming a door and that she tried to move it but dropped it. Did she actually lift the or tried to lift the door?
Q4. What exactly were you doing with regard to ‘trimming’ the door and what tool/s were you using at the time?
Q5. Was the door in a door stand?
Q6. What type of floor was it, solid, timber, carpeted?
Q7. What is the damage she is referring to?
Q8. What type of door was it?
Not returning and citing personal safety as a reason is a big no no. As I said previously, you are contracted by law to complete your works, whether it be by you or A.N. Other and you pay the costs. Running away solves nothing. In fact you should have manned up to her at the time and told her in no uncertain terms not to speak to you as you say she did and to calm down and discuss things in a mature, adult fashion. You could have easily switched your mobile phone on to Record and told her that you had done so and in all probability it might have calmed her down. Which leads me onto ask. How did you leave that day. Did you say to her that you would be back next day or did you just slip out of the door?
Whatever has happened has happened and now the thing is to list the different possible scenarios that might ensue.
She has done what she has to do by law and that’s to write to you asking you remedy your works, whatever they maybe.
If you don’t then I’m second guessing that you will receive another letter within the next few days giving you probably 7 days to complete those works or a) she will employ a Building Surveyor to formulate a list of defects and report on the standard of workmanship. The costs of which will be billed to you. Guessing at a minimum of £300 for that.
Then she will probably invite estimates from other builders/joiners who will quite naturally charge top rates for rectifying someone else’s work. That too she will charge against you and if she is holding any monies against you she is legally entitled to pay the new joiner those monies and charge you should there be any deficit. Don’t even let it get to that stage
In my opinion Max you would do well to bite the bullet and complete the job satisfactorily. I’d take a pre-written note with you saying something like “I Gladys Pugh sign to say I am happy with all works carried out by Max Wheeler on this date XX/XX/XX” Not that I think she’ll sign it but you never know. Then forget all about her, put it down to experience and move on with your life.
Difficult situation Max and very oppressive work conditions. Some people are just plain nasty and feel that because they paid for a service it entitles them to act however they please. NO one is entitled to be a crappy human being and if you feel it’s abusive it is period.
In my humble opinion take the high road, don’t let this get you down. Call them and advise them that you would like to sort it out and make them happy (sounds like they need it) but you will not tolerate their behavior. I think based on their response you’ll know what the right thing to do is.
As a lesson learned if you have an invoice, work order or contract add language to the effect that under no circumstances will this be tolerated. Additionally you might add very brief requirements and any specifications appropriate to the job ( tolerances, materials etc). It can help protect you in the future from legal disputes.
Take this with a grain of salt I’m not a barrister or soliciter and I don’t play one on tv.
Cheers Mate and enjoy yourself over the holidays.
Max, This is a funny story ,the exact same thing happened to me about ten years ago. I watch this person go completely out of their mind over two tiles. I realized very quick that I was dealing with someone who was not quite all there. So I packed up my tools bid them a happy and prosperous life and moved on down the road. Press hard, three copies, the bottom one is your’s……… Next..
I think the term ‘Personality Disorder’ applies to that person and therefore tread carefully.
Scott has it quite right – the Formal request is a give away — Trouble with a capital T.
Problem is in those situations another person’s unreasonableness strikes a spark to our ego — “How dare she talk to me like that etc” ends up with two hotheads or a badly thought out decision.
Tradesmen are at the mercy of social media and ‘Rate your …..” sites and a Personality Disorder can be like a dog with a bone in it’s mouth when it comes to following up on the trouble they have caused, they have to you see, since they have to justify their initial (loopy) behaviour.
Swallow the Ego(Pride) and do the fix then warn tradesmen about Her – get a bit of satisfaction from imagining someone saying “Sorry luv, can’t do it, I’ve heard about you!!”
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