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Question DetailsAsked on 5/25/2011

How can I prove a contractor interntionally underbid project to make it up on extras?

Some in the industry will admit that this is not he exception but the rule. It happened, and is still happening to me. The most unfortunate part of it all is, I cant't even go in to Angie's list or the Contractor's State License Board and do something about it by naming these guys as we're in negotiation with them just to make them go away, lest my $450,000 job turn into a million. Or they sue me/lean my house, etc.

These guys came in with a reasonable bid and good references. Then hit me with a series of "change orders" the first for $35,000 for work not authorized, work already in plans, and all extremely overpriced. Then came the charges for items "excluded" from the contract...one option and the threat of work stoppage if I didn't pay it. All these activities came with work stoppages to force us to pay. And this was just the beginning of the nightmare.

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4 Answers

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Oh, my. I don't think it gets any worse than what you are describing; you can't even "name names" while you are involved in the "negotiations". I have been very lucky when it comes to contractors and have never had something like this happen. We had a room added to our house by an A rated AL contractor and they did a fantastic job: even though they came across several unexpected problems, which had to have eaten into their profits, the contract was honored without issue. Note: this was before I became an Angie's List employee! [:D]

My mother, on the other hand, who is dealing with contractors in South Florida (Angie's List has only recently arrived to the area), sees this sort of thing all the time. The problems have only gotten worse since last year's hurricanes came through and there doesn't seem to be any solution.

Most people don't know how to fight this sort of scam and I'm very interested in hearing from others about creative ways of solving this type of problem. In the meantime, keep us posted on the progress you are making.

Answered 7 years ago by MichaelL

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Thanks Michael, We've done two projects before and have never encountered anything like this. So far we've hired several independant experts to categorize, document and do a financial accounting with photos of all the mistakes (I didn't even mention this part...they've made a total mess of my house and tried to pass it off as able to pass inspection). We also have email documentation of all their shenanigans and we're having an inspector from the city out to document (can't argue with those guys). But I, too would love to hear any other ideas people have to deal with this sort of thing, AND get my house built without any more delay. We do have someone reputable who's taken over.

Answered 7 years ago by kidwest

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Do a Google for an Attorney who is top dog in this area. <Quenda Behler Story> She posts monthly articles in the JLC ( Journal of Light Construction )

Answered 7 years ago by aceinspector

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Got one...thanks. It looks as if we have so many breaches of contract and instances of fraud that these guys are going down. They're still threatening us with leins, etc. but I'm pretty sure he doesn't want the documents I have to see the light of a jury....and if he does, it would almost be a welcome, vindicating experience!

Answered 7 years ago by kidwest




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