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Question DetailsAsked on 8/28/2016

Moved to a house in need of flooring. Purchased it, delays getting it, moved in. Installer snuck photos to show s

Installer and daughter took sneak pictures of inside of house to show store number of boxes the first day, now want huge tip ! -- and I think because of what they did they should get nothing! Salesman has already bugged me several times to commit to a tip figure, which I won't do. I still owe balance of order I was to pay this week, and he wants me to add several hundred dollars to this guy and his daughter who worked 2 days and will do one more this week. They worked 2 days and will work tomorrow. Another guy came for a day, too. Isn't the photographer- installer unprofessional and out of line? Flooring order is $8,888 in a manufactured home in Zephyrhills, Florida. Of course, no one wants repercussions at their home by an angry sleazeball or his daughter ! Store salesman called to say he would have to adjust the remaining invoice to add money for the creep and daughter -- I said I wouldn't pay it. Fast advice please? Anyone? Will keep close eye on guy and daughter tomorrow.

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Afraid I am sort of confused here - first a "tip" is just that - a voluntary tip, and he cannot arbitrarily add a "tip" to your contract amount - that is out and out fraud.

I am real unclear on what effect the photos have - if you mean photos of the number of boxes of flooring, why should that matter ? If the store sold you the flooring, or they are installing it, certainly they either know or need to know the number of boxes of flooring in the home to be sure there is enough. Though no they should not have sneaked in - could have just asked for a count. But yes - certainly out of line to take photos in your home without permission, though had it been done at the time of the initial bid measurements would not be considered inordinate or out of line - it is normal procedure to take photos (usually on cell phone) of the job to be done, especially if a salesman or estimator is doing the measurement and bid prep but other workers are doing the pulling together tools and materials for the job and actually doing the work.

Certainly do not pay final amount due till the job is done to your satisfaction - then pay the contract amount, plus if you want to, any tip amount you want noted separately as a tip - including zero it sounds like to me in this case. Note it is NOT normal to tip construction crews, so you should not feel obligated - it is something some people do and others not, but not the norm in my experience - more common to provide maybe some coffee/soft drinks and cookies or donuts or such.

If they ask about the tip before finishing work tomorrow, tell them that any tip amount will be decided after the job and cleanup are done, not before. If they complain loudly or obnoxiously or aggressively about no tip when the job is done - then tell them to get out and if they do not do so immediately tell them they are now trespassing and call the police to have them thrown out or arrested as your desire.

And I would be sure the payment is made out to and goes directly to the store you have the contract with, not to the installers, because the installer may not be an employee of theirs - especially since you say there were several installers on different days. Could be these are day laborers the store "hired" and the "tip" is under the table and actually all they are getting for their work, especially if illegal immigrants. $50-100/day would not be an unusual off-the-books payment for an illegal immigrant - I have heard of cases where $4-5/hr is readily accepted by illegals. In which potential case of course pay close attention to the work quality - they may or may not know what they are doing.

One potential issue I see maybe arising - especially if these are off-the-books day workers - is whether your contract (I hope it is in writing) states $8888 for INSTALLED flooring, or just $8888 for flooring - the store might have tricked you with a contract that is for purchase of the flooring only, and the "tip" (at or below minimum hourly wage) is the installer's "pay" - don't let yourself get into a situation where you are "paying" illegally to workers. Brings in all sorts of potential immigration penalties, requirements to provide worker's comp and maybe health coverage, withholding and also employer payments for social security, medicare, state disability and state unemployment insurance, maybe state worker's comp fund, income tax withholding, etc employee withholding and employer payments. Make sure any "tip" is clearly marked and receipted for as such on the invoice - then it becomes the store's problem to distribute it and to propearly report the tip income, do withholding, etc with THEM as the employer, not you.

I would also be absolutely certain to get a signed Lien Release from this store before handing over the final payment, to protect you against them trying to file a lien after your payment. And be certain to get a PAID IN FULL statement or invoice as you hand the check over - exchanging the PAID invoice and lien release for the final payment - and the way this sounds, I would be certain you get the lien release and paid invoice IN HAND before or simultaneous with handing over the payment - left hand and right hand transfer - so he cannot refuse to give you paid invoice or lien release once your payment is in hand. Actually, if you are able to pay with credit card you have a stronger position in the event of any problem. [In some cases the lien release is on the back of the final statement or invoice - but be sure it is fully filled out and signed and dated by the store.

Oh - and I would not final pay until you are not only happy with the final product - but also only after they have removed all debris and such from the old flooring from your property, and any repairs to anything they damage (wall dings or such) are completed before final payment too.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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