an electrician no-show?

chery2September 5, 2002

In June, the long-awaited electrician finally showed up. We're remodeling, and his jobs included installing recessed lighting, activating attic fans, re-wiring an outbuilding, and putting a kitchen light over the sink. He did not finish the jobs, so we haven't paid him the $800 agreed upon. We also blow a fuse everytime we use the bathroom fan, a problem we never had before he worked on the wiring. Not only have we called him, but so have the contractor and the floor man. He's never showed up, and I can't finish the remodel w/o him. Floor man called again yesterday and left message; the call was not returned. The contractor has spoken with the electrician, who says things like, "I'll get out there the first of the week. I've got a lot of money tied up over there!"

I'm not sure where I stand with him. Can I not hire another electrician to finish the work and repair the mistakes? The floor guy asked him to call us and said we were waiting for him to complete the wiring before the remodel can continue. Still nothing. What message can I leave that will get him over here? chery-va

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suzieque

Of course you can get someone else over to do the job he didn't (and what he did do, he botched). I have absolutely no patience with contractors who don't show up and don't call. You do not have to be under this person's control, which is exactly what's happening.

Did you sign a contract with him? If so, check to make sure it doesn't give him an "out", meaning that there's no time limit on his work, or something similar.

You can send him a letter, by certified mail or whatever it is that gives you notification that he got it, telling him that, if he does not show up and finish the job and rectify the problems he caused by a certain date (and I'd make it no more than a week out) you have ALREADY arranged for someone else to arrive that day. Make sure you say in it that you will not pay him.

Or, the letter could simply state the dissolution of the relationship, ending it right there. You don't even have to give him a warning; sounds like he's had many and is just playing you because he knows you're putting up with it. (again, check the contract).

Don't let a contractor rule your life. You should be in control; you're the "employer". Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2002 at 8:39AM
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ranchhand

I have a friend who is a general contractor, and he goes through this all the time with sub-contractors. Here is his standard form:

Send him certified mail, return receipt. Inform:
* He is in default of contract due to non-completion of contracted labor;
* His absence and breach of contract is preventing completion of the job for other contractors;
* He must be on the jobsite by _____________, and finish in
timely and professional manner, or his contract is null and void, you shall contract a different professional to finish his work and make any corrections he deems necessary, you will pay the new contractor whatever he charges, and any balance of money (if any) will be remitted to the contractor in default.

I am assuming that you have a professional, detailed contract with this guy. If it goes to small claims court, you probably will win. Most of the time judges favor the primary dwelling homeowner, and you will have documentation proving your statements.

Be sure to have your local community electrical inspector check this guy's work, to make sure he doesn't do a slipshod job and to "keep him honest"!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2002 at 9:57AM
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dreamgarden

"Be sure to have your local community electrical inspector check this guy's work, to make sure he doesn't do a slipshod job and to "keep him honest"!"

That is what we did when we needed our basement waterproofed. We weren't sure who to hire so we visited the bldg and water dept and asked them. The water dept gave us a name and the bldg dept printed up a list of the people who's work they have previously inspected (and passed). The same guy popped up twice.

The waterproofer did a great job. Showed up when he said he would and cleaned everything up when he was done. The inspector came out to look at the job while he was working. Besides the obvious (ok'ing the work) we think he wanted to be sure his referral was doing what he was supposed to.

We have to have electrical and plumbing done and will go the same route again. Beats hiring out of the phone book.

Mike Holmes of Holmes on Homes/HGTV has a new magazine. Lots of good tips on how to hire contractors, etc. He has a specific publication that outlines how to interview, what to put in the contract, etc.

Very useful.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 4:39PM
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