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So a customer, after she allready writes me a check for $922.00, decides she doesn't like my plumbing. I installed a tub and a shower pan for her. The tub I installed ended up being perfectly square but had a 1/2 gap between the tub and floor because of course the floor had settled (typical install). I deposited the check and later find out the bank had recalled it a day later costing me hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees. Can anybody tell me how to collect my money from this lady without going postal.

  1. “If I had my life to live over again, I’d be a plumber.”
    - Albert Einstein
 

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stuff like this really bothers me. i have been stiffed before too. learned my lesson on how to avoid it a lot better. quote! no confusion. i guess education does cost money.
pcplumber has a great article on his site about this and other things. check it out you wont be disappointed.
 

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38-1-3Those entitled to lien -- What may be attached.
Contractors, subcontractors, and all persons performing any services or furnishing or renting any materials or equipment used in the construction, alteration, or improvement of any building or structure or improvement to any premises in any manner and licensed architects and engineers and artisans who have furnished designs, plats, plans, maps, specifications, drawings, estimates of cost, surveys or superintendence, or who have rendered other like professional service, or bestowed labor, shall have a lien upon the property upon or concerning which they have rendered service, performed labor, or furnished or rented materials or equipment for the value of the service rendered, labor performed, or materials or equipment furnished or rented by each respectively, whether at the instance of the owner or of any other person acting by his authority as agent, contractor, or otherwise except as the lien is barred under Section 38-11-107 of the Residence Lien Restriction and Lien Recovery Fund Act. This lien shall attach only to such interest as the owner may have in the property.

Here is the entire section:

http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE38/38_01.htm

Good luck-Mark
 

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if she signed off on it, (she did, right? Work orders authorization, etc?), wrote check, and then canceled it, it is fraud. There's a huge question in the eyes of the law that she may have planned to stiff you.

It is fraud.
 
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I'm with Plumber on this one. You should try again to make a peaceful solution with her. Maybe even offer to bring in a third party that can explain to her the reason for the gap under the tub. But if she continues to be rebellious (for lack of a better term), inform her that she did indeed authorize and PAY you for the work. Tell her that by cancelling the check she is committing fraud and that you will file suit and/or a lien on her property.

Plumbcrazy is correct about the legal costs part of course. But I think you have a pretty solid case here (its pretty hard to dispute the basic rules of geometry and trigonometry). And as part of your suit, I would seek recovery of your legal costs as well!

To me though, the real bottom line is not allowing her to get away with it. If in the end you do lose, maybe at least the hassle will teach her that what she did was wrong and she'll be hesitant to want to go through that again with another contractor.

I think the general public's perception of contractors is that we're all a bunch of shoddy crooks who do as little as possible for as much as possible. And unfortunately that perception seems to gain sympathy from the courts. But its time to turn that perception around. Court cases set precedence for future cases. And although yours is not exactly unique, an entry in the win column for you is an entry in the win column for all of us.

Good luck to you!
 

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Here is how we handle collecting money, or not.

I added a section telling in Part II of the manual telling whether or not we go to court and how we talk to the customer when they don't want to pay. I also added some information about why contracts are your first line of defense, and I made a link where you can download a copy of our entire 8-page contract and modify it for your business. Oooops! The I have to get the link. Wait a minute. Here it is.

Go to Part II for collecting money
http://bestlineplumbing.com/BusinessManual.htm

Copy of California contract we use
http://bestlineplumbing.com/ContractMSWordCopy.htm

You are welcome to improve upon, question, and have a nice argument about what I write. I don't get offended. The only thing I ask is that members do not write insults regarding my integrity, honesty, and ethics. Although, I will answer any questions that are asked, respectfully.
 

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So a customer, after she allready writes me a check for $922.00, decides she doesn't like my plumbing. I installed a tub and a shower pan for her. The tub I installed ended up being perfectly square but had a 1/2 gap between the tub and floor because of course the floor had settled (typical install). I deposited the check and later find out the bank had recalled it a day later costing me hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees. Can anybody tell me how to collect my money from this lady without going postal.

  1. “If I had my life to live over again, I’d be a plumber.”
    - Albert Einstein

I sympathize with you about the money. I hope you get it.

BUT, Why not scribe the level tub off the unlevel floor? Then take 2 minutes with an angle grinder. Viola! No gap. I wouldn't be a happy HO if there was a 1/2" gap on one side of the apron.
 
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CrockettePlumber, sorry to hear about your situation. Your post really makes me open my eyes to the possibility of getting "JIPPED". I have been lucky in the past since I haven't been stiffed yet, but now I realize I do the risks quite often since most of my contracts are negotiated by word of mouth only. I think I will be more careful in the future.

Again, I really hope this all works out for you...

J
 

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Why can't you fix the problem?

Is the tile (or whatever) already installed?

Actually, I have been thinking about this crooked tub all day and I probably would not pay you if the tub was crooked, for any reason. Before a plumber installs a tub we have to check the integrity of the wood, floor joists, and walls because we have to consider the weight the tub will support when it is full of water and someone is in the tub, even if there was a previous tub. We will not set a tub on a particle wood floor that will dissolve when it gets wet. When we find rotted wood floor, or walls, we always get lumber and repair the damaged wood, or have the customer hire a contractor for repairs. I think if you go to court and the customer shows pictures of the tub you will probably lose.

I'm not going to lie. I installed tubs that were not so perfect and ate the installation cost at least two times. Sometimes, we rush and it happens. Some contractors are more meticulous and better at perfection. I have a difficult time reading a level. Every time I look at the level from different directions I see something different.

If the tub was crooked and the tile was installed, I put an equal portion of the blame on the tile or marble contractor. My tile and marble contractors spend no less than 10 minutes checking whether or not the tub and walls are level, flat, and square. When they find something wrong they always stop work until we make corrections, and we do make errors.

The thing that is more important than collecting your money is to make the customer happy, first. It is unfortunate this happened, but it
 

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Part of being an exceptional contractor is having a "satisfaction guaranteed" policy.
If I get a complaint, I usually try to remedy the situation, make the customer happy and collect. But it depends on the situation. I had one irate customer that was such a pain in the neck and complained about something he didn't understand. He wouldn't let me try to correct anything either, so I told him not to pay me if he isn't happy and I cut him loose as I didn't want him as a customer anyway. It sucks to lose the money, but it was a relief to be rid of this customer as he liked to complain about everything, and was extremely difficult to collect from.:censored:
A $900 job is a lot to swallow though (for me). I would do my best to fix the problem and get paid if possible.
 

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uh, right to all the above. I assumed that the problem was unfixable, but now I see that the issue wasn't addressed by the OP. Communication with the customer is paramount every step of the job.

pcplumber...they don't make levels level anymore. What you have to do is this: raise whichever end of the level itself is wrong to the correct height, make sure the customer (or lead) sees it, and call it good.
 

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How are you guys installing your tubs? We could have a gap anywhere from 3/4" to 2" and the mud/Durarock/tile would cover it. Very often we have to shim the tub so it is raised on one part or another. Are you putting tubs on top of finished floors?

How would you scribe the tub? I'm trying to figure out how you would get the line to cut on the tub.
 

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what kind of tub are we taliking here? Whirlpool, Fiberglass, steel, cast iron? The only tubs I have had an issue with on the floor are fiberglass tub and showers. But that is do to them pulling them off of the mold while the glass is still hot, then they bow and warp a little.
 

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I have a question for all the drain cleaners. When you go rod out a sewer line do you have the ho sign anything that states that since you are working blind and have no idea what you are getting into you do not accept any responsibility for any damages that might happen while rodding the line? For example if your snaking out an orangeburg line and your cutter grabs a piece of the orangeburg and rips a big hole in the pipe. How do you talk your way out of that one?? I know it is easy for us to understand how that happens but how do you explain it to a ho that you have no way of knowing that was going to happen.
 

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Al' sewer that one is a lot easier than the tub issue. I draw a diagram for the h/o and explain to them why they need to replace the line. I love orangeburg because it is money in the bank:thumbup: As for the tub issue I cannot tell you how many times I took customers to court and won and still never got paid. Definitely try to reason with the customer first
 

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If the customer isn't happy you don't get paid, it's just that simple. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my work. The customer must be 100% satisfied before I leave their home, with a signature of course.:thumbup:
I have never gone to court or not gotten paid for a job in over 20 years, I think I have only had two bounced checks in all that time and that was a mistake, got paid.:thumbsup:
Honestly if you left a gap like that on my tub and called it done I wouldn't pay you either. Please don't take that the wrong way, I just wouldn't.
 

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This is a shout-out, or calling to all the plumbers on here and abroad, but I don't put my customers on a pedestal and worship them.

Yes, the dollar is driven by their likeability of you and what not, but I'm not going to go overboard to earn their business. I represent myself as one of the better plumbers in my area and I'd like to say I didn't pay for that representation by being gullable or overly optimistic to please, entertain like a show bunny.

There's a line of division I follow that being stern, "here it is take it or leave it" attitude truly has its place, seriously.


Guy called today, wanted someone to come out and give him an estimate or quote for a battery backup sump pump installation. I didn't even say no; I asked if he found us on the internet, then told him to go to my website and look up picture album 1 and view battery back up installations. There's enough pictures there for him to understand I know what I'm doing, and that me showing up at no charge waving my hands telling him the same thing I did over the phone is a smart one.

I never once indicated I cared one way or another if I did his job...just thanked him for considering us and let us know in advance *1-3 days* if he decides to use our services.

He didn't get what he wanted, which was a live person in front of him, "earning his business". If that is what he wants as part of the hunger of a service provider...I'm already well fed because the next one is calling and wanting me there, doing the work.

I wish I could sell my phone skills with customers; I could make money and give some plumbers a backbone in this business. That worry and concern of "am I good enough?" isn't a plausible way of doing business...and you're opening up the gate to send yourself to the firing line of allowing someone to take advantage of you.

So when I see/hear/read threads that the customer bulldozed over a contractor....I myself cannot speak from this same experience. I'm a hard nut to crack and I've seen so many angles pointed at me that it's very hard for me to follow the path and trust.

In my area I know for a fact that I'm respected on the lines of you can't get one past me. Very honest, your plumbing problem will be accurately diagnosed and this is what it is going to cost.

If you're wanting discount dave at your house with all his monthly specials, I'll stay home and work on my personal wealth without you in the equation. I'll get there with or without you...and they need to know that.

I type exactly how I feel and run my business, rarely do I not. So if my customers ever find these words written I don't have a problem with it; I'll say it in person if they confirmation of the obvious. Might sound bull-headed...but you can really get railroaded in the business of plumbing given your talents and expertise, and the value that poses.

If I was a real nice guy....this phone would be littered with "Can you do this for me" and "You are the greatest plumber and we all love you, can you come up here, and how much is that going to cost" attitude trying to get me to flinch on the kind tour which is why they are doing it....so you don't hit them with the full charge.
 
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