I’m still trying to get my head round what happened yesterday. Here’s the situation. In September we were recommeded a drainage company and was initially impressed by the speed of thier response to our enquiries and the delivery of thier quote, and we were able to negotiate what we considered to be a good price. It was all in wiriting. Later we negotiated some further work to the garden, putting in steps, laying slabs etc. This was agreed at an additional price (not written) and there in lay the issue. Through a series of delays on thier part the work did not begin till 8th November with the promise of ‘throwing 4 men at it and it will be over in a week’. On the 8th one man turned up – and he is still here and at the rate he is going (he’s quick but still one man doing the work of four) he will be here for at least another 2 weeks.
Yesterday the guy we had done the deal with came and swore blind he had not quoted to carry out the work on the garden area – only to lay the slabs. I was gobsmacked but was incerdibly grateful for my previous experence of working with delinquent liars and managing difficult staff. I asked why his staff had started the work if it was never intended – he said Andrew had instructed him. There then followed a verbal tennis match about who said what, what was understood and more to the point what was misunderstood. He asked questions like ‘Surely you could not have thought that all this work could have come so cheaply’ to which I replied ‘I am not in drainage or in groundswork I have no idea what the work is supposed to cost – that is your area of expertise’. He suggested the work we were asking for would cost another £1,500 . I suggested that his staff put back everything he had spent the last 3 days digging out exactly as he found it, every rock, every pebble, every shrub, every bulb. It was time for hin to look gobsmacked.
I then acknowledge that there had indeed been some major misunderstanding – I totally refrained from pointing out that he had underquoted for a piece of work and was now trying to wriggle out of it – and asked him to think of a solution that would leave the space maintenance free (which is what we wanted). I was not overly impressed with his idea of decking and shrubs.
No coincedence methinks that this issue has come come quickly on the back of a dispute with the main builder about the what was quoted for – he tried to wriggle out of paying for plaster work which was included in the price of a partition wall. The upside to this is that we’ve found another plasterer not connected to these guys in any way – just as good at one third of the price.