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Jason
Jason, Electrician
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 4284
Experience:  I do all of the remodeling projects on my own home. Experienced in all facets of Home Improvement.
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A friend offered to do work in our yard. He is a lic/insured

Customer Question

A friend offered to do work in our yard. He is a lic/insured contractor. We did not ask for him to do this - he approached us about taking extra fill that he had from a house that he is building. He would bring it to our house to fill in our yard that
had a slope. At first, he said there would be no cost to us and he would have the guys that worked for him do it. As it went on, we had to prepare by buying materials and additional labor which we gladly did because it would have cost us a lot more if we hired
other people to do this. He told my husband (who knows nothing about this stuff) to rent a large piece of equipment and the "friend" would come to operate it as he knows how to to this. The equipment he wanted was too large to fit through our yard and my husband
got the next best thing. Long story short, he never should have operated the equipment because in the process he destroyed our 6 month old driveway that was just put in from scratch. 2/3 of the driveway has damage from the bucket teeth of the front loader.
He offered to patch it with stuff from home depot which would not restore it to the original condition. He said he would be back the following morning to finish putting back out gate that he took apart and called to say we needed to find someone else making
additional cost to us. I think after seeing the damage he didn't want to get involved. As a contractor in a similar situation, would you offer to pay for these damages? We are not professionals and never would have known the risks involved. The machine was
not meant to be operated on the driveway - it was meant to be used on the grass. If he does this for a living, he should have known. I don't want to ask him to pay if it isn't the right thing to do. If I were him, I would feel responsible.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
This is a touchy situation, unfortunately.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
However, I agree with you, that your friend is at fault.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
He should feel responsible, because he is.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
If the friendship is important to you, I'd ask him to come over and discuss the situation, and try to find a mutually agreeable solution.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. I also asked an attorney, but I wanted to see how a contractor would handle the situation.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
I don't think you would be out of line to ask him to work with you to make it right. If he is a good friend, he'll feel a responsibility to make restorations. He may be embarrassed about the whole thing, which is why he didn't want to come back for the gate.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well, clearly the friendship isn't very important to him when he told us he would fix the gate and panels to our fence that he took off the very next morning. My husband even asked him to confirm if he was going to do it otherwise he would call someone else. He said he would and called us the next morning to say he was "busy in meetings all day" (on a Sunday). Leaving us to now have to find someone and have a fence wide open. When have dogs and a small child. We were clear that we couldn't live without the fence.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Needless to say, we ended up seeing him like 2 hours later that same morning at an event for our kids. Those "meetings" must have finished up quickly. I think he wanted to sound like a big shot that he could help us out blah blah blah and really just screwed everything up. I'm pretty sure he's sorry he ever got involved.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Wouldn't be mad at all if he would have just realized that he caused major damage and we shouldn't have to eat the cost of refinishing our driveway.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
That's unfortunate. But based on your description, he is clearly at fault for the damages. You could try to find a way to "meet in the middle" on the expenses involved. But I think a new driveway is going to be pretty costly. I would not want a 6 month old driveway repaired. I would want it to look like a 6 month old driveway.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
I was thinking the same thing before your last post... that he's sorry he got involved.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay, I'm glad you agree with me. I feel like I was made out to be a bitchy wife when I put a stop to the idea of patching. Plus, if you screw one thing up, I don't need you further screwing anything else up.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
I don't think you are in the wrong here. In fact, TECHNICALLY, you shouldn't have had to spend a dime, based on his initial offer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The messed up part about the whole thing is that he brought it up. But, in the same breath, he was trying to cut corners because he would have had to pay to dumb the fill somewhere anyway from what I understand, no?
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
He may have. Most guys that do excavation on a regular basis have a place for fill that they don't have to pay for.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He is a relatively new friend and when he offered this, we were having a small gathering at our house. Another couple that was there is a good friend of his with a great job and I think he's a bit "keep up with the Jones'" kind of guy. I think he wanted to sound important and like he could do this without a problem. We casually mentioned that we looked into it and they wanted a lot for the fill - he verbatim said "I have a lot of fill. I can drop it off and my guys will do it. All you have to do is buy them lunch."
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
You aren't in Northern Indiana, are you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Then as the days went on, he was hard to get in touch with (very important guy). And needed us to rent a machine and get extra guys. He had no shovels, no wheel barrels, nothing - we needed it all. How the heck would we be able to get this stuff? He does this, doesn't he have all of this? It ended up costing us like $1300 and now we have to repair the driveway.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No, we are in CT. But, this guy sounds like a real gem doesn't he?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We are good people. Too trusting. My husband is a nice guy and he made us out to sound like we did something wrong.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
I understand. It's really too bad when things turn out this way, particularly considering the good intentions that started the whole thing. I know someone in Northern Indiana who may offer to do something similar. But his projects don't usually turn out this way.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I know. I feel bad, but it honestly seemed like he didn't exactly know what he was doing. He was on the machine with his ear buds in on his phone which is strange to me.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
Other than the driveway and the fence/gate, is everything else okay?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well, he pulled up a bunch of Belgian block and damaged brick on our walkway, lol. It's a real mess!
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
I would find someone who can repair everything, properly. Get an estimate, and then ask this "friend" over and show him the estimate.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks, that's what we intend to do. We are having the guy who did the driveway back tomorrow and we'll have the mason that did the brick work over too. The brick work mind you is on 2 years old at best. We've been renovating a house for the past 5 years.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
You can even go the extra mile, and get 3 estimates, and give him the option of helping to pay for the lowest bidder. It doesn't sound like either party wants this to end up in litigation.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No, that is not what we want. Although, I spoke with an attorney and he is pretty much responsible so he should just suck it up and do the right thing upfront really.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
I agree. Maybe you could tell him you are going to get estimates for repairs, and you wonder what he is willing to do to help with the costs.
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
Is there anything else I can do for you at this time?
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.
If not, please consider rating my service before logging off. Considering the time that has elapsed since your last post, I will be signing off for the night. Thank you for the opportunity to help.