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Are all tradesmen complete rogues ? August 12, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish.

Everybody loves tradesmen right ?  From time to time, we all have need of your friendly neighbourhood carpenter, plumber or painter … but hands up who thinks they’re all complete rogues ? Or maybe it’s just the ones I’ve encountered.  Its a strange situation here in little old Celtic Tiger, rip-off Ireland.

Now before I rant, let me say this : all the jobs I’ve had done have been finished to an excellent standard and I’m happy with them.  But all the quotes I’ve been given have been way off the mark money-wise (sometimes even double) and all the tradesmen have at one point or another, been late, not turned up or changed their appointments.  The excuses have been nothing short of brilliant.  “My car won’t start”, “I lost your number”, “My dog was sick”, “My wife’s just had a baby” … Why one wonders ?  Is there a generic tradespeople’s disease that says “Sure what are they going to do if I throw a few bucks more onto the bill ?”

Take for example, my last encounter with a tradesman.  A carpenter, who I got from the Yellow Pages, who fitted a dishwasher for us.

The carpenter came, sucked his teeth a bit, looked at the sink (which had to be moved), hummed and hawed and said “That’ll be €360 all-in and it’ll take me a day – I’ll do it Saturday.” Happy days.  Saturday comes and we obligingly move out for the day and lo and behold come the evening, we have a brand new dishwasher sitting happily under the counter and a new half press where the gap was.  Excellent.  Tuesday evening, we get a knock on the door and it’s the carpenter looking for “his few bob”.  “Eh it came ta €640 in total” says he, not seeming to notice my chin hitting the floor. “But that’s nearly double the quote!!” says I “and I bought the dishwasher and the new counter top !” “Ah yeah” says he with a sheepish grin “I had to get a plumber to plumb it in and he was here the whole day doing it and the quote I gave you didn’t include that !”

Lovely ! What can you do … So am I to believe that it took a plumber 8 hours to plumb in a dishwasher and that he then billed the carpenter for it and not me ? This one is yet to be settled …

PS : The cynic in me wonders is it a coincidence that the bill went up in price the very week the carpenter was going to Portugal on holiday ? It was the last thing he actually said to us before he sloped off down the drive …

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1. GH - August 14, 2006

Your not the only one getting this sort of treatment! My brother-in-law was left waiting 10 weeks for a carpenter to fit his stairs. Numerous missed appointments, heaps of lousy excuses and to top it all off he came looking for money (week before his hols!) with nothing done!! Can you belive the balls of the guy! Needless to say my in-law let him have it. The carpenter still demanded half of his quote to “pay his fellas” to do some work. To finish the story, the carpenter did get the job done but only because my in-law was so fed up at this stage he threatned to cancel his “verbal” contract and get lost, but my god, a classic rogue if ever there was one.

2. cp1302ger - August 14, 2006

in an update – my carpenter has produced a bill from the plumber for €250 – i say again, €250 to plumb in a dishwasher ?

3. laura - August 14, 2006

uh, why would you ask a carpenter to plumb a dishwasher? i think you only have yourself to blame for that rip off!

4. cp1302ger - August 15, 2006

laura – theres messin in you ! i didnt ask the carpenter to plumb in the dw – he got a plumber to do it and then plumber charged him – but in the end of the day you are right – its my own fault for not telling them all to FO – but then i wouldnt have a dishwasher !

5. Seamus - August 15, 2006

“But then i wouldn’t have a dishwashe!”

But don’t you have a wife?




6. cp1302ger - August 16, 2006

shes 7 months up the duff man ! i got in trouble for getting the dishwasher in the first place – the insinuation was that i didnt want to wash up … how could they think that ??

7. steve guerin - August 25, 2006

Are the general public stone deaf or what? How many times have people been told to get a detailed writen estimate for any type of work being undertaken? If you are happy with the written quote then get the work done AND ONLY PAY FOR THE WORK ON THE QUOTE.(unless extras were verbally agreed)If the extras required are to go on for more than the allotted original time then get the extras required in writing as well! As in all things in life unfortunatly you have to beware with everyone you are dealing with and err on the side of caution. If anyone is ever looking for a tradesmen why not try my website http://www.tradesmenireland.com use it and let me know how you got on. Thanks.

8. Jane - July 26, 2007

my husband is a painter and runs a painting business… he turns up on time, quotes accurately, is never rude, late, messy etc.. his staff are excellent and he frequently does extra work such as cleaning up the floor, tiding up dishes (yes… so many times he’s been asked to paint a kitchen and the lazy house owner hasn’t even put the dirty dishes away!).. he does far more than he should. He gets rave reviews from his customers but pretty much 1 in every 4 customers he as either a) refuses to pay on time b) argues with the original quote c) trys to get him to do extras for free d) wastes his time making him drive out over and over again to collect cheques only to find they are not there. The excuses we get from customers who refuse to pay range from not answering the phone when he rings, saying they were too busy, somebody died in the family (ie distant relation), they forget etc etc.. at present we have one builder who forgot to pay him for work in february and we had to threaten with small claims court to get him to pay, one woman who is arguing with the original quote (after the work as been done mind you!) even though she saw it and approved it, and two small shops arguing over who is reponsible to pay the painter between them! I help my husband run the business but we are by no means a large business and we have two small children to raise as well as 2 staff his has to pay! it makes me so made when I hear people complain about lazy tradesmen etc.. they are not all like that but here in Ireland customers seem to want the world on a plate, pay nothing for it and oh… perhaps they might pay.. if they feel so inclined.. on and it will be when they feel like it and not before! meanwhile we have bills to pay and food to buy! we are the ones getting ripped off not the customers!!!!

9. Rambling Man - July 26, 2007

thanks for that jane – we all have bills to pay by the way … and i take your point that your husband is a hard working reputable tradesman … but take the painter i rang to complete a job for me about a year ago – i couldnt get one for love nor money so i rang a number on this guys van as he drove past …
he said he’d call out no bother – when i called him an hour after the appointment to see where he was the answer was “i’m not taking shit from the likes of you !” – and he hadn’t even bothered to ring …

of course the tradesmen are not all bad – don’t go all defensive ! its just more often than not the ones i’ve dealt with have never, ever, ever turned up on time … the work has been mostly great but the time keeping appalling.

perhaps if you’re experiencing customers who don’t pay on time, a nice solicitors letter would hurry them on – we irish tend to put up with too much on both sides. that or the people you are working for are arseholes

10. pj - May 30, 2008

Its not all trades men that are overcharging and ripping people off …ITS JUST THE IRISH ONES….Ive just built a house aswell as working daily with many different trades in the u.k u.s and unfortunatley ireland and the irish are the most obnoxious . unapproachable, overcharging , wasters i have ever come across and as for the work ….ITS CRAP … if you want something call a ploish guy or someone foreign they are punctual and respectful and are happy to make a wage. recently got quoted 7300 euro from an irish guy to do a deck… got it done by a russian guy for 4300 euro ..excellent craftsman beautiful work..mabey we can start swaping our trades men for the foreign guys….lets see how the all fare out now that the boom is over .. only the good ones will survive

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