Back in February I took on a job for a guy in our local area that I thought was clear and simple. We discussed the two parts of his Retic that needed fixing and I went on to fix them.
When he hadn’t paid two weeks later I dropped in to see if there was a problem. We had an amicable conversation where he apologised and then asked me if I could ‘just fix up two more sprinklers’ for him. I did it and charged him for the parts. Sum total owing was $200.00, not a grand amount at all.
When it hadn’t been paid in two weeks I rang and he told me he wasn’t happy with the work… but he couldn’t tell me what he wasn’t happy with. He got abusive and aggressive and hung up.
After a series of emails he told me he was only willing to pay $100.00. It was a ludicrous debate over a petty amount of money, but I was well and truly pissed off by now.
I actually had a God moment where I sensed the right thing to do was to take his $100.00 and then offer to come and fix anything and everything at no cost. (something about ‘overcoming evil with good’)
After another 2 weeks there was still no $100.00 and no reply, so I took out a court order to get it sorted. In the meantime he told he had put $100 cash into my letterbox… Hmmm…
So we turned up in court to get it resolved. I figured I had emails from him and evidence that would clearly show me to be in the right. I didn’t count on him lying his way thru the whole thing.
After the preliminary hearing where the judge simply heard his defense we had to wait another 90 mins to meet with a mediator before the hearing could be set for November some time.
As the mediator explained the process and the amount of time it would require my pragmatism started to kick in. It was going to take at least 1 whole day, if not two and with him lying his way thru there were no guarantees I would win.
He offered $125.00 to settle and at first I told him to keep it, but the mediator was gently pushing and nudging me to call it quits. I began to see the futility of pressing on so through clenched teeth I said ‘ok $125.00’ and immediately felt livid inside.
He had screwed me over and he was going to get away with it. What a pathetic justice system!
She began writing up the order for $125 but as she started his face went red and he said ‘Hang on. Make it $200.00. He’s a good bloke this fella. He’s actually a good man.’
I was stunned to say the least.
I didn’t know whether to be happy or to feel patronised. He had totally confused me.
He went off to get the $$$ and returned with cash. As the mediator was photocopying the documents I asked him how his work was going. He curtly said ‘no offense but I’ve got nothing to say to you.’
I’m totally confused now…
So we stand in silence and leave in silence, me wondering all the time what on earth is going on.
As we get to our cars at the same time I notice that mine has a parking ticket… He noticed too, smiles smugly and says ‘that’d be karma mate’.
I drive off and try to forget.
So that was my day in court… Definitely not worth the effort and pretty disturbing to see that justice is not easily accessible.
What’s funny is that the other bloke has now paid $300.00 for a $200.00 job that he felt was only worth $100.00… of course that assumes that the $100.00 in the letterbox actually existed…
I’m normally very principle driven, so to give in to pragmatism was hard but it was a complete ‘no win’
Would I do it again?
Makes you realize why people ‘take matters into their own hands’
You did better than I would have. I was getting angry just reading the account.
Andrew I can see why you are confused. The guy’s behaviour was so unpredictable and difficult to understand.
I’d love to know what suddenly helped him change his mind. May his lawn grow well and cause him to do extra exercise through mowing the greens instead of surfing the sea Yeah!!!
Although not connected I find it amazing that you were able to have your day in court over a $200 debt…yet to get a tenant to catch up payments when in arrears for $2000 plus takes months of court orders and more costs and there’s no guarantee you’ll see any moula … as they say in the movies…”Them’s the breaks!”
I remember once complaining about how ripped off I was getting by a subbie, when my senior Project Manager pointed out that the legal route is mostly pointless cos you spend more than what you’ll probably get anyway, even if you win…!
The moral high ground is very expensive property, as they say.
Split personality maybe?!? What a weirdo! Ditto to Simon’s comment.
Weird outcome. Could you have applied to have your costs paid?
Oh, and the $100 was never in the letterbox.
The Czech may be in the male, but the cache is never where they say it is!