Shoddy Renovation Contractor
We contacted a renovation contractor through an online platform. After several rounds of discussion, we decided to use the contractor to renovate our kitchen and toilet. A job that should have been completed in one month was delayed for three months.
• Exterior paint works started peeling by the second month.
• Water gushing out from the concealed water pipes on CNY eve for more than 6 hours because we were out
• Leakage from water pipes throughout the project
• Interior paint works done halfway with holes in the wall
• Existing marble and new tiles were chipped
• We discovered the drainage pipe choked after the tiles were laid
• There were many more defects….
By 3rd month, we could not accept the shoddy workmanship and delays any further that we terminated the service of the contractor and got a new contractor to takeover the project.
The renovation contractor then sent us an invoice for payment but unit cost of items were inflated, the number of items renovated was increased (e.g. we only renovated one toilet but contractor charged us for 3 toilets.) The claimed amount also included works that the contractor did not do and did not complete. Subsequently, we got involved in a legal battle to determine the rightful amount to be paid for the works.
To further strengthen their case against us, the contractor forged our signature on several quotations, some of which we have not seen before, to claim more money than what was intended. This matter had been reported to the police but it’s been months and we still have no conclusion. We went to our MP for help but also nothing could be done to expedite the investigation. All that needed to be done was to obtain the originals and test for fingerprints and the truth would be told but it seems that was our simple-minded thinking.
Some higher being up there is looking after us as luckily we did not sign any agreements with the contractor because there was a penalty clause in the agreement that said “if you terminate the contract without mutual agreement, you are liable for the full contract amount”.
What really happened for us is when the contractor starts a specific work, the contractor will send us an invoice for 50% and when the work is completed, the contractor would bill us the balance 50%. Reason why we didn’t sign the agreement is because it was only a quotation and some of those items we had told the contractor that we were still looking for other contractors to do, e.g. cabinetry. We engaged the contractor mainly to do hacking, painting, plumbing and electrical works. But the contractor claim us for everything in the quotation.
To further pressure us to give in, this contractor sent emails to our company, maliciously spreading inaccurate and unfounded information that is damaging to our personal and professional character. Claimed that she is a terminally ill patient and that we had cheated her money despite the truth being that she had committed forgery and that the true monetary value of her works is to be determined by the Magistrate’s Court. Thankfully, our companies saw the truth and believed our integrity. What’s appalling is we were not the only victims. We found out that that there were other home owners who were in the same situation as us.
A few of us home owners got connected and we tried many ways to find justice and redress in this, reporting to BCA, CASE, HDB and even the police on the harassment but there are no policing bodies that can govern such issues.
Anyone can start a company today and renovate your home. The police won’t do anything as there is no physical hurt in the harassment. Our only “out” was POHA or defamation legal claim which again will incur high legal costs. We want to share the name of the contractor but we can’t due to legal complications and it’s sad that we cannot prevent other home owners from this.
We had reported to the online platform about the errant contractor but they refused to remove the post, and this will allow more home owners to be cheated.