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Problem Solvers: What to know when hiring contractors

Posted at 5:50 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 12:39:16-05

BIXBY, Okla. — Hiring a contractor can be confusing and time consuming, but if you cut corners, you could end up in a tricky situation.

Martha Jo Shepard and her husband wanted to hire someone and get a job done fast.

“We can no longer at this age do the work ourselves," Shepard said. "We have to hire people. We have to trust people to do what we need done.”

The Shepards drove around their Bixby neighborhood in September and found a yard with a nice fence and asked the homeowner for the contractor’s information. The contractor also lives in their neighborhood.

“So, he came in with a visit and sit with his paper, pencil, and was writing out our name, everything about it and quoted a price and asked for the money“ Shepard said.

That was all the Shepards did when making arrangements for the project and the contractor didn’t draw up an agreement in writing. The Shepards wrote a $2,200 check for the custom vinyl fencing, picked the color and the contractor went on his way.

However, when the custom order came in, it wasn’t the right shade of the color they wanted and they asked to cancel the project.

“He delivered some pipes, some tubing, which was not the color I chose and we asked for the refund,” Shepard said.

Unfortunately, for the Shepards there was no contract to fall back on and the contractor already paid the manufacturer for the custom fence.

2 Works for You spoke with the contractor who said he will pay the Shepards back in installments while he waits to try to return the fencing. However, since the project was a custom order, he’s not sure it will happen.

The Shepards are disappointed and want their money back in full since they no longer want the project done.

So, what’s the Better Business Bureau’sadvice when it comes to this kind of situation?

“So, the first thing you always want to do is get estimates in writing and never let any work begin without a written and signed contract," said Bryce Marshall with the BBB. "The contract should include contact information, starting and completing dates, a detailed description of the work to be done, any material, cost payment arrangements and warranty information.”

Contracts protect both the contractor and the customer. That way all the details and expectations are laid out before anyone loses any money.

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