Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's Like Breaking Up with a Boyfriend, on the Day He Was Fired.

I have learned through my year of blogging, that I have an amazing resource right at my fingertips.


Oftentimes, I have confided in you on an individual basis regarding some sticky situations, and have sought out your advice on how to handle them.

From family, to business, to friendships gone awry, you always know how to navigate me through those less than comfortable situations.  Instead of confiding in you all individually, I decided to lay it all out there for everyone, so I can receive a consensus on how to handle this bit of a pickle.

Let me tell you a little story*.

There are many things in life that Roon is better at than me.  Yardwork, is one of those things.  Even though Roon is completely capable of mowing, edging, and landscaping our yard, he doesn't always have the time or desire to do so. 

One day, when I realized that our yard looked particularly sad, I suggested that Roon do something about it once winter was officially over.  He thought about it for a day or so, and then came to me with a suggestion.  Why not hire a professional?  I had a little bit of money of my own, and I could use that to pay someone to make my yard look EXACTLY how I wanted it, and things wouldn't get ugly between the two of us.

I thought he was brilliant!

I soon found a small landscape company to do the work, and as luck would have it, he was running a bit of a special.  If I paid the full estimated amount in advance, (Before lawn mowing season began) I would be added to the mowing schedule from day one, and Roon wouldn't have to push the mower even once.  Not to mention the fact that I could "bundle" my landscape requests together for a discounted rate.

I was all over it!

I received an estimate, and paid it in full within 24 hours.  I could hardly wait for spring to come, so I could see some improvement in my yard!

Normally, the idea of paying in full for work yet to be performed makes me very uneasy, but he came VERY highly recommened by neighbors and friends, so I went with it.

At the first signs of spring, I would see him in my neighbor's yards, sprucing things up a bit.  Planting a tree, adding some flowers here and there.  The anticipation was killing me!

Along the way, Roon and I decided to add some things to our plan.  You know, a fruit tree in the backyard, a tulip border, and some rose bushes on the side of the house...that kind of thing.  Each time, he would bill us, we would pay, and then we would wait.

When the grass began to grow and look unruly, I called our landscaper to find out what was going on. 

He was very nice, and explained that some things had come up, but that he would be out very soon to take care of it.

A week later, with the threat of an HOA fine looming, Roon went out and cut the grass when our guy couldn't be reached in time.

Through the course of several months, our guy never came once.  We were handled with kid gloves, reassured that we were on his schedule, but no concrete dates were ever offered.

Towards the end of the summer, we heard rumblings that the landscaper was experiencing some personal hardships.  His wife was ill, money was tight, and he was doing his best to handle it all.  This was all speculation, though, as we hadn't actually heard the information from HIM.

We took pity on the guy, and made do the best we could.  Eventually, we contacted the guy, and asked for a refund.  Our contract was terminated, he apologized, and we were promised a full refund.

We found, and hired a replacement landscaper, who has done an amazing job!  We love him, and are so glad to have found him in our time of need.

So where's the problem?

Our original landscaper has yet to reimburse us.  I've contacted him a few times, offering to make arrangements with him to pay in installments, and the offers have been embraced and appreciated by him, but no arrangement is ever made.   At the close of every conversation, he offers the possibility of paying me back with his services, or gift certificates for friends. 

If I wasn't happy with the service I was given in the first place, why on EARTH would I want more service in lieu of money?

To add insult to injury, our landscaper has officially started publicly announcing his hardships to the community.  How am I supposed to request a refund when he's standing at a pulpit telling everyone his woes?!

Is it so unreasonable of me to want what I was promised? 
If you have any suggestions for me, I would greatly appreciate them.

*Certain details have been altered or deleted to protect the guilty.


Amy said...

Pray. That is the only thing I can think of. Good luck! I know I am not much help with this, hopefully someone else will be much more brilliant with a solution for you.

Miss Angie said...

It's hard to try and get your money back from someone who is expressing hardships, but at the same time... I mean he's not your friend or your charity, he's someone you employed and paid to do a job, that was never done. It's business, and not personal...

He should have made it a priority to do what you paid him to do, and since he didn't you may want to contact the Better Business Bureau or something...

I don't mean to sound heartless, I feel for someone who's hurting, and if it's not worth it to you to do anything about it's your choice to just leave it as it is. Call the money a loss, call it a donation... Maybe let him actually do some work or not... I don't know exactly.

However, what if he does it to someone else? You should definitely leave ratings talking about what happened with you on sites like google so that it doesn't happen to someone else... It just feels like theft, even if it's because it's a hard time or not, he took money for something he did not do, he did not earn that money...

Just my two cents... In a very long comment... :)

Emmy said...

Ditto to what Angie said-he is running a business not a charity and is therefore liable to his business. But that would be so hard -sorry :(

MiMi said...

I feel really bad for him. You could pray for him and his could pray for yourself.
And in the end, you need to get that reimbursement. I hope it doesn't take a lawyer. Or a threat of one.

Myya said...

I think the difference for me in this story is that he came & worked on your neighbors yard full well knowing he needed to do work on yours. That disregaurd for the contract he made with you just really really bothers me! He needs to make amends wether it be through money or work because if he wants to continue to do business he needs to be a decent businessman & needs to uphold his end of the bargain!!! Good luck my friend.

Xazmin said...

This is a tough one. The thing is, if he doesn't have the money to refund you (how much are we talking about here?), it doesn't really matter what you do, you won't be able to get your money back.

On the other hand, if there is a way for him to come up with the money, paying you back should be his first priority. I'm sure you're not the only ones he owes.

I like the idea of prayer. It all depends how much it was, and how far you're willing to go. If you file a lawsuit - he may be forced to file bankruptcy, or sell his house, or something. But like Myya said, he also needs to take responsibility for his actions.

It is really a tough one, and I don't have any good advice. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

That's a tough spot to be in, but I agree with the above comments. He's running a business and unfortunately couldn't follow through. You are a client and didn't receive the services you set out for. That's not okay.

I'll send out a prayer that things go okay.


Lisa said...

Wow. Tough one. Best of luck! I hope you get it figured out! I know this may sound harsh, but I believe that legal recourse is your best bet at this point... maybe research what is needed, or even just a threat of it. He took your money. And whether or not he is having personal difficulties should not affect his work contracts.
That's a little harsh, I'm sure, but we're dealing with similar issues with a brother in law... no bueno. Good luck!