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Thread: Can my landscaper do this??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    Can my landscaper do this??

    I'm so mad right now... and instead of breaking something I'm typing.

    In December we hired a landscaper to do our front yard. The quote was $9856 including tax. He took my credit card number and put $4000 as a down payment on that credit card and told us the balance would be due in January when it was completed, and he got back from a trip to Korea. We agreed. My Visa number was handwritten on the contract and the $4000 was posted to my credit card on 12/23.

    The work was completed and really looks great. The only thing they didn't do was plant a Japanese Maple, the guy told us he would do that in late January or early February when it was closer to spring. We kept waiting for the balance to be posted to the credit card and it never was. Hubby said he was probably waiting until the tree was planted and would bill the full balance then.

    Yesterday the landscaper called my husband and told him he would be here today to plant the tree and wanted the $5896 balance paid. Dave told him to please bill the card. The man said no... that he wanted a check. Dave told him that we agreed in December to pay by credit card, and that paying the balance by check wasn't going to be easy, that it wasn't what we agreed on. The landscaper said he got charged 2% on credit cards and didn't usually take them. Language barrier here, but Dave tried to say a few times "you never told us that and billed our card for the deposit".

    I transferred the money from Savings to Checking yesterday. Landscaper came by today, planted this little Charlie Brown tree and knocked on the door. He wanted two checks, one for $4500 and one for $1198 because "over $5000 bank will hold". I handed him the checks and told him that I didn't appreciate him changing the contract in the middle of the job. He waved his hand and said "Cash better". I told him of course it was better for him, but it wasn't better for us right now and that he really put us in a bind by not being up front with us in the beginning. He told me he "would speak to my husband about me later". I don't think he liked me speaking my mind.

    There is nothing on that contract about not accepting credit cards, and he billed the first $4000 on the card. I just feel like we were manipulated and I dont like it. We had that money in savings but I did NOT like using it for this. We were going to chunk-pay on the credit card for the next four or five months and take care of that balance slowly and not touch our savings. Am I overreacting to this doof??
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Oklahoma
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    The landscaper is wrong. I would have told him you can pay him with a check but can only pay him $100.00 a month until the balance is paid. Mention that doing things this way will keep him from losing his 2%.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    What if you did not have the cash? I would have said, i have no cash so if you want to get paid you need to charge the card. That is crazy. Not many people could just come up with checks for $6,000.

    But it's a moot since you already paid him.
    Everyone needs to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. . .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAMMELA View Post
    ...

    But it's a moot since you already paid him.
    Yep. If you didn't want to give him a check you shouldn't have.

  5. #5
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    Nov 2002
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    Sorry that you felt pressured by him. I agree about not paying him. You had the advantage since his contract never said anything about not taking credit cards after he accepted the first payment that way. The worst case would be he would/could have taken you to small claims court and you would have won based on the contract. However, he also could have placed a lien on your house, but that would only be a problem in you were looking to sell it. I would have told him that he could have a check or cash if there was a discount involved. Any contractor who takes credit cards knows about the surcharge and can build it into their price. I wouldn't recommend him to neigbhors, and in this economy, that could cost him more that a small surcharge on his credit card. He's obviously having cash flow problems.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2005
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    The other reason to go with a credit card is, if there is a problem, the CC company will go after him for you. For example, if he never came back to finish the job, the CC company can f=refund your money and go after him.

    I agree, if he takes cards, he should build in the surcharge, or offer you a cash discount and let you decide.

    THe comment about the banks putting a hold on the larger checks also indicates he is in a cash bind.
    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I told Dave last night that I didn't want to pay this guy by check, that I wanted to push him to honor his contract and use the card... but he just wanted to pay the guy and get it over with. I can understand why, but at the same time it just bugs me that he got away with this.

    I agree that part of the reason I wanted it on the credit card was we had legal recourse if something wasn't right. We saw mixed reviews on this landscaper and his practices. Dave wanted to use him because he seemed to have the most experience and Dave liked his ideas, but I told him to just be careful. Most reviewers on Angie's List said that he didn't come back to finish for months. When we had the work essentially completed after 3 weeks we felt like we'd dodged a bullet.

    What we were going to chunk-down onto the credit card we can now chunk-down into the savings account to build it back up, but it still chaps my a$$ that we were put in that position.

    I do, however, feel a very strong review coming over me...
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucknellAlum View Post
    THe comment about the banks putting a hold on the larger checks also indicates he is in a cash bind.
    My guess is that he needs cash in his hands as soon as he can get it to pay his employees that did the work. I've dealt with several small contractors that work this way.

  9. #9
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    Dec 2008
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    I agree it sounds like he's in a bind and needs cash. Not only would he lose 2% by running the credit card, he also wouldn't have it in his account until Thursday if he ran it today. His bank will credit a check to his account to day.

    I think you had the upper hand and could have played hard ball with him had you wanted to. If you would have told him it's the credit card or nothing he probably would have taken it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    I don't know what your savings account is earning for interest, but mine is practically nothing. Sounds like you saved yourself 4 or 5 months of credit card interest. And how wonderful that you're happy with the work. Take all of that into consideration.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by charley View Post
    I don't know what your savings account is earning for interest, but mine is practically nothing. Sounds like you saved yourself 4 or 5 months of credit card interest. And how wonderful that you're happy with the work. Take all of that into consideration.
    I agree with charley - It makes no sense to use a credit card if you have money in the bank because you pay more interest than you could possibly make. I am assuming that you have savings in excess of $5000 or else you wouldn't be spending money on that kind of discretionary outlay.

    The transaction itself seems odd though as he did all of the work without your paying him more than half the money owed?

    If you truly didn't have the money, you probably would have told him that and worked something out. I'm surprised he took CC to start as most contractors don't because the transaction costs are too high for their profit margin.

  12. #12
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    ....and think of all the points you lost.
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    The whole thing seems fishy to me; his credit card fee is likely higher than 2%, more like 3.5-4% especially if he does not usually take them and gets a volume discount or something. I'd be ticked too. As for him needing cash to pay people like some said, the merchant fees would be deposited in his account the next day by his credit processing company so that's likely not the case. He had to cause all this strife over what he claims was 2% or $120?!? There's not much you can do at this point except chalk it up to the guy being an *** and enjoy your new front yard. water under the bridge... exhale and let it go!!!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    To save yourself some future frustration, I might call my cc company and ask to have a new card number issued. I wouldn't want that guy to have my cc number. I know you have a paper trail since you used a check to pay the balance... but it would still stress me out.

    Otherwise, I agree with pp- water under the bridge and try to enjoy your yard...but I don't blame you for being annoyed.
    - Josie


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by avariell View Post
    To save yourself some future frustration, I might call my cc company and ask to have a new card number issued. I wouldn't want that guy to have my cc number.
    We discussed this and decided against it. I don't think the guy is a crook, he does great work, I just think he lacks professionalism. However now we're not so sure since we just realized something that he did on Tuesday!

    He hand-drew the completed design and what he did from the sod, shrubs and retaining wall. Above it he wrote Paid In Full and the date and signed it. He tore the page off his pad and gave it to me before he left the other day.

    I just turned the page over last night......... and his 'scratch pad' is made up of recycled 1040 forms. I'm staring at the full name and social security number of one of his landscapers. It's dated 2007, but still!! I know how much this guy made and how much his refund was. It's my 'receipt' so I can't shred it, but I'm running a black marker through the personal info. Pretty sad, huh?
    ~ "The right shoe can change your life...."- Cinderella ~

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Houston, Texas
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    I hate to say it but it just follows the mold.....I thought I dodged the contractor nightmare bullet when we remodeled my kitchen. Everything was fine until we got to the cabinets and had a problem AND the contractor had underbid the job....

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by BucknellAlum View Post
    I agree, if he takes cards, he should build in the surcharge, or offer you a cash discount and let you decide.

    THe comment about the banks putting a hold on the larger checks also indicates he is in a cash bind.
    Exactly. If he's incurring fees that's his problem, his business expense and it's up to him to be savvy enough to know how to estimate a job to cover all his costs. It does sound like he needed cash right away and made you the scapegoat to get him out of whatever hole he was in. Treating your customers like that is just plain BAD business practice.

    He sounds like a real J E R K. I would chalk this up to a bad experience but I would certainly report him to everybody I possibly could like the local better business bureau. We have an organization called Angie's List in this area (not sure if it's national) where people can complain about bad contractor experiences or compliment good ones so that others can be armed with that knowledge before they hire. Maybe there's something similar where you are.

    I sympathize. I haven't had anything this annoying happen but I've had my fair share of headaches with contractors to make my blood boil for you. At least he did a decent job on the yard.
    Linda

    When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say “I used everything you gave me.”

    Erma Bombeck

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