Author Topic: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them  (Read 7575 times)

oldmannickels

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Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« on: September 27, 2016, 01:11:14 PM »
I brought in a contractor to build a mantle and do some painting at my house. The work was done well and is complete and he's paid but he left a portable circular saw table and took the remaining paint and a spare key to my house.

That was about a month ago and he still hasn't come back with the key and taken his saw. I could really care less about the excess paint. I've texted him every other day and the most recent week twice a day to come and get the saw and drop off the keys and he's blown me off more times than I can court. This is after the work is done and all of the monetary transactions have been completed.

I'm tempted to just change the locks and keep the saw but wanted to see what others would do.

Professor Ecks

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 01:29:00 PM »
It sounds like you've been quite reasonable so far. You've provided him ample to time to pick up the tool, and he's declined to do so, so personally I would consider the matter closed and the saw mine. I'd also get the locks changed ASAP. I wouldn't want someone having unfettered access to my home.

bognish

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 01:45:20 PM »
If you have a garage door opener, I found it better to give a contractor an extra remote or code to the key pad to get in the house. Easier to change that after the job then change the locks.

TexasRunner

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2016, 01:56:49 PM »
True, but it seems to be too late for that.

After the third time he blew me off, I would consider the saw and table to be payment for the paint and having to change the locks.  If he shows up one day, make him pay for the paint and changing the locks to get his stuff back.

Also print out all the texts/emails and record the dates of every time he skipped out on you.  You'll want to have it if he calls the police and accuses you of stealing his stuff.

Fishindude

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2016, 02:14:25 PM »
You did business with the guy, meaning you surely have his address?
Load up the saw and swing by to see him.   

If he's not there, leave a note telling him last chance to get his saw or it's going bye bye.  Then do as you please with it and change the locks.
Note - You might be able to sell saw for enough at a pawn shop to buy new locks?

AlanStache

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2016, 02:17:50 PM »
One last text making it clear you will consider the saw yours here after and when you are available for him to pick up.  Yes print out the conversation and put it in your fire box.

re: keys.  Change the lock and look into a keypad deadbolt, you can program temporary numbers for contractors so they dont get have your key.  Is also really nice to be able to go out and lock the door without needing your key.  It is moot to get the key back if he had it for more than a few hours (or even minutes...) - keys are way to easy to make copies of.

Spork

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2016, 02:25:31 PM »
Unless you just got a terrible, awful feeling from this guy...   Yes, I would want it back and would want his crap gone... but I am not sure I'd spend a huge amount of time worrying about changing the locks.

Keys are for honest people.  Yes, they are easy to copy.  But it is even easier to throw a brick through your window, grab what you can carry and run away. 

AlanStache

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 02:26:44 PM »
Unless you just got a terrible, awful feeling from this guy...   Yes, I would want it back and would want his crap gone... but I am not sure I'd spend a huge amount of time worrying about changing the locks.

Keys are for honest people.  Yes, they are easy to copy.  But it is even easier to throw a brick through your window, grab what you can carry and run away.

but where will a guy get a brick at?  :-)

Spork

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2016, 02:28:42 PM »
Unless you just got a terrible, awful feeling from this guy...   Yes, I would want it back and would want his crap gone... but I am not sure I'd spend a huge amount of time worrying about changing the locks.

Keys are for honest people.  Yes, they are easy to copy.  But it is even easier to throw a brick through your window, grab what you can carry and run away.

but where will a guy get a brick at?  :-)

In the case of a friend of ours, it was actually a log from their wood pile.  Think of the brick in more general terms.  ;)

AlanStache

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2016, 02:32:05 PM »
Unless you just got a terrible, awful feeling from this guy...   Yes, I would want it back and would want his crap gone... but I am not sure I'd spend a huge amount of time worrying about changing the locks.

Keys are for honest people.  Yes, they are easy to copy.  But it is even easier to throw a brick through your window, grab what you can carry and run away.

but where will a guy get a brick at?  :-)

In the case of a friend of ours, it was actually a log from their wood pile.  Think of the brick in more general terms.  ;)

Yes locks slowdown honest people.


daverobev

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2016, 02:36:40 PM »
I had someone paint the trim on the outside of our house last year. They reclaimed the ladder they used this weekend.

undercover

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2016, 02:47:14 PM »
Contractors are the hardest people to deal with...they make no sense. If he did a good job there's no quarrels about his work, it seems to me that him coming back and getting his saw would make a lot more sense for him than keeping the key/paint.

Choices

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2016, 02:53:02 PM »
Rekeying locks is cheap--about $5 per lock.

My M.O. when moving into a new house is to remove the locks from each door (front, back, side if this exists in your house) and take them to the Home Depot. If you have the current key, it takes the HD employees less than five minutes per lock to reset it to a new key and make you a few copies of the key.

It's way less expensive than buying new locks, but you do have to have someone who can sit in your house while you're at the hardware store.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2016, 09:53:09 PM »
I don't get it. This must happen much more often than anyone would expect. In high school, I borrowed a friend's camera for a semester. My intention was to return it at the end of the year when I no longer needed to use it for photography. She moves away, I call, text, email, myspace message, and do everything I can to find out her new address. She never replied. I now own a fantastic manual SLR.

Church summer softball team. The dude asks for $60 for dues. I didn't bring cash, so I write the guy a check. One month goes by, nothing cashed. Two, three months. I follow up: "Hey, just want to make sure you didn't lose my check. I'd hate for the church to not get paid for me playing on their team." He says "I got it, I'll take it to the bank at the end of the week." One week passes. Nothing, I call, text email and follow up for the next year. I finally said screw it, put a stop payment on the check, and closed the account (wife and I were combining checking anyways).

What is it about people not wanting their money/things? Especially contractors like OP has mentioned? Seriously, I just want to give you money in exchange for a service, why is it so hard to get a call back or even an acknowledgement one way or another?!

Rant over.

rothwem

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 06:15:02 AM »
I would just move it outside and text him to tell him its there.  Its up to him if he get it or not.  If you're really worried about the key, change the locks afterwards. 

plog

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2016, 07:30:52 AM »
1. Don't take take legal advice from the internet.

2.  Research and comply with abandoned property laws in your jurisdiction.

Following all this 'I would do X and then consider it mine' might make you legaly culpable for buying this guy a new saw. 

J_Stache

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2016, 08:17:19 AM »
Why not offer to meet him at his current work site?  Bring the saw and trade it for the key.  However, keys are easy to copy, so if you are concerned about him still having a copy, you need to realize that he could've copied it at Home Depot at any time.  If you trust him to not break into your house, I wouldn't be over concerned about the key issue.  I still have a collection of keys from when I was a contractor (not true, I finally got rid of them a few months ago).  Customers never asked for them back because I usually wound up doing a second or third job for them.  Sometimes it was a random "Hey, I'm in Florida.  Can you stop by and check on the house if you get a chance?" 

Contractors get a bad rap, but most of them (us) deserve it.  If this guy finished the work to your standards and didn't ask for extra money, I'd probably put him in the top 15%.  Taking the extra paint is weird (unless it was white).  I always left extra paint unless it was a standard trim white that I used all the time (even then, I probably left it for the customer 90% of the time).  Customer always had a list of paints that were used with brand, sheen, and color so that they could touch up if needed.

oldmannickels

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2016, 08:34:10 AM »
Hey everyone thank you for your responses.

For leaving it outside / garage door I live in a city where anything not locked down of value gets taken within the hour.

But today the saw is gone and the keys are returned. My wife was there so not sure if the paint was returned, I really don't care that much about it.

My method was gained from years of auditing experience, just steady messages increasing amounts per day until it was more annoying to answer the texts than to just pick up the saw.

Very happy to move on with my life.

Milkshake

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2016, 10:36:04 AM »
1. Don't take take legal advice from the internet.

2.  Research and comply with abandoned property laws in your jurisdiction.

Following all this 'I would do X and then consider it mine' might make you legaly culpable for buying this guy a new saw. 

+1

Tiger Stache

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2016, 11:44:15 AM »
Glad to se it was resolved. I usually pick up the phone and call rather than text

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: Contractor Left Tools - How Long Until I Keep Them
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2016, 12:46:49 PM »
I just finally got a contractor to come get his tools he left at my house about a year ago!  It was actually one of his workers that left a cordless drill, two tape measures and a screwdriver.  I had called and left message, texted, and contacted him through facebook.  I posted on facebook because he made a post saying how much it costs him to replace gear left at jobs....so I reminded him that I still had his stuff....his reply "oh, yeah, I know where the drill is" as if he didn't need it yet.  Yesterday he had to come for another job and I finally was able to give him his stuff back.  It's too bad we had to give it back...we don't own a cordless drill and we would love to have one!