Fencing and bad clients

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nightmare 101
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Fencing and bad clients

Post by nightmare 101 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:29 pm

So I work as a contractor, building fences. The customer we have been dealing with recently has a bat shit crazy boyfriend who is controlling beyond belief. We actually don't even deal with the client/homeowner because I believe he is refusing to let her talk to us at this point. Now, here is the big issue.

We left about $3000 worth of tools, including an auger and cut-off saw, in his yard because we were coming back (this is pretty typical of us, we keep the serial numbers of all of our equipment in case anything goes missing). Well, we come back one day and we don't see the auger sitting ANYWHERE. We call the client who informs us that Lee has locked the tools up in a shed and he is the only one with the key. We ask politely to let us get our stuff, and the client says 'Sure come by anytime.' On the other hand, we have a few angry voicemails from lee saying not to come before 1 o clock, and as of most recently, not to walk onto "his" property at all. He has been extremely demanding of us from day one and excuses his behavior by saying "he doesn't want to get ripped off".

Anyway, we go by there today and ask him politely to open up the shed so we can get our tools, since we are now unwilling to work with them (meaning lee, which remember, is not the client nor the homeowner.)- we have completed all of the work that they have put money down on, so we don't owe them anything. He flat out refuses to open the shed, and tells me to get the hell off his property. Now that gets me pretty miffed, so we call up the local police department to get a sheriff to hopefully reason this out with him. When the sheriff gets there and he asks Lee if he has our stuff locked up in the shed, he says "no" - flat out lieing to the officer when we have text after text explaining that he purposefully took the stuff as collateral.

Well, he asks for the deputy's supervisor to come out, and when he rolls up and gets out the car, Lee and the man start hitting it off all buddy buddy - and I see this from a distance. Turns out Lee is an ex cop and knows this guy. He is willing to tell THIS officer that "yes, he does have the tools" instead of lieing again, and then goes to continue with his complaint that "we aren't done with the work so he won't release the tools". That's bullshit, we are done with all that we can do with the money they gave us so far (2/3rds of the job).

So my question to you guys is - Is his holding our equipment technically theft? he has no contract with us - that contract is with his girlfriend. He has no place in this situation. The (black) cop tried to tell us that this was only a civil matter, but I am convinced he was just protecting lee (who he knows from being a cop blah blah blah) by trying to get us NOT to press criminal charges. Anyway, thanks for reading this, i'm pretty angry right now because I never get the police involved, but the one time I do, I'm pretty sure the cops didn't know what they were talking about. It's a fucked up situation, and that man deserves to be in jail.
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by Lexiprawn » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:36 pm

Press charges. Look at the local laws regarding theft. A unbiased jury will understand your situation and at the very least yu can get your tools back.
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by TempSoul » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:52 pm

Yeah dude that just straight up bullshit, I don't care if the bat shit crazy guy is an ex-cop. You did your just exactly like your cilent asked and you have taken the high road the whole way to make sure things went smoothly.

He has no right to be dealing with this matter in any legal form and you have all the documentation to back up him being a bat shit over-controlling ass. Keep all the that documentation and press charges for him, do what lexi says find out to what extent your state laws can take on the matter, do you have any local lawyer friends or people familiar with state law.

I understand the cop friend trying to take care of his friend because no one want legal matters to happen because it's a shitstorm but if this man is going to go out of his way to take his anger out on you when obviously he has some other problem that he is taking out on you. If the cops are trying to help his friend by pulling the I'm a cop trust me please don't make this any worse than it is. FUCK THAT a cop should be looking at this situation and trying to help both parties and you have a job that requires that stuff, as a fellow carpenter/lawn and gardener(when I work with my dad ever since I was a kid) I understand you frustration with cilents like this and when legal matters have to get involve.

Take a look at what you have rights over and what he doesn't and make sure either you get a cop who he can't lean on or you threaten the right to call his superiors/threaten that you will be taking legal action because of so and so. Don't over escalate thing but do what needs to be done so you can get on with your life and he can stop impeding you for no reason
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by King_Fluffy » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:33 pm

I don't know what it's like there, but here your property is your property and no other civilian can just keep you from reaching it or directly interfere with it without your permission. I'm pretty sure you could get an investigation to at least see if he is holding it on his property if you have reasonable suspicions, especially in the form of messages from him stating he did. I would try with a different police station that he might not be known from.

Just make sure not to lose your cool. The law tends to not always care that you did what you did because of someone else, just the fact that you did it. I know of people who had a reasonably good case, did something stupid and turned it upside down on themselves. Don't get especially angry with him, don't let anything physical happen and don't try to directly take your stuff back by encroaching on his land, let the law do that.
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by nightmare 101 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:35 pm

Thanks for the fast responses guys, we are planning on legal action, but the lawyer friend we asked said that all we can do is reclaim the property, which I believe to be an incorrect interpretation of the scenario, considering the texts kept referencing the homeowner. It's really unfortunate that's we're going to have to bring the homeowner into this (the girlfriend of Lee) since she is the one who signed the contract, and it will likely all go against her name and pocket book, but if she is going to put up with a crazy person like that (who she plans to marry in July.. what a fool!) and then refuse to talk to us, we really have no choice at all!

I want to get Lee to be the target of our suit, but I'm afraid we don't have the evidence to get him on anything, since we never entered into a contract with him. I think we'd have a hard time getting the homeowner to testify against him unless she realizes before we go to court that he is the reason why we are having to pull legal muscle.

EDIT: We already took back anything of ours that was unsecured even though he had "no trespassing" signs posted like they were god damn sentry towers. He also ran a wire around where our stuff was. Our stuff is our stuff, we were never told by the homeowner that we couldn't get our stuff; we went out there today to get it because we were told we could get it at any time, and then Lee refused to unlock the shed, and he is the one with the key. There were workers out there when I went to get the little stuff he didn't lock up, and they didn't try to fuck with me. I think they could tell I wasn't looking to cause an altercation.. or maybe I just look intimidating when i'm in a hurry.
EDITx2: and that's why I went out there and not my boss! My boss is a very temperamental person over this kind of thing, and he could really put the hurt on someone if he lost his cool. He flat out refuses to talk to Lee anymore since he has only been making his life hell since we started this job.
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by Django » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:52 pm

Wow, the biggest mistake here was to interact with the lee guy at all.

See, i have had to oversee many landscaping/home repair/etc guys in the past ,and usually when there is any form of verbal agreement that is not done between the
contractor and the contractee can open up opportunities for the parties to scam each, and problems arise and such.

For example, if i were to pay for the some plumbing job done in my house, and one of the plumbers comes by to collect while not being the person
who i made a contract with, then il tell him to come back and bring his boss because i can only pay him directly.

You might have lucked out of this one with these lee guy. See, when you went there to collect the tools without your boss, the property owner can call for distrust
and not open the door. At the same time, the lee guy can not claim he owns the tools you left there just because they were on his property, topping that he was extremely
intransigent with the job and in phone calls.

Have in mind that your behavior in it (which might have caused distrust in the lee guy) has nothing to do with anything, if this were to be brought on court better for you
because you can make understanding of your actions, that might have been misinterpreted.

Finally bad mouth him, let every other landscape contractor in town know that this guy is trouble to work with. See who is gonna want to finish his lawn or whatever.
Landscape contractors trust their own.

Imma tell you this right now, the more conflict you can create out of a simple everyday event
, the more proof that this is taking placing in a really trashy redneck area.
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by nightmare 101 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:06 pm

I wasn't there with the head of the company, I was there with his wife who does estimates and talks directly to customers. She refused to deal with lee, and Lee only showed up on the first day of the job to make a change to the contract with the boss, and then everyday afterwards to disparage our work and make us out to be scammers. We know all of the fence businesses in town, so it's no problem to make it hard for them to get a fence at all. We are planning on slapping a lean on the house to ruin the woman's credit anyway, but it just sucks that there is no criminal action that can be filed against them...yet.

The only reason we dealt with lee was because the woman we signed the contract with that owns the house refused to come out and de-escalate the situation - Something I think she is probably worried about getting physically abused over. This lee guy is a real jerk.

But, bygones are bygones, and at this point, they actually owe us $175 + our equipment and they are going to be charged everyday for as long as they hold our equipment due to interruption of work. We are a business, not a gang of fuck heads that just want your money. Good work takes time, and if we were out to scam, we would do it from the get go and get out, not leave our thousands of dollars in equipment over there (we easily have over $20,000 in equipment in total, but we never leave all of that at one site!)

It's just sad that the woman is planning on marrying this lunatic, because she was completely reasonable! We are well connected to an attorney friend who's husband is the solicitor of the county, so she is doing everything she can to get us our stuff back in a timely manner.

HEY LOOK WHAT I FOUND.
http://www.wach.com/news/story.aspx?id=411945 That is him.
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by Django » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:37 pm

oh he is black
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by Neelpos » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:44 pm

Django wrote:oh he is black
What
kingscrub wrote:HEY NEELPOS WHY DONT YOU SHOVE THAT RETARDED SMILEYFACE AVATAR UP YOUR ASS.
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Re: Fencing and bad clients

Post by nightmare 101 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:39 pm

I live in the south. Being remotely white makes you a minority.

Apparently he was sued for impersonation of a police officer, too. (though that is "private" information)
http://dockets.justia.com/docket/south_ ... 199/164217
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