Dick and Jane vs Handyman-Decision

Dick and Jane did not inquire of Handyman if he had the necessary skills, experience or tools to do the job, or if he was licensed by the City. There was no discussion about even a work reference.

Refinishing wood floors and stripping kitchen cabinets requires both skills and experience, as well as the use of heavy machinery, power tools, etc. Without the necessary skills and experience, it was likely that Dick and Jane would get a botched job rather than a professional result. It is not work for a rookie or novice.

I granted Dick and Jane the sum of $2,500, the contract price.

I then said that in my opinion Dick and Jane are not entitled to recover the additional expense of re-doing the work from Handyman in this case.

I pointed out that if they got an additional $2,500 from Handyman, their apartment renovation would have cost them nothing.

 I said, “That would not be fair, would it?”

 They agreed.  

 Do you agree?



8 thoughts on “Dick and Jane vs Handyman-Decision

  1. I think that it is great that Dick and Jane got their money back and in my opinion they were very lucky. However, they hired someone off the street with no prior experience or recommendation…what did they expect . It could have been a good life lesson for them on ” buyer beware” had they not received their money back. Yes, I believe the decision was correct but the real question here is did they get their money back ?

    • As to the question of getting their money back, arbitration awards are legally enforceable, but they require some effort and expense on the part of the winning party in order to collect. If they do that, Dick and Jane may collect.

  2. Dick & Jane were completely wrong. Their inexperience of not checking out references only taking word of someone else is certainly ridiculous on their part and paying up front for the job is unreal.
    Since they didn’t do that I feel returning $2,500 to them for botched job should not have happened. It was their own fault and I think the handyman should have been given a chance to repair his botched job, then decide if he should return the fee..I know, your saying” how much better could he have done 2nd time around”? Well we will never know.

    Dick&Jane certainly should learn from this experience and were lucky they had the arbitrator man who sided with them…Oh,well.

    • Handyman may ask the court for another court hearing to prove the value of his work and his expenses. If he does not do so, however, we will “never know” as you say. Perhaps it is just as well as finality and closure are some of the values of arbitration.

  3. I imagine the legal system is full of such cases!

    Dick and Jane approached this project totally without protecting their (a) kitchen and (b) investment in the renovation. The work and payment schedule should have been detailed and signed by both parties with an amount (25 to 33%) being held until successful completion of the project, even if the plan called for only one or two days of work. Furthermore, they should have asked “handyman” for references and contacted those parties requesting to see his work prior to signing an agreement.

    Arbitration Man is generous in his returning the full cost to Dick and Jane. The contractor did perform work and without the guidance of a signed agreement should receive some compensation even though D&J found the quality of the work inferior and damaging to their property.

    Their asking for an additional $2,500 is without merit given that no contract exists.

    This case should be in a guide book for all New York City co-op and condo owners!!!

    • To JTG;
      If Handyman seeks another court hearing, Dick and Jane may then be able to claim that they have a written estimate of their damage and are entitled to an additional damage award.

  4. Yes I agree with the return of the contract cost of $2,500
    First, let me comment on Dick & Jane, Anyone with some intelligence does not pay for the complete job up-front..That’s in-sane. were they born yesterday?
    Second, If they would have gotten a written estimate for repairing the botched job, then I would have awarded Dick & Jane the estimated amount.
    If the renovation job is still going to cost them $2,500 with a new handyman then they would also have to pay extra for fixing the botched job. so the apartment renovation would be costing them the $2,500 plus cost to fix the botched job. so they would be paying extra and not getting the apartment renovation for free.
    Their inexperience was appearing in court without the written estimate showing what the extra cost would be to fix the botched job.
    Therefore without the estimate you couldn’t award them the extra cost.
    So I disagree with your statement saying the apartment renovation would have cost them nothing.

    • I agree that Dick and Jane failed to prove that they should be granted additional damages necessary to fix the botched job.

      Dick and Jane did not bring in an estimate proving that it cost them more than $2,500 to repair the damage. I could not grant them an additional award for that reason. Had they proved that the repair was more costly, that might have affected my decision.

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