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Need advice on paying a contractor's over 'do not exceed' bill

12 years ago

I accepted a bid with a contractor to replace my siding in August. He agreed to give me a "do not exceed" amount which he made at $26,000. He also told me he would have it finished by October. He was supposed to do the job himself but farmed it out, which we conceded was acceptable. As we went over $26,000 and it was clear that there was still much left to do, we had a conversation in which he told me it would be $3000 more in labor and that he would eat $1500. I then received an invoice for $4134 and the job still was not competed. We are now in to December. I decided to pay this but that it would be the last money I gave him. It is the end of December and the job is basically done (except for details that I do not even feel like addressing with him). He gave me a final invoice of $2250. I told him that I was not going to pay it. He is understanding of my position, but of course he wants me to pay it. He is telling me that he will not be able to pay the guy who actually did the work if I don't. I realize this is not my problem since he farmed the job out, but it doesn't sit well. This was a nice guy who did good work. There were no surprises with this job, just fiber cement siding and trim. He basically underestimated the amount of trim needed and the time it would take to put it up, which as a contractor, he could have easily given a more accurate price. All the information was there, but he did not do any measuring at all, just guessed at it. I have already paid him $4000 over what he said and I do not feel I should be responsible for his mistake, even if I did get quality work. If I had gotten a more accurate price, I would have gone with something less expensive. Any advice would be great.

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