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Best next steps on bad fence repair job?

j.ellie .
5 days ago

My fence recently needed some fresh stain and light repairs. Several local fence companies said they only do new builds but provided suggestions for individual contractors whose work they knew and who would be able to help. I ended up moving forward with one of those folks.

Unfortunately, the repairs were done extremely poorly. After just a few weeks, several rails are cracking or warping. Some were never installed in the first place. Many were nailed onto the decorative lattice topper in a way that didn't actually anchor onto the fence, meaning the very heavy lattice is essentially floating between posts without the stability it needs to stay straight. And in the stain was sprayed on absolutely everything in its path, including my formerly black gate hardware, attached-but-removable custom bird houses, etc. It's also already fading and seems patchy, though this could be more due to wood porosity vs poor stain application.

I've reached out to the contractor several times to discuss these issues. He's been generally unresponsive, canceled a few meetings at the last minute, and no-showed for even more. He's already been paid (unfortunately, the person onsite didn't do a final inspection first), and we never had an official legal contract, just an informal agreement documented via texts. (Another rookie mistake, I know.)

Is there anything I can do at this point to either get a refund or require a fix at the contractor's expense? I'm guessing there's not, but I'm really hoping to hear otherwise from those of you with more experience. Examples of the workmanship below.

Unattached trim / staples not long enough:

Patchy stain / more rails:

Warping rails: