Concreter Overcharging for a Cash Job?

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8 July 2014
I arranged to have a concrete slab laid for a double garage. I organised a cash job with a friend of a friend and said total job would be $5600. We excavated the site and did for work. Not a lot was involved, and we got other quotes and was told that would be around $500 and $600.

Weeks passed and the concreter failed to show on the set days to do pour, and we were running out of time to get the slab down. So I organised for another company to finish the job. Now concreter wants $2520 for prep which we did not agree too, and had no itemised quote for and he cannot justify or breakdown this exorbitant charge to us.

We have paid him $600, and said that is the quotes we had received for and will not pay anymore. There isn't a paper trail and as I said this was to be a cash job but he failed to complete in over 4 weeks. Do we need to do anything further under Australian Consumer Law, or should we just leave it to him to pursue for more money through the courts? And do we have to pay more, even though this was a verbal agreement and no written quote was given and he will not supply an itemised account for his charge? Thanks.

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
Hi Lissy,
The lack of a written agreement does not mean that there is no agreement. That said, given the circumstances, you may consider writing a clear and concise email/letter to the concreter that confirms the:
  1. timeline of events - that is, the delays because under Australian Consumer Law, it is a consumer guarantee that services be delivered within a reasonable time when there is no agreed end date; and
  2. your position - that is, you had no reasonable option but to engage an alternate concreter to complete the task and consider the issue resolved given that you have paid him the market rate for the services originally provided.
Such a response would generally then require the concreter to either formally respond or move on.

Hope this helps. Please keep us updated of your progress.