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367 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 239898 9-Aug-2018 21:06
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We've just had a tradesperson do some work for us, fixing an aging ranchslider door.  They did a great job of fixing the door, but as part of the job had to take the glass out, and managed to put a big crack in it when they tried to put it back in.  They say "not our problem", the door is fixed, you'll get the bill, and the glass is your problem.  The real problem is that because of the size of the pane it now needs to be safety glass and we're looking at $500+ to have that fixed - way more than the cost of the door repair.

 

I'd have thought they'd have insurance for this sort of thing?

 

As it turns out, we don't have insurance that will cover this sort of thing.  (well we do, but the excess is more than the cost of this repair)

 

Any thoughts or comments?

 

This is not something I've come across before.  All the companies I've worked for in various industries over the last 30 years have taken the approach of "if we stuff up we fix it".  Is that unusual?

 

Cheers & thanks...

 

 





Things are LookingUp....  A photo from my back yard :-)
http://www.astrophotogallery.org/u141-rodm.html 


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1512 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 2070931 9-Aug-2018 21:12
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FWIW, we took a car to be evaluated for a water leak.  They warned us before should we go through with it, they have to take the windscreen off and because it is quite brittle if it breaks they are not responsible for it.  


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  Reply # 2070935 9-Aug-2018 21:21
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Yeah working with glass normally comes with a 'all care, no responsibility' caveat, unfortunately it sounds like the builder forgot to mention it though.

 

Their public liability insurance wont kick in at this level

 

While its rough that it's an unexpected cost for you, that's life as a homeowner. I think it's more unfair to make the tradie pay out of pocket over and above the value of the job - they'll be wishing they never took on the job in the first place. If you insist on pushing them, then I'd suggest a discount on the original work might be appropriate - up to 100% depending on how your negotiation goes


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  Reply # 2070942 9-Aug-2018 21:39
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They broke it - they pay for it unless you agreed otherwise in writing.

 

This all care no responsibility thing is just BS IMV - they broke something you owned. Tango Sierra if correcting their mistakes costs them more than the job - they should be more careful.

 

If you took your new BMW to the dealer for service and they crashed another car into it, would you accept "Sorry mate - your problem" as their answer? Why should this be any different.

 

 

 

If they do not pay, take them to the Disputes Tribunal.






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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2070945 9-Aug-2018 21:49
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Geektastic:

 

They broke it - they pay for it unless you agreed otherwise in writing.

 

This all care no responsibility thing is just BS IMV - they broke something you owned. Tango Sierra if correcting their mistakes costs them more than the job - they should be more careful.

 

If you took your new BMW to the dealer for service and they crashed another car into it, would you accept "Sorry mate - your problem" as their answer? Why should this be any different.

 

 

 

If they do not pay, take them to the Disputes Tribunal.

 

 

Agreed with this, or at least a serious discount of the cost of their work. If I was in ther tradie's position I would expect the same thing, trying my best to not sound high on a horse.


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  Reply # 2070968 9-Aug-2018 22:46
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Geektastic:

 

They broke it - they pay for it unless you agreed otherwise in writing.

 

This all care no responsibility thing is just BS IMV - they broke something you owned. Tango Sierra if correcting their mistakes costs them more than the job - they should be more careful.

 

If you took your new BMW to the dealer for service and they crashed another car into it, would you accept "Sorry mate - your problem" as their answer? Why should this be any different.

 

 

 

If they do not pay, take them to the Disputes Tribunal.

 

 

I Agree..thats what they have insurance cover for and it is built into their charges. 


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  Reply # 2070976 9-Aug-2018 23:04
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The Consumer Guarantees Act (assuming that the work occurred inside a residential home the OP occupies, the CGA applies) states that when services are provided to a consumer, there is a statutory guarantee of reasonable care and skill. Without knowing the exact circumstances, I would broadly expect  someone doing this sort of work to be capable of (and also being expected to) take reasonable care to avoid glass breakage.

 

So I'd tell the installer to shove his "Not my problem!" attitude up his backside and set-off his fee against the repair cost of the OP's glass and pursue the rest from him off the Disputes Tribunal. As for people saying "He should claim his insurance!", you're assuming that a lot of your average small businesses bothers to buy PL insurance in the first place. As someone who volunteers at a community law centre, I can tell you that a huge proportion of NZ businesses do not. Just look at how many dickwads drive around without insurance. NZ is simply full of individuals/small businesses that are keen to personalise all gains and to socialise the costs of their mistakes.

 

 

 

 


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 2070994 10-Aug-2018 01:56
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the tradesperson / company is liable

 

i have had this a few times

 

any work they do they are responsible for any damage


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  Reply # 2070998 10-Aug-2018 05:24
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LookingUp:

 

We've just had a tradesperson do some work for us, fixing an aging ranchslider door.  They did a great job of fixing the door, but as part of the job had to take the glass out, and managed to put a big crack in it when they tried to put it back in.  They say "not our problem", the door is fixed, you'll get the bill, and the glass is your problem.  The real problem is that because of the size of the pane it now needs to be safety glass and we're looking at $500+ to have that fixed - way more than the cost of the door repair.

 

I'd have thought they'd have insurance for this sort of thing?

 

As it turns out, we don't have insurance that will cover this sort of thing.  (well we do, but the excess is more than the cost of this repair)

 

Any thoughts or comments?

 

This is not something I've come across before.  All the companies I've worked for in various industries over the last 30 years have taken the approach of "if we stuff up we fix it".  Is that unusual?

 

Cheers & thanks...

 

 

 

 

I had a similar thing happen. We were recladding a building, replacing all the joinery with aluminium.

The cladding went slower than the builders had estimated, the windows were all able to be installed as scheduled except for one very large one on the unfinished side of the building.

The builders doing the cladding offered to install it themselves on completion of their job - to save the window installers a long return trip - and me that extra cost.

 

Of course they flexed and cracked it.

Even though they were doing a 'freebie' I had no doubt it was their responsibility. They trailered it - 100km round trip - to the glaziers, then had 2 guys come back & install it.
I'm sure their profit was gone. Did I feel kind of crappy - yes. Was I willing to spring for repair of a very large expensive window - no.
In my mind there was no question that "if we stuff up we fix it" applied..

 

I did ask them what the boss drank.. and dropped a box of it off at their yard that Friday.


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  Reply # 2071001 10-Aug-2018 06:36
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Geektastic:

This all care no responsibility thing is just BS IMV - they broke something you owned. Tango Sierra if correcting their mistakes costs them more than the job - they should be more careful.


If you took your new BMW to the dealer for service and they crashed another car into it, would you accept "Sorry mate - your problem" as their answer?


A piece of glass is different to a car - glass can have invisible cracks or stresses in it that are released when worked on. This means it can break through no fault or carelessness of the installer. It's not clear if this is the case here, but thats why all care no responsibility is fair on all parties, when communicated prior.

There are many glass jobs (cutting a cat door hole comes to mind) that are so unpredictable that you simply could not get anyone to do the work with full responsibility (or they would charge silly amounts to cover the risk - because often the job is worth much less than the glass being worked on)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 2071007 10-Aug-2018 07:54
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nickb800:
A piece of glass is different to a car - glass can have invisible cracks or stresses in it that are released when worked on. This means it can break through no fault or carelessness of the installer. It's not clear if this is the case here, but thats why all care no responsibility is fair on all parties, when communicated prior.

There are many glass jobs (cutting a cat door hole comes to mind) that are so unpredictable that you simply could not get anyone to do the work with full responsibility (or they would charge silly amounts to cover the risk - because often the job is worth much less than the glass being worked on)

 

I think this (the bolded bit - my emphasis) is the important caveat here.  The cat flap example is one I was going to bring up too.  When we had a cat flap installed, before the glass was cut, the installer made it very clear to me of the dangers and was I prepared to accept the risk the whole pane may crack or break. He went to great lengths to explain why it can happen too.  We agreed that I carried that risk.

 

In your case if it wasnt verbally confirmed with you I'd check any terms and conditions supplied in writing etc by your tradesman. If not supplied I would approach them with an offer depending on the value of the work you had done.  i.e. maybe you agree to go 50/50 on the repair.


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  Reply # 2071056 10-Aug-2018 09:49
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The tradesperson SHOULD have explained that handling glass comes with lots of risks of damage. As others have mentioned, stresses and tiny unapparent flaws could make a carefully reinstalled piece of glass break through no fault of the installer. Had they explained this, you likely would have gone ahead anyway I suspect. 

 

The fact they didn't explain the risks, puts it back on them, but I don't think I'd be heading to the DT in the first instance. I'd put in writing your view and suggest a compromise. Of course, you could go nuclear, you'd probably win.. Depends how much of a case you want to make of it..

 

No one wants unexpected costs in their budget, but had they explained it, would you have gone ahead? 

 

The last factor, which may be hard to determine, is if they did actually take due care and reinstall in a prescribed manner. If not the glass breakage could be negligence, which of course they should end on end, be responsible for. 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2071064 10-Aug-2018 09:54
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nickb800:
Geektastic:

 

This all care no responsibility thing is just BS IMV - they broke something you owned. Tango Sierra if correcting their mistakes costs them more than the job - they should be more careful.

 

 

 

If you took your new BMW to the dealer for service and they crashed another car into it, would you accept "Sorry mate - your problem" as their answer?


A piece of glass is different to a car - glass can have invisible cracks or stresses in it that are released when worked on. This means it can break through no fault or carelessness of the installer. It's not clear if this is the case here, but thats why all care no responsibility is fair on all parties, when communicated prior.

There are many glass jobs (cutting a cat door hole comes to mind) that are so unpredictable that you simply could not get anyone to do the work with full responsibility (or they would charge silly amounts to cover the risk - because often the job is worth much less than the glass being worked on)

 

 

 

As I said, if that was agreed in writing beforehand then no problem. Otherwise, the person who broke it fixes it. Any competent and properly set up business would simply have dealt with it already and apologised IMV.






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Master Geek
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  Reply # 2071068 10-Aug-2018 09:58
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If this was a brand new install then yes, tradesman responsible. The fact he was doing a repair, it happens. Would you hold your mechanic responsible for breaking a worn part when replacing something else? If a mechanic had to go through all the different scenarios of what if’s , he would never get the job done

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  Reply # 2071150 10-Aug-2018 10:52
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plod: If this was a brand new install then yes, tradesman responsible. The fact he was doing a repair, it happens. Would you hold your mechanic responsible for breaking a worn part when replacing something else? If a mechanic had to go through all the different scenarios of what if’s , he would never get the job done

 

From what I can read of it (and IANAL) the CGA 1993 itself really isn't very clear on this.

 

You can't "contract out" of the CGA, including for consequential damages.

 

There was an example given on MBIE website that I found and for some reason can't find again:

 

If you drop off a jacket at a dry-cleaner and the dye runs and streaks, then:

 

If the dry-cleaner warned you that this could happen and you decided to go ahead anyway, then it's your problem.  If they don't warn you - then it's their problem.

 

But it's still not that simple, as they're also required to carry out the work to a reasonable standard, so even if they've warned you but they don't carry out the work to a good standard, and that (slack workmanship) was the cause of the loss, then they're still liable.  If a mechanic breaks a worn (but still okay part) by doing something dumb, like snapping a stud off by inappropriate use of brute force, rounding off a bolt head etc, because for some reason they didn't read the torque specs or used a 12 point socket when they should have got the 6 point socket from the toolbox at the other end of the workshop, then it should be their problem.  In practise I'd wager that the customer won't ever know what really happened.

 

If laws were always clear and obvious and simple, then we'd all understand them, there would be no disagreements, and all the lawyers would be on the dole.


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