What Goes Around ...

What Goes Around…


In 1980, we purchased a two story farm style home in NorthWest Raleigh (see “Gordon Pulls a Miracle” for details on the house). We moved in just before Thanksgiving of that year and were pleased with the house.

Of course, as with many new homes, there are always a few things that were not completed or done correctly and this house was no exception. In the powder room downstairs, the lights didn’t turn on (and with no window this made the room nearly unusable) and the hot water would not turn on. The hot water and cold water were backwards in the master bed suite vanity as well. 

The electrician proved to be unnecessary since I discovered the reason was a live wire that had not been connected to the switch (typical sloppy work by electrician’s helpers - I say this since it wasn't the first or last time I’ve seen such work). There were also two switches that were upside down as well which I also corrected.

However, I did need to call the plumber and when I did I was told they would be out soon to correct the problem. This went on for two to three weeks with me calling and the receptionist responding they would get to it soon.

Then, after about two months in the house, we received a notice from a lawyer informing us that we owed the plumber $500 and that a lien had been placed on our house.

I called the plumber to see what was going on and the female receptionist who I always talked to simply referred me to their lawyer. So, I called the lawyer and spoke to him directly. I explained that I had made no contracts with the plumber and there must be a mistake. He immediately began to curse me telling me that I %^$#@#ing well did owe the money since I owned the house and the plumbing had not been paid for. When I told him it was not completed or done correctly, he only cursed me some more. He told me, “I will G..D… see your &***&&^ing a** in court to collect.” I had never been treated by a lawyer like that before and decided I would not deal with him any more.

So, I called the bank holding the mortgage and talked to the VP in charge of loans. He told me not to stress over it, the builder had signed an affidavit stating that there were no outstanding debts on the house. He advised me to call the Title Insurance company and they would help me straighten this out or they would have to pay it as part of the insurance provided.

Another phone call and after explaining the story, the agent told me that they would handle everything. About a week later, he called back to tell me that they had convinced the builder to pay the bill and were getting the lien removed.

I waited two weeks for the plumber with NO word, so I called them and the receptionist pretended she didn’t know me, but I wouldn’t let her get away with it. “Is the bill paid?”, I asked; “Yes” was the reply “and the lien lifted?” was my next question, to which she replied “Yes”. “So, where is the plumber with the repairs to my house?” I queried. “He’ll be there today”.

Moving forward in time, In late 1987, we decided to help Geri’s mom with her finances by adding a mother-in-law suite to our house in Raleigh. One of the members of our church was a commercial builder and we sought him out for suggestions on a general contractor to add it.

He hooked us up with a fine Christian man who agreed to do the job. The addition would contain a galley style kitchen, small living room, bedroom and a three piece en-suite. After reviewing his plans we agreed for him to do the job.

The contractor was excellent in managing the sub-trades both in timeliness and quality of work. However one day, I got home from work early and the plumber was just getting started. Lo and behold, it was the same one as in 1980. I called the contractor over and told him I would not pay for any work that the plumber did and wanted him removed immediately. The contractor told me it was kind of late to change and might affect the timeline and cost, and I informed him I did not want the plumber since he did shoddy work and hired unscrupulous lawyers (I had discovered in 1983, that at the water main, he had decided to connect us with a piece of extruded aluminum with a hole in it and had covered the hole with an alligator clamp instead of purchasing the correct part - it cost me $0.59 for the part but $50 for the wasted water). The contractor called the plumber over and told him we had a problem.

I asked the plumber if he had ever been to my house before and he hung his head and admitted he had, I explained to him why I didn’t want him on the job. After a bit of discussion, I decided that “The quality of Mercy is not strained”, but that the plumber would only work when I could watch and that the fixtures in the new bath and kitchen would be upgraded at no cost to me or the contractor. He agreed and my final words to him were; “You know, what goes around, comes around!”

Davdan @ 2008-2018