Goods and Services Received by Customer, Now They Are Refusing to Pay


I am a concreter and provided my services to a customer. They have paid majority but decided that they would short pocket $1500 on the initial and agreed quote without telling me. When I questioned him why payment was less than agreed amount he stated that he has a daily transfer limit. Days went by and then weeks, so I began to contact him again and he said that his not happy and he wanted gutter edging around his garden bed. I told him I could do the edging for him but this was never agreed on in the initial quote or on the plans provided.

To avoid frustration, I came to a verbal agreement with him that he could just pay half the balance owing which is $750. This was 2 weeks ago yet still no payment. I've tried to contact him numerous amounts of times but he has obviously ignored all communication.

I am a start up small business and income isn't steady and this puts a massive kick to the system. I have spoken to some of my mates that are in the same industry and some say the work is technically still mine until full payment has been received and if I wanted to I could go back to site and lift my work up? I'm trying to avoid going down this route as I just want to get paid.

I had a look at VCAT but it seems that going down this avenue might actually be costly for the amount I'm chasing.

Wanting to know your thoughts?


  • Wanting to know your thoughts?

    See a lawyer. Many have a short visit for free.

    • Over $750?

      • +6

        Might as well go after the full $1500. Even if the whole fee is paid to the lawyer, better for the lawyer to pocket the money than the freeloader.

      • Over $750?

        So what's wrong about getting some advice from a professional for free?

        The amount owing for services rendered is immaterial, and $750 for a small business may be a lot of money.

        • Unless that business is a law firm, then 750 isn’t all that much

  • +17

    Go back with a core bore and take back $1500 worth of concrete.

    • +1

      Not going to lie, this has crossed my mind several times although I'm reluctant if there is reprecussions from this.

      • +1

        OR gift him some more concrete … randomly on his lawn and garden beds and entry to his home. :)

      • I know would be tempting, but I wouldn't recommend

  • +2

    I feel for you as the tradie and also as a consumer. If they signed agreements for the amount and the amount isn't paid. Serve notice with an outstanding invoice if you haven't already and threaten that you will take legal action in 14 days if not paid. If you haven't already sent that reminder invoice. Then you might need to try and see how much it will cost for a solicitor to write them a nice letter stating their obligation under the agreement, that you will take further legal action or take up the concrete. IMO. Its annoying, but this is part of business unfortunately. Good Luck. Maybe small claims another avenue.

    If the guys hasn't said there's an issue with your work then payment is due.

  • -3

    Get these things in writing and dated.

  • +1

    Forget VCAT as although you may win the case they have no power to enforcement payment. You would need to then go to the Magistrates Court, with all of the added cost and even then you may not get your money.

    • what else can vcat do? Even if the finding is for you, that's it? The other party can still just ignore?

      • You need a higher court to enforce if it doesn't get paid, at which time you could also seek costs on top of the original amount.

        If the other party is a listed company, the best way to get payment is down the statutory demand route.

  • +2

    Go there and give him a stern talking too. Be polite but firm and ask for the money within 24hours. Bring someone with you if he seems like he might be aggressive. You may wish to record the conversation on your phone too using voice memos on iphone will do the trick
    I'd say he has lost the ability to get any discount due to the lateness of his payment at this stage. Usually when someone is a late payer try to slap on an additional fee rather than discount, as I think people then start to take advantage.
    From there it's your call. You should win at VCAT but it might take a bit of effort. I would only tear it up if you know he isn't there and you have exhausted any possibility of getting the funds.

    Good luck dealing with this bastard. People like him are very rare and hopefully you go the rest of your career without this ever happening again.

    • I've been there a couple of times to have a chat and he hasn't been on site. This is a property that he is building and then I guess he plans to sell or rent out.
      I should have added additional fees but wasn't thinking at the time that people like this exist. I just wanted to get paid and move on.
      A real kick to the gut when starting out.

  • I'd do VCAT as unfortunately this won't be last time this happens so you will need some practice.

    You may be able to sell the debt to a professional debt collector if you get an outcome from VCAT. You wont get 100% of it back maybe 50%

  • +1

    Go and see a debt collector

  • -1

    I know nothing about this - but could you put a caveat on the property title?

  • +1

    15 replies and no mention of bikies yet?


  • If you installed concrete the chances are it is now a fixture and title has passed.
    That means you can't just go and rip it back up.
    Go through VCAT.

  • I can imagine how infuriating it would be.

    Sue the F-head and then put up signs to warn other contractors that come on site so that work on the property never finishes to allow the sale or lease.

  • +1

    You can represent yourself, VCAT is very accomodating, you dont need a lawyer really, and for that amount of money its definitely not worth paying for one.

  • People like him are very rare

    That's hilarious.

    • No it's not. I've been in a contractor business for many years and have only had 2 instances where people didn't pay the full amount. Word of mouth goes a long way and eventually all your business will come from referrals, meaning that people are even less likely to pull this shit.

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