Fair Go has heard its fair share of fencing issues, but it has rarely encountered one involving concrete.
Aucklander Nellie Rhodes needed four of her concrete fence posts replaced with wooden posts as they were deteriorating causing the fence to fall.
It’s not the biggest fencing job Fair Go has ever seen, but it was too big for Nellie.
She found help on a website called Goodnest. I thought it was a reputable company, she said.
Goodnest is a New Zealand-owned online hub that connects entrepreneurs with jobs, usually around the home. People post what they have to do and contractors apply to take the job.
It was Marcus Jeffries from a company called J’s Moving NZ, who was paired up with Nellie. It was last November.
“He came to see the work and I told him I wanted the top railings replaced and all the posts replaced with wooden fences,” Nellie explains.
But Marcus said he could fix his concrete posts.
Fencing guru Nick Liefting says that although concrete posts are good posts, “when they crack, water enters the rebar and it rusts and causes the concrete to explode”.
This is why Nellie wanted them replaced, but says Marcus reassured her that he would get the job done.
Marcus quoted Nellie $1720 to do the job and she paid the full amount the same week.
However, the work done on her fence so far has left Nellie to “fence” herself.
“He did all four positions but only partially,” says Nellie.
“He didn’t patch it up like he said he would and the wire rods are still visible there. He came and tried to patch it up and he cut the top railings off one of the posts and that’s all”.
Nick also saw Nellie’s fence and says his first impression was that the work was being done by someone with no experience working with concrete.
“What he was doing, you might as well say it was a band-aid repair,” he says.
“If I was doing this job, I would put a new post next to it, then take the concrete saw and cut the concrete post, not pull it out, just cut it out of the ground.”
Marcus also requested an additional $350 to complete the job.
“I said you couldn’t do that,” Nellie said.
“You must honor the citation you gave me.”
But according to Marcus, the job was originally incorrectly quoted and told Nellie the actual cost of the job was $2070. Nellie had already paid $1720, so there was $350 left.
“In the end, I agreed to pay the extra money, once he finished the job,” Nellie says.
But consumer law says that a quote is an exact price. Once you accept it, the service provider cannot charge you more than the agreed price unless you accept additional work or the scope of work changes along the way. Neither applied to Nellie’s work.
Marcus contacted Fair Go and said:
“(Nellie) wanted it done with a perfect finish and originally it just needed to be usable.
“We also offered to replace the posts, but to remove this fence would require serious manpower of the kind that we simply did not have.
“The quote to replace was considerably higher than to repair and that’s why repair was chosen.”
But still months later and the job isn’t done, so Nellie tried to get help from Goodnest as well.
She couldn’t pass, so Fair Go contacted Goodnest’s Jamie Ford.
“We have identified accounts linked to J’s Moving NZ and Marcus Jeffries. Based on star ratings and reviews, we have deactivated these accounts,” says Jamie.
“It doesn’t stop someone from creating a new one, which is why reviews are important.”
Nellie has since requested a refund, and she spent $600 on replacement poles
She will also try her luck at the Dispute Tribunal later this month, but in the meantime she doesn’t want others to go through the same thing.
“He just needs to be stopped, he will continue to do this to other people and I don’t think that’s right.”