Fair Go: Auckland woman left waiting on fencing repair job

Source: Fair Go

Fair Go’s heard its fair share of fencing woes, but rarely has it come across one involving concrete.

Aucklander Nellie Rhodes needed four of her fence's concrete posts replaced with wooden ones, because they were deteriorating, causing the fence to fall over.

It's not the biggest fencing job Fair Go's ever seen, but it was too big for Nellie.

She found help through a website called Goodnest. She thought that it was a reputable company.

Goodnest is a New Zealand-owned online hub that matches contractors with jobs, typically around the home. People post what they need done and contractors apply to take the job on.

It was Marcus Jeffries from a company called J's Moving NZ, who was matched with Nellie. This was in November last year.

"He came round looked at the job and I said to him that I wanted the top railings replaced and all the posts replaced with wooden fences," says Nellie.

But Marcus said he could fix her concrete posts.

Fencing guru Nick Liefting says that although concrete posts are a good post, "when it cracks, the water gets into the reinforcing and it rusts and it explodes the concrete off it".

This is the reason 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 that same week.

The work done on her fence so far though, has left Nellie to "fence" for herself.

"He's done the four posts but only partially," Nellie says.

"He hasn't patched it like he said he would and the wire rods are still showing there. He's come and tried to patch it up and he's cut down the top railings off one of the posts and that's it".

Nick has seen Nellie's fence too and says his first impression was that the job was done by someone who wasn't experienced in concrete work.

"What he was doing, you might as well say it was a band aid repair," he says.

"If I did this job, I would put a new post in beside it, then I'd get the concrete saw and cut the concrete post off, not take it out just cut it off the ground."

Marcus also asked for an extra $350 to finish the job.

"I said you can't do that," Nellie says.

"You need to honour the quote that you've given me".

But according to Marcus the job wasn't originally quoted properly, and told Nellie the actual cost of the job was $2070. Nellie had already paid $1720, so $350 was left.

"In the end I agreed to pay the extra money, once he'd completed the job," Nellie says.

But consumer law says that a quote is an exact price. Once you accept it, the service provider can't charge you more than the agreed price unless you agree to extra work, or the scope of the job changes along the way. Neither of which applied to Nellie's job.

Marcus got in touch with Fair Go and says:

"(Nellie) wanted it to be done to a perfect finish and originally it just needed to be usable.

"We also quoted to replace the posts but to remove that fence would require some serious man power the kind we just didn't have.

"The quote to replace was considerably higher than to repair and so the repair was opted for."

But still months later and the job's not done, so Nellie tried to get help from Goodnest too.

She couldn't get through, so Fair Go got in touch with Jamie Ford from Goodnest.

"We've identified the accounts linked to J's Moving NZ and Marcus Jeffries. Based on the star rating and reviews, we've disabled these accounts," Jamie says.

"This doesn't prevent someone from creating a new one, which is why reviews are important."

Nellie has since asked for a refund, and she's spent $600 on replacement posts

She will also try her luck at the Disputes Tribunal later this month, but in the meantime, doesn't want others to go through the same thing.

“He just needs to be stopped, he will continue doing this to other people and I just don’t think it’s right”.