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Paying the Plumber


I hired a plumber to install the plumbing for a new bathroom I was making in my basement. I was doing all the work personally, except for the plumbing, and when he came for the estimate I suggested that it should be a cheaper job, as anything other than the piping (and a few other parts) I would do myself, and he would just need to tell me what he needs done and where. He agreed that it would save costs, and he gave me an estimate of $1200 (I am pretty sure that is what it was, but it is possible it is $1500). Nothing was in writing, and part of the reason is because the job would be done without any permits. It was a good while (probably a half a year) before he actually would do the project. When he was mostly through with the job he asked for some payment. As of then I didn’t pay anything, even a deposit. At that point I asked him how much to pay then, and I don’t remember how much he asked for, but I remember that it was surprisingly high, so I asked him about this, and he said the entire job is $5000. I told him that he initially said $1200, and he was surprised to hear that I thought that, as he said that he would never do a job under $3000. We agreed then that I would pay $1000 then and then when he finished the job another $1500, for a total of $2500. (Some of the other numbers are a little fuzzy in my memory as this all happened a while ago, but these numbers I know for sure.) I paid him the $1000, and he finished the job, and he never asked me for payment again. I know I need to finish paying him, but how much? Does this qualify as a Hitu Zeh Es Zeh type of situation, as there is no reason not to go like our original deal? I am aware that the $1200 number is only an estimate and things can come up to adjust the price, but he never claimed anything of the nature that this was harder, or something came up, just he thought the price agreement was higher. I don’t think I would have ever hired him if I knew he would charge $5000 or probably even $3000 or $2500. It is hard to say after the fact. I do know that I wasn’t thinking Hitu Zeh Es Zeh when I agreed to the $2500. I felt pressured into agreeing to the $2500, because he made it seem like I was making it up, and because he still had to finish the job, and I would be left with an unfinished job.
I am aware that you can’t arbitrate this disagreement, as I am approaching you without the other side, but I am only looking for what I have to do. If he wants to go to a Rov or Beis Din I would go willingly, but he hasn’t even asked for anything since the day I paid him $1000.




What has to be done here is to find out from other plumbers what the going price for such a job is. If it is similar to his price, then he is right, and you would have to pay him what he deserves. However it is like the rice you are saying then you can pay him what you made up.

Best wishes


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