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longtresses's avatar

Cheated by gardeners - anything else Auntie could've done differently?

Asked by longtresses (1319 points ) February 13th, 2012

Recently my aunt hired independent gardeners to make over the entire backyard of her house. Obviously nothing had to be written down or signed, Auntie paid in cash. Being the type that knew every cent in her wallet and possessing impossibly sticky fingers, she got into an argument with gardeners when they returned the next day, claiming she’d missed one $100 bill. In the end, feeling betrayed and cheated but unable to negotiate well, she yielded.

She said she double-counted, triple-counted, etc., the wad before handing it over to the men. I asked her if she counted the bills IN FRONT OF them, like cashiers would; no, she didn’t.

My question: Was there anything Auntie could have done differently? Would counting the bills in front of the men prevent this kind of occurrence? Do you have similar stories to share? Much thanks for any input.

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6 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Perhaps next time she should pay bills with a check. And why shouldn’t independent gardeners present a detailed bill, with labor, time, and materials?

This is a “he said, she said” issue, which has no solution.

If you pay in cash, you have no way of verifying anything, unless you bring in a third neutral party as a witness or your lawyer.

wundayatta's avatar

Obviously, she could have paid by check. Or credit card. If the gardeners accepted such and “auntie” had such.

They should have given her a receipt at the time. She should have asked for one. But I guess people aren’t used to handling cash anymore. Why did she pay with cash? Was it a lower price?

longtresses's avatar

@gailcalled Right, in cash you can’t verify anything. Maybe be more careful with “he said, she said” kind of agreement next time.
@wundayatta Right, it makes sense for her to ask for a receipt, have them count in front of her, and maybe find a third-party to witness the transaction. This would end the deal.

It was a cash-only deal. You know, independent gardeners.. She asked her friends for this referral..

auhsojsa's avatar

Here is what always has to be done. Write out a contract. Handwritten, whatever, have their signature to say the least. I have a similar story. My mother in law being it that she’s super nice, and what not hired a fence maker for a project job. The bill was 50/50 us and the neighbor because it was a fence job. The deal was 1000$ for the whole job, not including the materials. He made it well on the flat all by himself. He did ¼ of the hill and then never came back. My mother in law felt bad for the guy and convinced the neighbor to pay the guy in increments. He was paid in full due to naivety and he didn’t come back. Contracts, contracts, contracts. This is the real world. We can sue where due needs to be paid.

longtresses's avatar

@auhsojsa Ugh for contractors who did half the job then disappeared.

Bellatrix's avatar

The only other thing she could have done (apart from suggestions already made) is get them to count it in front of her.

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