We have a new construction residential build. At the recommendation of friends, we chose a different stonemason than our GC usually uses and we have been managing him directly. We have no contract with him. We signed the original estimate of $17,500 and paid a materials deposit of $8,000. Issues with the workmanship occurred and he became very defensive and difficult to deal with. Everything from that point forward occurred through email, with his girlfriend we think writing them. They proposed a final price that included a discount of $2,000 and we agreed to that amount and they termed it the "the final price of the project is $13,752." This is in addition to the $8000 materials payment we had already made. He then finished the rest of the project.
We asked for receipts for all the materials and in gathering those he realized the materials cost was $2500 more than he had factored into that "final price of the project." He said he was unaware how much the difference was until then and demanded we pay for it. We negotiated some of that down, but he is still pushing back on more of it and we feel we have used good faith but are no longer interested in negotiating with him. We did not agree to any cost overruns in advance above the $13,752 + $8,000. It feels like the extra materials is a bait and switch. We want to push back and say that the only thing we agreed to was the $13,752 and that is now all we will pay.
However, we are concerned that he will put a lien on our build if he does not get the full amount he is now demanding. Negotiating it down, it sits at $1,000 more than the $13,752. So we are talking about not that much in the big picture. We also simply cannot afford to get into a legal fight with him or deal with a lien waiver. On principle, it feels wrong to cave to his demands (especially given his tone and previous conduct), but we also do not know if it is worth the fight. I have multiple debilitating health issues, am recovering from cancer and we are trying to finish building a home with my husband doing most of the remainder of the work himself. We have a lot of other things to be doing with our time, energy and money. So, we are trying to determine if there is any wisdom in pushing back and saying we are not obligated to pay for any costs above what we agreed to at the $13,752 balance due. So I suppose to make a better decision, we would like to know:
Without an explicit contract, are we legally obligated to pay for anything a tradesman brings to us after the fact that he did not disclose and get approval for in advance?
I have not been able to find a license number for him. Are stonemasons in Idaho licensed? If not and he does not have a license, can he file a mechanic's lien?
We are trusting souls who clearly made a bad decision. We just want to be treated fairly and find peace with all of this. Thank you for any help or guidance you can provide.
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