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A mother was left fuming when two friends gave her a hefty bill for a service just months after hosting his family for free. 

Mumsnet user Tallyhodavey said a couple, who she had known for 15 years, stayed at her home in the Cotswolds for a holiday in the summer when their usual holiday let was booked up. 

Months later she needed advice on buying a property and when she asked the husband, an architect, for help he agreed and quoted his day rate. 

It quickly became apparent on the day that it would’t be a good idea to buy the property due to various issues, and the woman was shocked to still receive an invoice from her pal for a ‘not insignificant sum’ some time later. 

The woman said she felt ‘really aggrieved’, but commenters agreed that regardless of whether the house sale went through or not, her friend had been clear about his day rate from the start and insisted that she owes him for his time.  

Mumsnet user Tallyhodavey said a couple, who she had known for 15 years, stayed at her home in the Cotswolds for a holiday in the summer (file image)

Mumsnet user Tallyhodavey said a couple, who she had known for 15 years, stayed at her home in the Cotswolds for a holiday in the summer (file image)

Explaining the situation, the woman said that she’s been friends with the London-based couple for about 15 years and usually sees them once or twice a year. 

The summer after lockdown, they’d stayed at her home in the Cotswolds with their two boys for a week  

‘They accepted and we had a fun week. We provided bed and board for them and their two boys,’ she said. ‘We cooked etc. as I recall, they did bring some food with them. But the majority was provided by us. We were glad to do so.’

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A few months ago, the woman and her partner were buying a house and asked the architect husband for his advice.  

‘He told us his day rate – it would involve a day out of London, and he’d have to stay over with us,’ she said. ‘We happily put him up, cooked dinner, took him to lunch the next day after our site visit.

His services came with ‘loose plans’ for the new home, which included a brief report and advice on the layout.  

But the house was a ‘wreck’ and she pulled the plug on the deal after getting advice from their friend, a roofer and a builder, then they went out for lunch with her friend. 

Mumsnet user Tallyhodavey said a couple, who she had known for 15 years, stayed at her home in the Cotswolds for a holiday in the summer

Mumsnet user Tallyhodavey said a couple, who she had known for 15 years, stayed at her home in the Cotswolds for a holiday in the summer

She did not immediately receive an invoice and did not expect to get one until one popped up a few months later.

She was shocked because she made it clear to him that they were never going to buy the property. 

Fast forward a few months and she received the bill again, which she described as ‘not an insignificant sum’. 

In his message, he added that he would be in the Cotswolds in a few weeks and would ‘love to meet up’.

The mother asked users whether it was ‘reasonable’ to be so aggrieved. 

‘If we had bought the house, I could understand it,’ she said. ‘In the grand scheme of things, he had a week’s free holiday with us. 

‘I understand that we agreed his day rate in advance, but I would have expected under these circumstances that he might have waived it, or just asked for travel costs.

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‘It’s made me want to just pay it, and never speak to them again.’

However, she quickly found that people were on the side of her architect friend.  

One user put:  ‘He provided a service for you, so isn’t unreasonable of him to still invoice you. If he lost out financially for that, I think it’s only fair if a small amount.’

A second added: ‘You contracted his services. He told you his rates and then he made his visit. Whether you purchased or not is irrelevant. He still did his job.

‘This is precisely why business and pleasure should not mix and if they do, you should be very clear in your expectations and needs and also understand that of the other side.’

A third added: ‘This is the problem with having friends to do work for you. You need to separate the holiday and the architect side of things. The fact you didn’t end up buying the house is irrelevant, he still took a day out of London to help you.

However, some commenters sided with the woman and claimed that her friend should not take advantage of her hospitality and then turn it into a business transaction when he does her a favour

However, some commenters sided with the woman and claimed that her friend should not take advantage of her hospitality and then turn it into a business transaction when he does her a favour 

‘My husband is a plumber and we’ve come across these awkward situations with friends. Just pay it and move on.’ 

And a fourth wrote: ‘His professional work is in no way relatable to you hosting friends to stay at your house. He was very upfront, and the fact that you didn’t buy it is irrelevant. Actually, it is relevant – I bet he saved you a bloody fortune with his professional advice, that he studied for years to learn his trade.

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‘If the staying with you thing aggrieves you, could you suggest a nice weekend in London?’

While a fifth wrote: ‘He told you his day rate, which you agreed. He came when you asked, put his professional skills and knowledge at your disposal, and helped you make an informed decision which means you avoided buying a money pit. He deserves to be paid for the time he spent.

‘This is why I hate my husband doing jobs for friends and family. It’s always harder to get people we know to pay him a fair rate for his skills and abilities.’

However, a handful of people were on the woman’s side with one agreeing he should have taken the free holiday into account. 

‘This is a situation where you have to pay him because you agreed to do so. But, I am on your side,’ one said. 

‘A decent person would understand and acknowledge the kindness you showed in saving them many hundreds of pounds by letting them stay in your house free for a week for their holiday, providing and cooking most of the food and many other things. 

‘And he would have at least given a discount because of that, and you didn’t even buy the house which of course makes the full charge all the more rankling.’ 

Another agreed, adding: ‘Personally I would be disappointed in a so called friend who had taken such full advantage of my hospitality and then became penny pinching when they had an opportunity to return the favour.’ 

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