We had some big trees that needed to be removed from our block - got several quotes.
Decided on a contractor we liked and got him to come back and take another look at the job, just to confirm he could do the job. He decided it was actually a bigger job than he first thought and wrote us out another quote (quote 2) - we thought quote 2 was too high and negotiated a reduced price on the spot - he changed the price on the quote to reflect the new price (quote 3).
We agreed that he could keep the timber and that after the job was complete and we'd paid that he could have some extra time to remove the timber from our yard as he was going to slab it and sell it to recover some costs. He indicated that the job would take approx 1-2 weeks and that he would need about 2 weeks extra for the timber removal.
We paid a deposit and he started work about 3 days later. This was about a month ago now.
During tree removal he went several times and did cash jobs for neighbours (at least 4 we know of just in our street). There were some days he couldn't work due to high winds etc.
Damages - one neighbour's shed crushed and fence pulled down, one neighbour's concrete slab smashed. One lattice fence smashed, gutter from our 3 bay shed ripped off.
He kept asking for progress payments through all this which we paid (was not discussed prior to work starting though).
Finally after 4 weeks, all trees were down and our garden looked like a lumbar yard. He demanded full payment and we said we'll pay you when the damages are fixed. He went off his tree (!) and started abusing my DH saying he was going to smash his head in etc.
He emailed saying his quote was going to change, then put quote 2 in our letterbox and said that we now owed him extra for this (it was a carbon copy that he had ripped out of the book before he changed the price). We responded by saying we would pay the original quote as agreed - he even wrote 'Fixed-price guarantee' on quote 3!
Last Friday DH went and bought a new shed for the neighbour (as we were tired of waiting and our neighbour is elderly and we wanted to make things right for her) and we built it on Saturday and said to the tree guy (who had come to fix the slab) that we'd take the price of the shed off his bill - he agreed to this.
On Sunday we paid him a further progress payment to show good will as he had started repairs and stated that the remaining amount would be paid when repairs were completed.
He has now come back again saying we have to pay him the increased quote and that if we don't he will take us to the small claims court.