A short time ago, a remodeler hired me to solve a dispute he had with a customer. He had been building an addition, and when he began framing the walls he discovered that the foundation slab was out of square. The concrete sub owned up to the mistake, and at no charge to the customer fixed the problem by removing and replacing parts of the slab. However, the customer was extremely unhappy with the delay this caused.

To smooth things over, the remodeler offered to upgrade the appliances and install crown molding in one room for free. The customer seemed satisfied with this arrangement — until later, when there was a unrelated problem with the windows. When the remodeler tried to resolve this new issue, the customer demanded to be compensated for both the...

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