Alaigbe James (not the actual name), a resident of Ikorodu Lagos, has accused Luxedos Design, an interior decoration company, of refusing to deliver the kitchen cabinets he paid N2.3 million for.
Alaigbe told FIJ that he had on February 14 contracted Tiana Tolunloju, the company’s creative director, for the construction of a set of kitchen cabinets for his new building project.
The contract saw both parties agreeing to the company’s subsisting payment modality.
“I decided to give the job to Tiana not because of price – her price was the second highest – but because she did the 3D design and could deliver what we wanted. Also, I contracted her because of the relationship we’d built over the past months and my expectations were that there would be no issues with the transaction,” he told FIJ.
According to the information at FIJ’s disposal, a client is expected to pay 80 percent of the total sum up front and 20 percent balance upon completion of the project.
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Alaigbe told FIJ that he made the initial payment to the tune of N2,304,000, and they both agreed to a delivery period of three weeks.
On February 13, the company sent Alaigbe an email conveying the payment modalities.
“Before I made the payment of NGN2,304,000 on February 14, I discussed the modalities of payment with Tiana and she said I’d pay 80 percent of the total cost (NGN2,880,000) as the initial payment, and then 20 percent upon completion,” he said.
Two days after the payment, the company workers, led by Tiana, visited the site for measurement. The trouble started when Alaigbe could not get a straightforward response on when the work would begin.
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On February 28, the company sent to the client a revised invoice which indicated a new payment policy. The new policy, according to him, would now require him to make the payment before the completion of the project.
“It came as a shock to me when she sent a revised invoice after payment had been made, and before the cabinets were even installed, that their company policy now required that I pay the total sum before the completion of the project,” Alaigbe told FIJ.
Although, according to him, a portion of the contract had been fulfilled, it would not equate to the 80 percent I had paid when a contractual agreement was still on course.
“The service delivered is not up to the 80 percent I already paid,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, the total cost of the cabinet is NGN2,280,000. Her workmanship is 30 percent of the total cost but discounted to NGN600,000.”
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“In fairness, part of the kitchen cabinet has been installed. However, changing the contract midway between the job without my consent is a breach of contract. It is also criminal to stop the project until full payment is made.
“After that call, I reviewed the progress of work done at the site compared to what was in the 3D design. I found out that it was completely different from what was in the design. And she didn’t tell me when there was going to be a change in plan.
“My rent is due by March end. She’s aware I’m trying to move into the building by the end of March. Perhaps, that’s the reason she’s holding me to ransom. Why would I pay for another rent when my house project is almost ready?”
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Alaigbe told FIJ he had made efforts, including legal mediational means, to resolve the issue, but the company did not seem to appreciate his compromise.
LAGOS STATE’S CITIZEN MEDIATION CENTRE COMES IN
On March 6, Mr Alaigbe took the issue to the Lagos State’s Citizen Mediation Centre to seek quick redress on the issue. This, according to him, came after efforts to reach a compromise with the company proved unsuccessful.
Lagos State Citizen Mediation Centre was established to ensure that people of Lagos state have access to justice through alternative dispute resolution mediation.
However, on March 15, the day the centre had set aside to entertain the matter, the Company Director, Tiana, failed to show up.
“I brought her to Citizen’s Mediation Center, but she didn’t show up. All calls put to her were not picked. One of the representatives at the citizen mediation centre even called her with her phone twice, but she didn’t pick,” Alaigbe told FIJ.
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“I’ve tried all means to resolve this issue, but she didn’t give a damn. In fact, according to her, the ball is in my court,” he said.
“She’s insisting I pay the balance of NGN576,000 before she can complete the project. If the N500,000 I paid for the 3D design were to be deducted, I’m only owing her 76,000. Is she holding me to ransom because of N76,000 after I paid over N2.3 million for cabinets?
“She said woodwork would be completed on March 6. Her artisans didn’t arrive until March 7, and the wood work wasn’t completed by the time they left the site. Since March 7, there has been no communication from Tiana regarding the progress of the job.
“In fact, on March 5, she said I could do anything I liked when I told her I’d seek every means within my power to ensure she did the right thing.”
Efforts by FIJ to hear from Luxedos Design Company on the issue were frustrated on several occasions by the company.
The company’s creative director, Tiana, declined to make comments on the issue when FIJ reached out to her on the telephone on Monday and Tuesday.
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