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  1. Three years ago my wife and I bought a house and have been slowly fixing it up to where we want it to be, sometimes doing work ourselves, sometimes getting in trades-people.   We've had double glazing put in, roof windows put in, new external doors, some plastering, plumbing, metal work put up (balcony railings) and a new boiler installed.  With the exception of the plastering (a local guy with no official business or qualifications) we had problems with every single contracter we hired.   The window people did not seal up around the windows properly in 7 of the 9 windows they installed on the first run, and after a few weeks some of the trim they installed fell off and it was a fight to get them to take responsibility for it.   The people who installed the roof windows (roofing firm) didn't nail in some of the new joists they installed and I had to have them back, the guy was an absolute prick and acted like I'd really put him out, he then inspired confidence in me by offering to leave some of the nails with me in case I found more...   The external doors were fitted very badly, the guy installed the front door by drilling into the plaster and not the brickwork, the whole thing could be shook, it wasn't sealed, you could see where the plaster had broken outwards under the wallpaper, it was hard to open and close and was at a very slight angle, this was done via Toom, they came out twice and sent a Hörmann rep out to check it, they all seemed to be fine with the shoddy work, we had to hire a gutachter to check it who said it was an absolute joke and exposed a whole bunch of other problems we hadn't seen too.    The plumber smoked in the house and left beer bottles and cigarette ends on the upstairs balcony, plus I caught him in our bedroom once when I got home and he had no good reason as to why he was there. The company said they had spoken to him and were happy he had not acted inappropriately and also said they have told him to make sure he removes all trash from jobs in the future (no mention of asking him not to smoke in peoples houses or drink on the job).   The boiler guys didn't install the thermostat where we asked them to and flatout refused to move it, even after admitting it was their fault.   When the railings guys finished I checked the work and found that a lot of the masonry screws they used had been over-tightened and were just spinning in the holes they made so the whole railing was not properly secured, when I asked them about it they blamed our masonry, saying it was too old. I challenged them and asked them why they didn't say something before installing it unsafely (keeping in mind the balcony is second floor and needs to be secure) and they said it was not their responsibility.  Again, we had to get a guachter because the company refused to put it right and assured us it was fine (it was not), and the gutachter agreed with us, we are still waiting for them to put this right.  It was installed in February.   All of these firms are, as German law dictates, run by fully qualified people and charge an absolute premium for their work, plastering the word "Meister" all over their vans and paperwork, but the work is second rate, the attitudes are terrible and customer service is non existent. I would argue that from my lived experience their "Meister-ship" is worth less nothing.   I fully understand that all of the rules and regulations are supposed to be there to ensure quality of work and safety and also keep the economy rolling, but the only bloke who ever did a good job was the local with no qualifications who HAS to rely on word of mouth and reputation alone, he's also the only one I will definitely hire again.   We are going to have to hire a firm to lay the floor upstairs soon, and I'm totally at the end of my wits with it all, I don't have the energy to keep fighting it out with these people,  No matter how hard we search or what recommendations we get, there places always seem to be more interested in cutting corners and doing the work fast and not well.   In contrast, I have never had this problem in the UK. Of course people made mistakes, broke things or did a bad job from time to time, but most were honest mistakes and were rectified without the attitude and I certainly never had to resort to external experts or lawyers.   In short, what the hell is up with this?  are we just extremely unlucky or is this an accurate representation of what we are going to have to deal with every single time we have work done buy contractors in Germany?   * as an added extra, not construction related but still a similar thing, the caterer we hired for our wedding tried to charge us more than the amount we had agreed on after we had paid them in cash on the day (they sent us a mahnung/invoice a month later with added costs). We have just settled this through the courts where he lost, but this was ongoing for over 3 years and it was over an amount of 60€