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Concreters destroying a driveway | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane
Concreters destroying a driveway | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Builders Destroy Concrete Driveway They Built After Homeowner Refuses to Pay

Salwa Nadeem
Jun 26, 2024
12:24 P.M.

In a shocking turn of events, a disagreement over payment led to a dramatic scene where a concreter destroyed the driveway he had just built. The incident has sparked a heated debate online, dividing opinions on who was in the right.

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Conflicts between employees and employers are a common thing, but things rarely go as explosively viral as the case involving a concreter and a driveway.

A concreter smashing a concrete driveway, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

A concreter smashing a concrete driveway, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

In a scene more befitting a demolition derby than a construction project, a concreter named Jesse Crowe from Logan, Queensland, took the internet by storm with his unorthodox response to a payment dispute.

Instead of lawsuits or angry phone calls, Crowe opted for a dramatic display of destruction. Crowe, armed with pickaxes, wasn't laying the finishing touches – he was demolishing the very driveway he had just built for homeowner Viola.

But what sparked this jaw-dropping act of vengeance? Was the concrete demonstrably poor quality, or was there a deeper misunderstanding at play?

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Two concreters smashing a concrete driveway, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Two concreters smashing a concrete driveway, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

The job was quoted at $6,000, with Viola reportedly paying a $2,500 deposit. However, the situation quickly escalated when Viola refused to pay the remaining balance, citing issues with the quality of work and additional fees.

In response, Crowe took to social media to document his drastic reaction.

In a video posted online, Crowe and his co-worker can be seen using pickaxes to destroy the freshly laid concrete.

"This is what happens when you don’t want to pay for work carried out at your place," Crowe declared in the clip.

Jesse Crowe speaking about the incident, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Jesse Crowe speaking about the incident, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

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The disagreement between Crowe and Viola centers on the terms of the job and the quality of the finished product.

According to Crowe, the agreed-upon price was $6,000, with Viola making a $2,500 deposit. However, Viola claims the total was $5,000, with her paying a $3,500 deposit.

Viola expressed dissatisfaction with the finished driveway, specifically pointing out the lack of reinforcement mesh or expansion grooves, which she had expected.

Viola speaking about the incident, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Viola speaking about the incident, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Additionally, she was unhappy with the unexpected cost of rubbish removal, which she claimed was not included in the original quote.

"I was treated as a thief, as a crook," Viola told 7News. "They did what they wanted, not what I wanted."

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Crowe, on the other hand, defended his work, stating that his team used bar chip instead of steel, which he claims is equivalent to 72 mesh.

Despite his assertions of quality, Viola remained firm in her refusal to pay the remaining balance.

Viola speaking to the interviewer, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Viola speaking to the interviewer, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

After Viola's refusal to settle the payment, Crowe decided to take matters into his own hands.

He threatened to destroy the driveway if she did not pay up. "You pay now. Now. Or we will smash the concrete," Crowe reportedly told Viola.

On the day the video was recorded, Crowe and his team arrived at Viola's house with pickaxes in hand and began breaking up the concrete.

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The footage shows chunks of wet concrete flying as they smashed the driveway they had recently completed.

The damaged concrete floor, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

The damaged concrete floor, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

"Should have paid … Now it’s going to cost more to get it all dug up, taken away, and poured again," the man behind the camera can be heard saying.

Crowe admitted to Kidspot that this was not the first time he had threatened to destroy someone’s concrete slab over a payment dispute. However, he claimed it was the first time he had actually followed through with the threat.

Jesse Crowe speaking to the interviewer, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Jesse Crowe speaking to the interviewer, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

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"It comes to a point where you’re in the trade for a long time, and you’re doing the right thing by people, and they don’t want to pay at the end of the day, so what are you gonna do?" Crowe explained to 7News.

Despite the destructive outcome, Crowe expressed regret over the situation. "I don’t like destroying something I’ve just built. I take pride in my work," he said.

Jesse Crowe recounting what happened, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Jesse Crowe recounting what happened, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

The incident occurred last year but was posted online in January 2024. The video quickly ignited a firestorm on social media, with viewers passionately taking sides in the comment sections.

Some sided with Viola, questioning the quality of the work. One Facebook user remarked, "Did you see the concrete quality they were digging up? I wouldn't have accepted that concrete either!"

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Another chimed in, "Must have been bad concrete if they could come back days later and dig holes in it! Should have dried by then."

Close-up of people working with cement | Source: Pexels

Close-up of people working with cement | Source: Pexels

Some viewers even questioned the legality of Crowe's actions.

"Pretty sure that would be illegal! As a contractor, once something is installed you cannot just uninstall it. They have to go through court to get a judgment against their customer," argued one commenter.

However, Crowe also garnered significant support. Many viewers sympathized with his frustration, believing Viola was wrong to withhold payment.

A woman using a phone | Source: Pexels

A woman using a phone | Source: Pexels

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Comments like "Good on them [Crowe]. They have to pay for the product before they lay it. So they should get the money when requested!" and "This person should be ashamed of not paying, this is someone's livelihood. I'd do the same" echoed throughout the online debate.

Others went further, accusing Viola of theft of labor.

"Well, it's theft of their labor. Despicable people watching them work knowing full well they had no intention to pay them. They have family to feed and bills to pay!" one user wrote.

Close-up of a construction worker's hand | Source: freepik.com

Close-up of a construction worker's hand | Source: freepik.com

The sentiment was echoed by another viewer who stated, "Good for them. If people think they can get work done for nothing then they have to accept the consequences."

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Viola maintains that she would have paid the remaining balance if Crowe had completed the job to her satisfaction.

Meanwhile, the damaged driveway remains a sore point for Viola's family, who plan to repair it themselves. The situation serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of clear communication and written agreements in business transactions.

Viola during an interview, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

Viola during an interview, from a video dated January 8, 2024 | Source: Facebook/7NEWS Brisbane

This dramatic incident highlights the potential pitfalls of contractor-homeowner disputes. While Crowe felt justified in his actions due to what he perceived as an unfair refusal to pay, Viola believed her complaints about the quality of work and unexpected fees were valid.

As opinions continue to be divided, the incident underscores the need for clear contracts and transparent communication in any business arrangement to avoid such drastic outcomes.

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My BIL Asked Me to Renovate His House and Refused to Pay For It, but Karma Caught up with Him Soon

Thanks to my job, this saga has been unfolding for the past couple of years. It involves my brother-in-law Jeff, a hefty renovation project, and an ocean of drama. Strap in because it's quite a ride!

An upset man on the phone | Source: Pexels

An upset man on the phone | Source: Pexels

A few years back, Jeff approached me with a big ask. He wanted me to renovate his dingy, unfinished basement. He wanted the full works—several rooms, a bathroom, a kitchenette, and a family room. We weren't as close, but I saw it as nothing more than a client's ask.

As I run a renovation business, he trusted me to take on the project. Given we were family, I offered him a solid discount, pricing the whole job at $38,000. This was incredibly generous considering that a similar ask would cost him about three times the price I gave, on average.

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A room under construction | Source: Pexels

A room under construction | Source: Pexels

While reconstructing his basement, Jeff would ask for changes here and there. He did this despite already approving the floor plan and layout.

Fast forward to the completion of the renovation. The basement was transformed. What was once a dark, uninviting space became a vibrant, living area. Jeff was satisfied, to say the least.

Staricase in a modern household | Source: Pexels

Staricase in a modern household | Source: Pexels

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However, when it came time for payment, Jeff turned evasive. Each attempt to discuss his dues was met with excuses or delayed promises. About half a year later, his excuses began to turn into signs that he wouldn't pay at all. He NEVER paid. He always had excuses, and he'd throw around lines like:

“We’re like real brothers now that you married my sister, would you ask for money from your brother?”

A cheerful young man | Source: Pexels

A cheerful young man | Source: Pexels

I tried talking to my wife about the situation, but she was supportive of her brother. She defended him and tried to persuade me to forget the payment. However, I had already shelled out my own money for this. I paid for the materials and the wages of my workers.

Two years of this dance passed. Then, Jeff needed to sell his house. His fiancée landed a job in a different city, and they agreed to move to accommodate her work. Suddenly, he called me on the phone. His voice was a mixture of anger and panic.

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An angry man on the phone | Source: Pexels

An angry man on the phone | Source: Pexels

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! Why can't I sell my house?!" he exclaimed.

"Because you haven’t paid me for the work I did. That lien is quite real, Jeff," I replied with a slight giggle.

The silence on the other end was palpable. You could cut the tension with a knife. Jeff promised, again, to pay as soon as the house sold. He even tried to guilt trip me into saying he was like my brother, but I wasn't buying it this time. I replied:

"No, Jeff. Pay me what you owe, then we talk removal."

A man sitting on a bench | Source: Pexels

A man sitting on a bench | Source: Pexels

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It wasn’t just me he tried to manipulate; he even tried to pull my wife, his sister, into his financial mess. One evening, in our own living room, he tried to guilt her into covering his expenses. That was when she switched to my side.

"You’re my older sister, that’s what sisters do, help out."

"Jeff, paying for your responsibilities isn't helping, that’s enabling. You need to settle your debts."

His audacity to twist familial bonds for his gain shocked us both. But when that didn't work, he turned to my parents-in-law, hoping to tug on their heartstrings. They called, voices heavy with concern.

Click here to find out what happened next.

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