I got shafted by a contractor - what to do?

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In the middle of a $15,000 kitchen remodel my "self-proclaimed" contractor was put in jail. It was 3 weeks ago and he failed to finish the job. I had a contract with him in which I paid $3500 a week until the job was finished. The bad part is I had already paid him $12,500 when he went to jail. I have since hired a new "professional" contractor to bail me out (for $3000) and along with my 80+ hours of labor and $1000 in materials. Lot's of the work had to be redone.
The dead beat is out of jail now and He will not talk to me. He said that he had 2 days on left on this job before he left, and that he doesn't owe me anything. I have spent 2 weeks fixing his work and it's still not complete. I have since found out that he is not even licensed and probably doesn't have insurance. I have learned a valuable lesson - about checking license numbers...bonded, insured etc..but it's too late for this deal. Either way, I really want to burn this guy, before he burns someone else, but now I don't have a lot of money to pay court fees. I have been told that here in FL - even if I win in court, there is no guarantee that I'll ever see a dime of my money back.
What are my options?
eodx2_at_cox.net
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HomeBrewer wrote:

You have one option. See a local attorney. Laws are not the same everywhere so you need a local legal professional.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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I know you are mad but what are you realy out in $ . You say it was a 15000 job and you paid 15500? Sure you paid a premium to get in someone else, but that was your decision alone, you could of waited. He did not plan on getting arested. What if he was in the hospital, would that have made a difference? If so then I dont see your point.
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On Thu, 30 Jun 2005 06:06:57 -0500, HomeBrewer wrote:

Unless you want to flush some more money down the drain, you have no options. Take the lesson you mentioned above, and move along.
--
If you\'re not on the edge, you\'re taking up too much space.
Linux Registered User #327951
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Dan C wrote:

Ditto.
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In my state, contracting without a license is a felony. Merely offering to do work for a preset amount constitutes contracting, and no work has to be performed.
If you want to cut your losses and run, that would be smart. If you want to contact your contractor board and see if they will prosecute, you may get legal punishment, but probably will never see any money.
A major kitchen remodel with no checking of licenses or insurance.
WHAT THE F*** WERE YOU THINKING!
Steve
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And probably - change the locks.
Bob
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HomeBrewer wrote:

Just because someone else has shown an ability to do better work does not mean this guy shafted you. Looks like he showed up, and put his best foot forward. I don't see how he could finish the job if he is in jail, nor how that makes him a dead-beat. He had a pretty good excuse...
If you found someone better that is fine. But don't feel shafted by somebody that did the best he could do, even if it was inferior. Perhaps the person that shafted you is the one that recommended him for the job.
--
Respectfully,


CL Gilbert
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If you can prove that you had to pay someone else $500 more for labor and $1000 for materials to complete the job than it would have cost had he completed it, then you have a case. But you need to be able to prove that it was for the same scope of work, not for something extra. I hope you took lots of photos of the poor/missing work. You could also sue for the the hours you had to put in, but that is difficult to prove. How good a case you have is questionable. His defense is going to be that he was in jail for 3 weeks and would have completed it when he got out. You could take him to small claims court, but he'll likely file a counter suit for the balance you owed him. It's up to a judge to decide if he breeched the contract by winding up in jail or if you did by calling in someone else instead of waiting 3 weeks. If a contractor did this after ripping out the only toilet in the house, IMO, calling someone else in is perfectly reasonable. On the other hand, if it was some trim work left to do, 3 weeks may not be an unreasonable amount of time to wait.
As someone else has told you, getting a judgement and collecting it are two different things. Usually, guys like this hide their assets and have no steady job where you can garnish wages. Many don't even bother to show up in court. Actually, you should consider yourself lucky, as many of these turn out far worse. Next time, make sure the contract calls for withholding a reasonable sum until final job completion. Paying by the week, rather than by how far along the job is was a mistake.
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You are getting a lot of advice here from different states.
Either walk away and consider it life training, or contact the contractor's board IN YOUR STATE and see what they can do to get your pound of flesh, in Shylockian terms.
Some of the advice you are getting here isn't worth the paper it's written on.
Steve
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"Some of the advice you are getting here isn't worth the paper it's written on. "
Including yours. Not having a contractor's license may be a felony in your state, but it sure isn't in most states. And unless this guy has screwed a lot of people, the chances of anyone prosecuting him or even going after him for what went on here in most places is real slim.
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I hate words like always ........ never ........... probably ........... should ............
This is why he needs to talk to the people WHERE HE LIVES.
Offering advice to people in other states makes as much sense as me living in Las Vegas watching the weather report in Wichita.
Steve (an ex steel erection contractor in the State of Nevada)
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I know someone in a similar situation, but it was not jail, just a contractor that bailed on him. He was able to recoup some of the cost incurred, but the legal fees ended up costing 3X what he collected.
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"I know someone in a similar situation, but it was not jail, just a contractor that bailed on him. He was able to recoup some of the cost incurred, but the legal fees ended up costing 3X what he collected."
That's why the only place to take this is small claims court, where you don't need a lawyer. Even then, it's questionable if it's worth it.
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<snip>
This sounds like one of those situations that you learn your lesson and walk away. You were willing to pay a guy in the neighborhood of $80/hr w/o checking on any kind of license etc?

why is "professional" in quotes? Is this new guy a hack you found somewhere too?
Don't forget the other side of the coin should you go pursuing this legally. You all had a contract for $15,000 and you basically reneged on $2,500 of it by hiring the new guy to complete the work. I don't have a copy of this contract in front of me but I doubt you had escape clauses in there should the guy go to jail, and I don't know if you had a guaranteed completion date in there.
You say you had to redo a lot of the work. Why? Did it not meet code? Was it falling down? Or was it just not perfectly installed but would have been ok? That becomes important why trying to assess any financial damages. If it was the latter it sounds to me like you don't have any case at all, unless there was wording in the contract specifying the level of quality. I'm not sure about Florida law but it's possible that since this guy wasn't licensed you are the one responsible for ensuring the work met code not him. Somehow I doubt you pulled a permit.
at any rate just take a deep breath and let it slide, you'll be better off overall.
ml
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HomeBrewer wrote:

Your best option is to get on with your life and fill it with pleasant things that will make you forget all about this turd bump in the road.
From where I sit, I see your chances of coming out "even" are two, slim and none. Slim rode out of town yesterday at high noon.
Jeff.
--
Jeffry Wisnia

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You have no case against him, getting arrested is an act of god, like breaking a leg,. You broke the contract by hiring someone else, probably you did not give proper legal notice. If I were him I could bring suit against you if I was operating legaly, or at least I could countersuit you. In my area it is not illegal to not have a lisence,, but all areas are different. You esentialy fired him not because yu were unhappy with the work but for time, which is understandable if he did not have a firm sentenance, if he had a 3 week sentance then it was the same as firing him if he was in the hospital, and no contract allows that crap, we all gert sick. So you paid more, So the other guy had higher rates. You should be unhappy but what can you do, if he did his best, even though your new guy said he made mistakes then so what, he just was not a #1 quality guy. The job must have been going ok as that is not the issue. If I were the guy Id be pissed I dont have my job when I got out or my cash. Think about it from his point of view, there are 2 sides a judge will hear. I would argue if I was him what you say was wrong was the other guy making more work for himself, and overcharging you.
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"You have no case against him, getting arrested is an act of god, like breaking a leg,. "
That's a new legal concept. So, a guy who beats up his wife and ends up in jail wasn't responsible because it was an act of god and couldn't be avoided?
"if he had a 3 week sentance then it was the same as firing him if he was in the hospital, and no contract allows that crap, we all
gert sick."
LOL Now it gets even better. How the hell could anyone get a 3 week jail sentence in the middle of a simple remodeling job, without knowing that it was coming? Nothing happens that quickly or with no notice in the legal system. Now it's possible he got arrested and couldn't make bail. But from where I sit, that's very likely the contractor's fault too. If he got drunk and wound up in a bar fight, beat up the wife, whatever, it is his irresponsible actions that led to the arrest. And if he knew he had a court date coming for sentencing and didn't disclose that to the homeowner, then certainly the contractor's at fault. That is way different than breaking a leg.
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m Ransley wrote:

Now I've heard it all. What a load of horse shit.
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FURTHER DRIVEL SNIPPED FOR HYGEINIC REASONS ........
Who is this clown? I keep blocking him, and he keeps reappearing. Does he change his identity daily?
STeve
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