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Question DetailsAsked on 11/7/2013

I fired my contractor, now he is suing. What are my rights?

We contracted for job to be done in 6 weeks, at the end of 12 weeks he told us his workers were on another job now and he would send them at the end of their work days when they had time. The sub-contractors that he hired, specifically the concrete, did really shoddy work. Footprints, multiple dents and a horrible finish. Didn't dig footer into ground, etc. The work that the contractor did for us was not done per contract- wrong material used, piecing in hardie board instead of replacing whole sheet. contracted for a marble window sill, but was told that if I wanted marble, I would have to pay more. I finally decided to fire him. He told me that he had less than 2 days work left on the job. I calculated 16 hours at $85 plus only $140 in additional materials, not nearly enough to finish the work, and deducted it from the balance due. He is now suing us for more than double the amount due.

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5 Answers

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Hello, this is Kiel from Angie's list. I'm sorry to hear about this experience. As a first step, I would highly advise contacting our call center at 1-888-944-5478 to discuss our complain resolution process.


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Thanks so much,

Answered 4 years ago by KielH

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I would guess without seeing the contract you might have a case. I happen to live in an area where just the footing mistake would be reason to fail on an inspection by the town B.I. I have the same problem in my state with needing a start and completion date on contracts, I usually add a few weeks to the time frame to allow for weather and supply problems but twice the time frame seems excessive! I would love to hear what area of the country you live in allows a footing on grade. Unless it might be in Florida or one of the other Southern States I can not believe that is code, and I admit I am not up on all the codes in the nation.

The real question is it worth getting a cort case going, with legal fees nd the time that the job comes to a halt is it worth it. If you are pleased with the look of the work and think it will hold up to the test of time then it might be better to use the threat to get him to finsh and move on and be more carefull on your next project. There are exceptions to the footing having to be below the frost line in my area for a stand alone garage but with the limited info I have on your job I don't think that is what you are dealing with.

Answered 4 years ago by ContractorDon

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The time is not what raises a red flag to me as much as the fact he pulled all of his workers off of the job and did shoddy work. Have the work inspected by either your local government inspection office, if you have one, or an independent engineer, architect, contractor, or home inspector with building experience. Personally, I will not put timelines and deadlines on contracts. The work will be done right no matter how long it takes. There is always something (or a series of somethings) on a large project that can add to the length of time on the project. Sometimes the time gets caught up and we still finish on schedule and sometimes we don't. I'm not going to rush through just to get done by a certain day rather than making sure it is right.


Anyway, I'm pretty sure you have a strong case against the contractor for the poor workmanship and not following the plans. Technically, he abandoned the job if he is not working on it diligently and making some sort of progress. You have the choice to let him pay the legal fees if he decides to go that route and defend your decisions or be proactive and hire an inspector, followed by an attorney to go after him for poor workmanship and breach of contract. I don't know where you live but in Texas it is very easy to file a lien on a property so if you choose to do nothing make sure he doesn't file any liens, even if he doesn't follow through on his threat of a lawsuit. You'll have to check with your county clerk's office regularly for the next couple of years.


Personally, I would be hiring a lawyer and demanding money back to repair the work he has done.

Answered 4 years ago by Todd's Home Services

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This sounds like a lot of the contractor complaints on this site. Your construction/installation contract should have a firm price and performance timeframe, and should state that time is of the essence.

Another common problem that popped up here is the homeowner being too tolerant of shoddy workmanship and work or materiasls not being per contract. When you first see shoddy workmanship demand immediate remediation BEFORE continuation of the job - because the longer you let it go on the more there will be (because you are not calling him on it), and also allowing it to continue without immediate verbal (and written if not fixed right away) notification of deficiency then lets him claim you saw it and did not complain, so you implicitly approved it by failing to complain in a timely manner. The best way is to maintain a "punchlist" of deficiencies, including a date when it is to be fixed by. Major things should have a short timeframe - minor things like a lock changeout, resetting a door than does not close right, paint touchup might be marked to be done by job completion, but major items like concrete flaws, wrong material, etc should have a very short (but reasonable, including time to replace the materials) timeframe.

You have to bear in mind even the best contractors generally fail in a number of ways - working as a contract expert inspector for a municipal engineer's office for a couple of years taught me that generally, a qualified inspector who knows the code and sound design principles can easily find 10-20 violations in a building, including several signifiicant or critical life safety ones, on ANY job that does not have fulltime on-site inspection (and even some which do). Contractor's employees these days just rarely show pride in their trade, and most do not have the basic apprentice skills that were common in the old days, so the general quality of construction has deteriorated.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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Votes

So long as you have the original contract, contract price and scope of work, let him take you to court. He will bite off his own tongue when the judge see's the start date and completion date as well as what materials where to be utilized on the project....

Answered 3 years ago by sethbonilla




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