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Question DetailsAsked on 9/22/2016

I hired and paid an asphalt company to fix my driveway he has never done the job from 4 weeks ago. Can I sue him?

was hired to do my driveway at 1 house. I paid him on August 28, 2016 for that job as well as for my 2nd home's drive way which he said "he would have completed on the next day, August 29, 2016". I am STILL WAITING for him to actually asphalt my 2nd home's driveway! He has not come back to my 1st house and finished up my driveway and an air compressor hose (brand new in the package) was taken, a sledge hammer and an ax were all stolen from my property while they were here and NOT RETURNED yet he said "He would bring his site mgr to my house and correct everything and return anything missing"...I am STILL WAITING! I have paid him a total of $14,000 for both jobs. What can I do? We have called him NUMEROUS TIMES and he no longer answers our calls, ofcourse. I have sent him several text messages all to go unanswered. Please help.

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1 Answer


You are a lot more tolerant than me - first I would have called him as soon as I saw the tools missing and told him he had 4 hours (or till noon next day if evening/night call) to get them back to me, then absent their return I would have filed a theft claim with the police.

Does your contract (you do have a contract, right ?) have a completion date for the two drives ? If so, you cannot pressure him until that/those date(s) have come and gone.

Otherwise, if no date or it has gone by, I would send him a certified return receipt signature required letter (keep a copy and the mailing receipt and the return receipt card when it comes back in mail) demanding completion of the work within a reasonable time (say 5 business days) or if he does not intend to finish the work that you want an immediate full refund of the portion of the cost for the second job (hopefully they were bid as separate prices, not one lump sum) and X amount (whatever you think it will take to finish up) for the unfinished first driveway. [If torn out but no paving put down yet, I would ask for 100% refund on first one too]

Prepaying was obviously a mistake, as I am sure you recognize in 20-20 hindsight. Have you checked on Angies List and Yelp for reviews of this vendor - is he generally reputable, or maybe a scammer (you can also google for complaints about his company name and check places like Ripoff Reports for other customer copmments). You could also check with your local/state consumer protection or consumer fraud agency to see if he is a known scammer.

And for $14,000 hopefully you were talking total tearout and repaving of about 4000-6000 SF of driveway total (in most areas), not just a repair ! (Maybe as low as about 3000SF in high cost area or if significant ancillary drainage work/culverts/sidewalk work were involved as well).

In addition to suing (which costs money, would probably not be small claims court for this $ amount, and you almost never get your legal costs back), you have the option of filing a claim with his Bonding company to either complete the work with another contractor or to refund you your payment (he was Bonded, right ?).

The tools you could file a claim with his insurance company as well, though with both police and insurance company you are going to have a bit of a fight PROVING that he or his employees took them - coincindental concurrent unexplained disappearance does not equal proof of theft, so you might end up eating the cost on them. Fortunately probably $100-150 range, not garage full or tools or the air compressor. If he/his crew borrowed the tools for the job, with your knowledge OR you saw them using them, THEN your case is stronger.

Also - Keep / print out any messages / eMails / texts / etc related to this matter as well.

Unfortunately, given the elapsed time you can't stop payment - but if you paid by credit card contact your credit card company (using WRITTEN procedures on back of statement) and file a complaint with them - they will stop payment to him (or refund to you temporarily while investigating) and investigate your complaint.

If this was done using a Deal or Coupon through Angies List and you are a Prime member, you probably also have access to their Dispute Resolution and Guarantee programs - contact member services about that.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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