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Question DetailsAsked on 1/26/2017

what should be done about contractor taking deposit and never doing job?

gave half down as deposit,$600 for home repairs and after many texts he disconnected his phone job was never started this has been going on since Oct.2-16. I am a senior with a limited income.

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1 Answer


Sounds like a fraud case, or he went bankrupt. I would contact your local district attorney's office consumer fraud person (or your state may have a central consumer fraud and maybe even an elder fraud bureau - or if no luck there contact local police fraud unit.

Ask if they know or and have a record of complaints on this guy - that might guide where you would go from there, whether you treat it as likely fraud or as a flaky or disorganized but not necessarily crooked contractor.

Normally, in this sort of case unless you have SPECIFIC knowledge of fraudulent intent on his part, you would start by sending a certified mail, return receipt signature required letter to him, stating because he has failed to do the work you are cancelling the contract and demanding return of your deposit within say 7 business days.

If he does not get it to you in that time, then you would go after his Bonding company - normally if work is not underway already they would refund the deposit. If he is not bonded, then his business (and maybe homeowner's insurance if operating as a wholly owned proprietorship) liability insurance might cover such a claim - depends on policy phrasing. Here is a link to an AL article on what contractor bonding and liability insurance normally cover -

If he was not insured or bonded (20-20 hindsight here) then you could file a claim in small claims court - though the chance of recovering from him, even if you win in court, is probably pretty minimal.

In a few states like Caifornia and Florida, assuming he was licensed as a contractor, there are recovery funds that pay homeowners defrauded by contractors.

If you are confident this was fraud or are unable to make contact with himand suspect he has skipped town, then you could file a criminal fraud claim against him - that might get your money back if they contacts him about it because if he pays you off then there is no longer enough basis for a claim for most DA's to prosecute. Some crooked handymen/repairmen operate this way - take deposits with no intent of doing any work, and then if someone calls the cops on them they return the money and call it all a mistake or misunderstanding - keeping the money of people who do not fully pursue the case.

Here are a couple of links to other similar questions with answers FYI also -

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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