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Old 06-20-2011, 07:35 AM   #1
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Contractor Dispute

I am going to try to be as generic as possible to avoid naming names or impacting any potential legal action that may come from this situation...

A relative (no, it isnt me ) hired a contractor to remodel a small room. Contract was signed, I have not seen said contract yet. Relative told contractor in detail how they wanted the remodel done, contractor agrees and writes it down, however he writes down part numbers and not descriptions so my relative assumes they're on the same page. Contractor did the demo work, and some of the minor electrical work. Relative had told contractor at the beginning how he wanted a certain aspect of the room done. Contractor orders the parts to do it a different way and shows up with them, obviously not as they had discussed. Relative is firm they they want it done the way that was discussed, and contractor comes out and admits he's never done that type of work before, and it would be a "learning process for him". He had tried to sway my relative into going this other route, just showing up with the materials to do it his way. Relatives ended up firing him.

Issues :
- Contractor wants a certain percentage of the pay and relative does not feel like he did that amount of the work.
- Contractor has in his possession some materials (countertops) which my relative ordered, and paid for, not through him. He is refusing to give back said materials until he gets the pay hes demanding.

Question :
They're more concerned with the materials they bought that the contractor is holding from them. They are not, and never have been, the contractor's property. Can he legally hold these materials? In my mind, give the materials to the rightful owner, and pursue any payment disagreements as a separate matter, but then again, I'm not a lawyer or a contractor.

Any help/advice would be much appreciated. For some reason they think I can get them their materials back because I'm bigger than their contractor I'm not looking for a fight, I just don't want my relative to get pushed around by some lousy contractor who can't/won't do the work as discussed.

Edit : This is why I love DIY.


Last edited by Durt Ferguson; 06-20-2011 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:05 AM   #2
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Would seem to me the contractor is in illegal possession of materials paid for and that do not belong to him. He could face criminal charges if things turned nasty? From what you said, the contractor did do some demo work that I assume your family member found satisfactory? They now have a disagreement over how much compensation the contractor should get for work performed. Why weren't their kill clauses in the contract?

Contractor should pursue remedy through liens and a small claims action if your relative is not paying him. Holding materials hostage will not get him very far.

Seems to me these folks should sit down with a neutral arbitrator if they cannot work out these differences directly. Or I guess one more suit that does not have to be there will clog up our court system.


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Old 06-20-2011, 08:11 AM   #3
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I'd like to see the contract as well. All the things they asked for should have been listed in the work scope, including things like make and model # of fixtures, wall colors and even dimension of lumber if pertinent. Detailed drawings of the finish product also help considerably to clear up any problems later on in the process.

What percentage?

What tasks were completed?

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Old 06-20-2011, 08:20 AM   #4
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Have him get a lawyer. It's useless to discuss this here.
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:31 PM   #5
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Contractor has no right to take your relative's property.
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:53 PM   #6
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Just for fun call the cops and report him for theft.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bud Cline View Post
Just for fun call the cops and report him for theft.
You have been on a roll the last couple of weeks!
"The problem isn't that Hillary Clinton lies. We all know she lies. The problem is that her supporters don't seem to care"
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:59 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ron6519 View Post
Have him get a lawyer. It's useless to discuss this here.
Pretty much, yep.

It sounds like the "contractor" is in possession of stolen property, and would find his butt in the fire if any legal action were to be taken.

But there are probably details said relative is leaving out of the story.
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:55 AM   #9
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The relative called the contractor and told him if he keeps the materials, it opens him up to further legal action. I guess that's all it took, he's got his stuff now. Thanks all!


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