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Nancy 12-09-2005 02:02 PM

contractor nightmare
My contractor has stopped showing up and no work is being done on rennovation. I have written contract and am up to date on scheduled payments with one more remaining plus some add-ons. I gave him list of corrections that need to be made (e.g., leak under door) and he stopped coming. Where do I go for help? He has left me with no flooring, no electrical fixtures, no water pressure, no locks on new doors, etc.

jmic 12-09-2005 02:16 PM

Have you tried calling him? Any luck in talking to him? Maybe you have paid him to much to date and he's bailing on you. Where did you find him?

Nancy 12-10-2005 11:11 AM

I've paid him about 70 percent of job. After not getting anything other than a shrug when I pointed out some problems (leak under door that has to be fixed before flooring goes down; fact that he installed brown-clad windows in front and white-clad everywhere else; interior trim work does not fit window span in places), I wrote a letter detailing what needed to be addressed and requesting answer as to how and when work would be done. No answer. The architect does not want to get involved. I'm wondering if I can find someone else to finish the work and take it off what I stil owe builder under contract.

powrus 12-10-2005 11:13 AM

Hi Nancy - As indicated by the lack of replies to your post, I'm sure you realize this is a delicate issue. You may be going through tough times right now regarding your missing contractor, something which has happened to most homeowners over the course of years. Past experience is the best teacher for all of us in selecting and protecting ourselves from unscrupulous contractors but not something you want to hear at this juncture since it doesn't help to solve your immediate problem. Unfortunately, it is difficult to assist someone in your specific situation since the 'chicken [contractor] may have already flown the coup' with your money and with the job unfinished. Had you posted here prior to hiring a contractor you would have been inundated with advice on how to choose a competent and trustworthy technician.

It is my hope that someone here can provide positive and helpful advice for you at this time. I wish you only the best.


jmic 12-10-2005 02:12 PM

Does this guy hold a contractors license? If so report him, if not you may have to take him to court to try to recoupe your losses. ( you may have to take him to court in either situation. You should probably send him a notice ( registered mail ) telling him he has a specified time to finish the job. Maybe this advice isn't right. you probably should seek a attnys. advice.
Good luck,

Nancy 12-10-2005 02:58 PM

Thanks. This was a reputable contractor, recommended by architect. I don't feel that I am out any money, but I want to make sure that if I pay to complete and/or repair the work I won't then have to pay him on top of that.

powrus 12-11-2005 09:03 AM

Nancy - Just another non-qualified opinion, but something which might work in your favor. You did mention there was a contract in effect, and although there may have not been a reasonable "timeline" consideration built into the contract, the obvious intent of the contract may have been abridged by the missing contractor. Your architect won't come to your aid at this time, but at least he would have to agree that things haven't been handled according to the mood of the initial business deal.

I would be tempted to send a certified letter (with proof of receipt) to the address of the contractor, notifying him/her that business was terminated for obvious lack of response and then move on to someone else to finish the job. It would be a hard sell for the delinquent contractor to get any more money from you ... and where would he/she go to do that? He/she would have to convince someone of his/her misfortune.

donkey 12-15-2005 06:19 PM

I would contact an atterny and show him/her a copy of your written contract and find out exactly where you stand legaly.Also its not a bad idea if he has voice mail to let him know you are seeking legal guidence and might be talking to the better business burea.This is not to scare him into finishing what he has started but to come to an agreement of terms.You paid him 70% of the total job and if he has only done 50% he owes you some money.Also look him up in your local BBB website and see if any complaints have been filed.I always do this first before hiring a contractor.I hope your situation takes a turn for the better!

Teetorbilt 12-16-2005 09:45 PM

Nancy, no reputable contractor will demand final payment prior to completeing the job and you would be a fool to pay it. I would go back to the architect that made the recommendation and see if he could add a little pressure.

johnwhowe 01-05-2006 08:43 PM

it sounds like they has moved on and you are no longer the contractors 1st priority.
keep calling them. they will eventually respond with a great excuse that makes you feel sorry for them. they will show up sporadically to attempt to fullfil the contract and make corrections. they will slowly get as much money from you as possible until either you get tired of them and want them gone or their commitments will overwhelm them and they will fade away.

pipeguy 01-06-2006 11:04 PM


Originally Posted by Nancy
I have written contract and am up to date on scheduled payments. I've paid him about 70 percent of job. He has left me with no flooring, no electrical fixtures, no water pressure, no locks on new doors, etc.


Originally Posted by Nancy
Thanks. This was a reputable contractor, recommended by architect. I don't feel that I am out any money

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY NOW! Fun time is over! You are out money and it's NOT a reputable contractor if what you are representing is accurate.

I have witnessed first hand the results of situations like this when a skilled attorney does not intervene on the homeowner's behalf early in the process. Do not wait another day and do not stop hammering the contractor until the very last screw is tightened. And most of all, now that he's tried to screw you, do not pay him anymore money until he's done - no matter how loud he cries.

powrus 01-07-2006 08:48 AM

Nancy - It has been awhile since your initial posting here, but the issue you had with your contractor is an ongoing problem. You are not alone. What you experienced goes on month after month, year after year. Taking the following notes out of context (since I cannot locate the exact source) you will see the list of priorities for most contractors following a typical job agreement. Note that I have been paid for jobs myself in the past, so my reputation has to be questioned as well. (smile).

1. First payout 30%: Contractor pays for daughter's dental braces, pays for overdue home mortage, and pays off credit cards.

2. Second payout 30%: Contractor buys new truck.

3. Final payout 40%: Contractor pays off lumberyard for framing materials, insulation, and shingles. Contractor [himself] comes up missing and doesn't answer the phone due to insufficient source of funds to complete terms of contract. Contractor is now off working for the next client.

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