Q&A / 

Sue Contractor For Unfinished Work

unfinished work

Sue Contractor For Unfinished Work TIPS

DEAR TIM: Recently, I received a summons to appear in civil court. The contractor who walked off my job is suing me for the remainder of the unpaid money stated in the contract.

Because he avoided repeated calls and letters, I hired other workers to finish the job. What do you think is the best evidence I can produce to prove to the court system that I was a victim?

In my opinion he deserves no money. Sue D., Sedona, AZ

DEAR SUE: Let me begin by telling you that I am not an attorney and can offer no legal advice.

Documents Win The Day

I can tell you, based upon my many years of being involved in differences of opinion with homeowners, what has saved me from having to work for free. The items that eventually become supporting evidence can be a thorn in one's side as the job progresses, but they'e worth their weight in gold if a dispute arises at a later date. Hopefully you have many of the following things.

Free & Fast BIDS

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from contractors who'll come in and FINISH THE WORK the loser contractor has not done.

Excellent Plans & Specs

Perhaps the most powerful weapon a homeowner can possess when the going gets rough is an excellent set of plans and specifications. All too often standard plans have far too little detail.

Too much is left to interpretation. For example, if the plans say you are to get crown molding, does this mean a small thin piece of molding or a large combination crown molding? Detailed plans and specifications make these issues black and white not various shades of gray.

Written Notes & Follow-Up Letters

Almost every job requires multiple face-to-face meetings where many issues are discussed. It can be hard to take notes during these meetings, but this written record of the discussions can help jog the memory of a participant when the wrong light fixtures or floor tile are delivered or installed.

These notes become iron clad if you write a letter summarizing the key points and send a copy to all who participated in the meeting. To make the notes armor plated, consider including a sentence stating that if a participant disagrees with anything in the letter they must respond in writing in a timely manner.

Digital Voice Recorders

Technology has advanced that it's now possible to record what's said at meetings. I'd absolutely record each planning meeting or any discussion where you and the contractor are making decisions and agreeing to something. Be sure you ask the permission of everyone who's attending the meeting and get them saying "Yes, it's okay to record" on the digital recorder. CLICK HERE to see a best-selling digital voice recorder.

Some states require this for the recording to be used in a future legal proceeding.

Here's a best selling affordable digital voice recorder. One saved conversation may save you THOUSANDS of dollars. CLICK THE IMAGE NOW TO HAVE THIS DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME NEXT WEEK.

Photos & Video

Photograph or video tape the progression of the job. Be sure the camera is set to record the date and time the photo is taken. This is automatic on most digital cameras today, but it requires that you be sure the date and time is set correctly in the camera.

Take a few test photos and look at the info settings on the digital file to ensure you have the date and time set correctly.

Hundreds, No Thousands, Of Photos

Take many photographs, including close up photos, of things that will be hidden at a later date. Photos of structural connections where things are nailed or bolted together are often critical.

Try to photograph concrete forms just before the concrete is poured. Imagine how difficult it is to guess the thickness of a concrete slab without doing destructive testing or using an expensive diagnostic device. A digital photograph may come to your rescue.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from contractors who'll come in and FINISH THE WORK the loser contractor has not done.

Keep A Journal Or Diary

A detailed diary of the events that happened each day can be very helpful. Long delays or periods of time when no one showed up to work are cast in stone with written daily notes kept in a journal.

It's very hard to reconstruct events if they are taken from memories that are six or nine months old. Write down who showed up and what was accomplished. Photographs can be added to the diary that show daily progress.

Will a pro build your new home? You can make it happen with my New Home Checklist.

Weather Almanacs

In certain instances weather data may help support your arguments. If you're not a trained meteorologist, data that you keep may not be considered accurate or true. Fortunately you can obtain vast amounts of weather data at little or no cost from your local National Weather Service office.

They keep hourly logs of temperature, humidity, precipitation etc. On more than one occasion this precise data has won a court case for me. Many websites track and curate historical weather data for every city and town, including wind speeds for each hour!

Change Orders In Writing - NO Exceptions!

Almost all jobs have changes as the work progresses. These change orders must always be in writing.

In addition to the description of what's changing and the cost of the change, each change order must contain a section that states how much extra time the change will add or detract from the job. You can see the value of this added feature when it is used in conjunction with the start and completion dates that are contained in the original contract.

Written Communication Is The Best

Finally, if all communications break down, then all contact with the contractor must be in writing. All letters must be sent certified mail with a signed receipt request. You want to be able to prove that you tried your best to keep the lines of communication open at all times.

How would you like me to build your new home? It's probably impossible for me to fit your job into my schedule, but I will gladly share hundreds of my tricks and building secrets with you and your builder. Check out my New House Specifications.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from contractors who'll come in and FINISH THE WORK the loser contractor has not done.

Column 340


Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.