Scammed - can we keep workman's tools

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  #1  
Old 11-09-11, 09:27 PM
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Scammed - can we keep workman's tools

My daughter hired a man to install some laminate flooring. We had dealt with him less than a year ago and he did a great job. He talked her into giving him 2 checks...said he wouldn't cash the 2nd one until the job was done. He started the job on Saturday...on Sunday he made up an excuse to not come over. On Monday, another excuse. Tuesday, he cashed the 2nd check. Since then we found out that he has a drinking problem, lives in a half-way house and the license # he gave was from a previous employer. Here's the question...he left behind all of his tools...some were new...saws, vacuums, etc. Are we entitled to keep the tools? There's also talk that the tools belong to a co-worker that has also been bilked by this guy. But, as we've painfully learned...can't trust what he says. The police have been notified.
Thanks, for any advice!
 
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  #2  
Old 11-10-11, 04:40 AM
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Aaah, I haven't tried the two check thing Lessons are hard learned, as you have found out. Sequester all the tools in an area of your garage or storage facility. If the law wants to see them, so be it. Take pictures of them so you will have permanent record of the type of items and their serial numbers. It is probably a situation that only a court of law can settle, once the "coworker" chimes in and "proves" his ownership. If he can, you lose twice.
 
  #3  
Old 11-10-11, 05:16 AM
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I don't think you can hold a contractor's tools hostage in a dispute over a job he was contracted to do.

If he has not performed according to the contract take him to small claims court.
 
  #4  
Old 11-10-11, 05:38 AM
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Not sure if half way house means the same thing in the US as it does in Canada. Here it's a place for people to live while they are on day parole after serving a majority of a prison sentence, in the interests of reintegrating into the community.

Having worked in corrections in the past, a call to his parole/probation officer might have an impact? Or, it might just get him thrown back in the slammer. Depends on the parole/probation officer I guess and how they approach dealing with situations like this.

Just a thought.
 
  #5  
Old 11-10-11, 06:31 AM
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Nope, you cannot keep the tools. However, I don't believe you are under any obligation to make a significant effort to return them if he does not ask for them back.

Take the guy to court and look into whether any criminal charges could be raised, that may be enough of a threat to move him to action.
 
  #6  
Old 11-10-11, 05:33 PM
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I wasn't implying "keep" the tools and put them in your own garage for your own use. Since it is unclear as to who holds title to them, then it would be up to the legal system to sort it out. Giving them to the contractor COULD open a new can of worms.....you gave "my" tools to that guy?? How dare you. You had foreknowledge that they were possibly mine. I think notifying the authorities both on the tools and on his whereabouts may stir the pot a little.
 
  #7  
Old 11-27-11, 10:28 PM
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Smooth talker, that one. But be careful about the tool thing. He could use it in Small Claims Court, making you out to be the bad person for depriving him of his livelihood. If his gift of gab is good enough, the judge may have you writing him a few more checks, to compensate for the jobs he lost while you were holding his tools for ransom.
 
  #8  
Old 11-28-11, 05:53 AM
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I doubt a court would deem the homeowner a bad guy if all the protocols were met. They have contacted the police, who are officers of the court. Do what they say. That way you can't run afoul. "Depriving of livelihood"? I'd deprive him of something else, but wouldn't advise it. The jobs he lost just saved other homeowners from the same situation if he treats them all alike. Wonder how this thing is turning out. Hope the OP will chime in and let us know.
 
  #9  
Old 01-10-12, 01:06 PM
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Checked and the OP hasn't logged in to the site since he originally posted.
Better see if he returns before posting any more 1's and 0's or altering any more electrons!
 
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