Contractor wants payment for partial work, What would you do

Old 11-29-09, 03:15 PM
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Contractor wants payment for partial work, What would you do

Money was provided in advance for paint and materials.

The agreement was to be paid for work at end of job to paint 4 bedrooms.

The understanding was that the painter had a team.

Work went behind schedule.

His co-painter left for a week taking the money provided for materials to see his mother having bypass surgery. He could not produce a backfill.

Instead of working longer there was more talking to his teenage nephew. More, "you will be happy" and less finishing.

Receipts lost. Unable to locate them in time to support request for more money over the original $1,000 provided for materials. Only $350 of receipts produced.

Another $500 provided to keep project going.

Two days later, not enough money left to continue project. Painter refused to continue without more money.

The guy who took off with the advance for materials is now back and wants $1,200 in addition to the first $1,500 provided. This money is for his labor on incomplete work.

When they did not continue we were forced to find someone else, or wait for them to return, or some other option.

How should we handle this request to be paid for unfinished job that caused us serious delay in our plans to move?

I'd like to hear from both homeowners and painters...
Old 11-29-09, 03:28 PM
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As a home owner and a former one man home repair business owner. I'd politely smile and say no. If they threatened to sue I'd smile and ask them id they had really thought that through. Not a lawyer but I'd say the helper taking off with your money constituted a crime. If they gave too much hassle I'd report that to the City Attorneys office. Before reporting it I'd ask them it they really wanted to deal with that. Point out that the City Attorney office might conclude the painter and helper were working together on the theft since the painter doesn't seem to have filed charges against his helper.
Old 11-29-09, 04:32 PM
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If there isn't some sort of contract signed by both parties then you don't have to do anything for them and if there is a contract it sure seems like the contractor violated it.

Even if none of this is actually criminal I'd never trust these people again.they are at best very disorganized and very amateur.I'd have trouble trusting the work or the materials was as agreed upon and without receipts how can you know?

Cut your losses and find someone better.
Old 11-29-09, 04:36 PM
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Welcome to our forums!

From your description it sounds likely you do not have a firm and binding contract and it is also likely these folks do not have workers compensation or liability insurance.
If this is so I would consider what you have spent so far a lesson and start over with a legitimate painting contractor.

It sounds like you hired a circus and not a contractor!
Old 11-29-09, 05:32 PM
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You guys are great!
As many of have figured out, there was no written contract, just an informal trust based agreement. The guy came highly recommended.
Old 11-30-09, 04:27 AM
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How did you come about the highly recommended?

I'm a retired painter/contractor and I've never asked for any money upfront. Most any established contractor will have an account at the supplier [paint store in this instance] On a time and material job, even if the receipts get lost, the supplier can give a statement showing what materials and price was used. generally small jobs don't require a payment until the job is done, big jobs will have a payment schedule based on % of work done.

I agree with the others - cut your losses. I can't imagine a threat of them suing is anymore than a threat. It costs money to sue or have a mechanic's lien filed and I can't imagine anyone spending money on a case they have little to no chance of winning.

Your new contractor should give a contract detailing what has to be done to finish/fix what the previous contractor didn't do. That protects you both with the new contractor and if the old contractor does try to collect more money.

almost forgot
welcome to the forums!
Old 11-30-09, 06:07 AM
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Painter Highly recomended

The wife's boss highly recommended this guy. He and his wife had used this painter in the past and probably would have done so again.

For this reason we didn't check with anyone else, just took one bid for the job. We were glad they started on Saturday, Worked sunday, but then it the roomate went to help his mom in the hospital over Thanksgiving week...

He felt he could take money ment for materials, slow the job down, by leaving for a week and now come back several times a day looking for us and wanting payment for the work done.

We feel the job if done, we would have paid $3,500 with materials, he got $1,500 and left us with half done job. I think they should be accountable for missing the schedule. They don't see it that way.

Last edited by joe_homeowner; 11-30-09 at 06:09 AM. Reason: clarification
Old 11-30-09, 08:25 AM
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Hi Joe, if you decide to avoid the trouble of looking for another contractor and still go with this guy, at least sit down and draw up a contract that explains what has been done/paid and sets out a payment schedule and work schedule to get the job done. Try to keep the work ahead of the payments so he has an incentive to come back. When a contractor is short on cash to pay his workers and for materials AND owes you work, he will look for another job.

Do an accounting for materials purchased with your money and IF he has them have them delivered to your control, so they don't paint someone else's house.

Either direction will be a pain, but working out the issues with the contractor you have can avoid the finger pointing contest as to who did what. Plus I have always found it difficult to get a good bid to complete work left by another contractor. The new guy isn't quite sure what he is walking into.


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