Contractor disapeared/MIA after half the work completed

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  #1  
Old 09-01-12, 03:29 PM
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Contractor disapeared/MIA after half the work completed

Hello All -
I had a contract with a local hardwood flooring contractor to do the main floor and 2nd floor hardwood floor installation (800 sq ft) and staining. To rip out carpet from staircase and install oak planks and then stain. Rip out carpet, put laminate in the basement (350 sq ft)and tile the kitchen (100 sq ft). Initially i was going to do all this myself except for the stairs but then he said he would do all this for 8500 inclusive of material. I thought that was a decent deal so i agreed.

He has installed the hardwood flooring, stairs have hardwood as well, ripped out the carpet in the basement. Nothing has been sanded or stained and no laminate or tiles have been installed. Since Tuesday he has been MIA. i have called him, emailed him and texted him and he just doesnt reply back anymore. Before he would reply back with in 1 hr. I have paid him about 6.5K and yet a lot of work is left. I dont know what to do anymore. I went to the address he has on the website but its a residential area. This guy has a very good rep on Angieslist so i am amazed he has disapeared .

Has anyone seen this happen to them? What options do i have? I really wasnt expecting this.

Thanks for your help.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-01-12, 03:56 PM
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It happens often when an inappropriate amount is paid ahead on a job. Are all the materials paid for? Can you prove it? You indicated it was inclusive of materials, so I am assuming he acquired the materials for you. If the materials aren't paid for, guess who gets to pay for it again??? That would be my first place to check....suppliers. Make sure they are paid in full. I am a contractor, and would not anticipate having that much money in my hands this early. Too much work still left to do. What ever you do, even if he returns, don't pay the remainder until he is finished.
 
  #3  
Old 09-01-12, 04:15 PM
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Very unprofessional behavior. The obvious question is why did you pay so much before completion? It may be that the contractor has a legitimate reason, however that doesn't solve your problem. Do you know if he belongs to any builder associations or the BBB - these organizations have some ability to pressure a member contractor with the threat of lowering their rating. It sounds like the motivation of this contractor was lured away by the next paying customer. Check with the Attorney General in your state if you feel there is no chance he will return. The address you refer to is probably his home, so don't hesitate to knock on a door. If it's a bogus address then you know your dealing with a questionable contractor. These types of horror stories give the construction industry a bad reputation. I've been a professional remodeling contractor for 22 years and have often seen this type of behavior, or its aftermath. Don't take this kind of treatment - go to the address and find out what's going on, if you get the run around then get an attorney to send him a letter threatening legal action. Do you really want this guy back in your home?
 
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Old 09-01-12, 06:18 PM
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Have some one like a friend call this joker and leave message for estimate of floor job as friends house when he shows up then confront him but have back up.
 
  #5  
Old 09-01-12, 08:47 PM
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Angry

Thank you all for providing this info. I recently bought a house and am working with another contractor (bathroom). He took 50% down payment and 50% post finishing. Had no problems, thus i did the same with him.

HW flooring - He said he would supply it from a vendor. So that would be deducted from the overall amount. I paid that in full when the HW came to our house to the vendor. He then asked for 50% of the rest of the amount and i said no - you finish the hardwood installation and then i will provide it. I did that once he finished.

He had to stain all the wood,sand, poly it. Also he had to install Laminate in the basement. The balance that was left actually included him getting the laminate.

Anyway, at this pt, i have no option but to have him come and finish the job. I dont think anyone will stain all the wood (900 sqft) including stairs, sand and poly for about 1500 - 2000. Keep in mind i have to buy laminate as well and tile the kitchen myself. He has such good reviews on Angieslist that i didnt even think this was possible - i guess you learn the hard way.

I am planning on calling a few friends of mine who are in law school. Is this common for people to run away? He was having a hard time convince me on the color of the stain - i wanted a dark color and he said it would try. But we never got around to seeing what color he had ready for me.
 
  #6  
Old 09-02-12, 04:48 AM
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You paid him $4200 up front, then paid for the flooring when it arrived, right? Way too much for an initial payment. We generally will get 1/3 up front, 1/3 at a mutually agreed upon point, and 1/3 at finish. Materials are yours, and it is not uncommon to pay for it as it arrives. Keeps all the bills paid and you out of trouble. The 1/3 up front should take care of his initial labor and incidentals, sufficiently to make it to the next increment.
I know, hind sight is 20/20. He should have made a stain "story pole" of a strip of your flooring so you could see the effect of the colors. Then YOU pick it out. Indecision on colors, which are to your tastes, could slow things down considerably.
At least there will be one negative review on Angie's List, now.
Keep us informed as to how it turns out. Give it until after the holiday....he'll be hungry and broke by then.
 
  #7  
Old 09-02-12, 06:04 AM
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I paid about 3700 for material - which i paid the vendor. Then 2nd payment was 2300 - which included money for laminate that he was going to bring. So actually, the balance is about 2500.

If he doesnt show up on Tuesday, i am thinking of taking legal action. I have a whole payment plan that he and i agreed too and i have a copy of it which he sent me in his invoice via email. I have paid according to that and have back up (checks), so i dont think i have a bad case. I dont know what this guy was thinking.

I am emailing/calling/texting him every day. Lets see what he does. One question -

When i get another person to come finish the job - how much per sq ft should i expect to stain/finish the hard wood flooring inclusive of stairs?

Thank you all for your help.
 
  #8  
Old 09-02-12, 11:22 AM
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You did good. Many people don't make those stipulations and get caught up in paying too much for a job, too early.
I would secure 3 estimates for the finishing of the job. Check each one out for local reputation, BBB, Angie's if you wish, Chamber of Commerce, etc. Make each estimate the same as far as what you want done and see what comes up. It is the only fair way to do it and it helps keep the contractors honest with their bids.
 
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