Billed for work not performed

Wife ran an ad on social media for a handyman. CB replied and then he called me. I described our problem – daughters house had water stains in ceiling – and asked if he can fix it, how much, and when. He came to look. Said he needed to come back and look again after a heavy rain. Eventually he did come back but after a light rain. Anyway, this went on and on for months, postponing when he would start work. He never did give me his price. Then lately had him quote me on 2 other jobs – filling a sink hole sowing grass on it, and waterproofing my deck. His price for the deck, 40′ x 8′ top rail 9 steps, was $2,500 and for the sink hole, 50′ x 15′ x 1-3′ deep, was 8,000. I told him that if I’d known it would be anything near that I never would have talked to him about it. He was noticeably upset when I told him no. Ive since contracted another company who is charging me $760 for the sinkhole grass. Anyway, about a week later I get a bill from him, sent via registered mail, for $330, for an

Asked on September 24, 2017 under Business Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You don't have to pay him unless he sues you (e.g. in small claims court) and wins. To win, he'd need to prove to a judge that you hired him to do the inspection and labor--i.e. that you agreed to pay him to do these things--and also that he actually did the work. You can prepare by printing and organizing all correspondence (letters, texts, emails, etc.) with or from him, and making detailed notes about all conversations, the timeline, everything which was or was not done, etc. now, before more time passes and you start to forget things; you would also ask any other witnesses who know what transpired (e.g. a spouse) to record their recollections for later review and save any correspondence, etc. they have. You will rely on that correspondence and on your recollection (and that of other witnesses) in any trial.


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