Dispute with Contractor

I had water damage in my house and a friend gave my number to a contractor friend of his. The contractor was on my doorstep and doing flood cuts within 2 hours. I have generally not been happy with a lot of the work but now we are at odds because he was supposed to order a kitchen sink that would fit my plumbing set up and the new countertops. He never ordered it and 3 days before the people were coming to measure for the countertops he called me and told me to rush order any sink. The sink was installed but now the disposal won’t fit. He told me my only options are to live without a disposal or have the plumbing redone to the tune of over $1,000 at my own expense. I do not have a signed contract with this man and I want to sever the relationship and get someone else to finish the last few things that need to be done. I have paid the contractor all of the money that the insurance company paid me with the exception of 2K. Can I fire him without him trying to come after me for more money?

Asked on May 18, 2016 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If there is no written contract, you can fire him at any time.
2) If you have not paid him for all the work done to date (or supplies bought), he can sue you for the money. That doesn't mean he will automatically win: if you can show the work was negligent or not up to commercially acceptable standards, or that he has otherwise caused damage to your property (like not fitting in the disposal properly, so it will not work or fit), you may have a good defense to his claim (you generally can't get paid for unacceptable work) or an offset vs. what you owe him (e.g. if you owe him $2,000 but it will cost you $1,000 to redo some of his unacceptable work, it may net out that you pay him $1,000). However, you can't stop him from bringing a lawsuit or possibly trying to file a contractor's lien: he can do so, then all you can do is defend the matter.


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