What to do about a dishonest and/or incompetentcontractor?

We hired a pool contractor to install a pool. Work began 3 months ago; verbal completion date was for 2 months later. However it is still not completed. We have deleted work in order to have the job done and have paid the contractor 100% of money. Do we have any legal recourse for the lack of completion and lack of contractor not being honest?

Asked on September 16, 2011 under General Practice, Indiana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have a written contract with the contractor you hired to do the pool installation work at your home, read it carefully in that its terms control the obligations owed you by the contractor and vice versa absent conflicitng state law.

In all states in this country, a person who is not licensed as a contractor in each state cannot do contracting work. A written contract is required for all works of improvement generally exceeding $500.00.

You need to sit down with the contractor to complete the date for the pool installation and get it confirmed in writing signed by you and th contractor and hold him or her to it.

Given complaints that you have with this contractor, you should contact the Indiana State Contractor's Licensing Board to make any complaint against him or her. This entity regulates contractors in your state.

Good luck.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to sue the contractor under one or more of the following theories:

1) Breach of contract: if there was an agreement about when the work would be done and the work is not done, that would be a violation of the agreement; when a contract is breached, the non-breaching party can sue and seek compensation.

2) Fraud: if the contractor knowingly misrepresented his qualifications, resources, expertise, ability to get to the work and get it done, etc. in order to get you to sign with him, that could be fraud, which again would entitle you to compensation.

3) Negligence: if the contractor does the work in an unreasonably careless fashion, that, too, could make him liable.

You should  consult with an attorney to discuss the strength and value of your case; good luck.


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