What to do if we had a custom kitchen made in our home but the job was never completed and now the contractor’s wife wants us to pay her?

She keeps calling my husband claiming to be part of their company. Should we pay her even when the contractor has not bothered to get involved?

Asked on July 20, 2015 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First, NEVER pay anyone but the person you agreed to pay, not even--or perhaps especially not!--a spouse; you don't want to end up in the middle of a domestic dispute/divorce/etc., which may be what is happening. If you pay anyone, pay the contractor.

Second, if the work was not completed, you would not owe full payment; depending on how much was done, you may owe a share or portion of the payment, commensurate with what was completed (if any of it was brought to completion), but that would seem to be the extent of your liability. An agreement with a contractor to have work done is a contract: if the contractor violates it by not completing it, he is not entitled to payment in full, but at most to payment equal to the complete or usable work he finished.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Any payment should be made to the contractor and not to his wife unless the wife is the authorized agent of the contractor.

However, since the contractor never finished the work, you can sue the contractor for breach of contract without tendering payment.  

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