What can I do if a contractor hasn’t paid me for services rendered?

I was told by a contractor that if I got leads for him at a trade show he would pay $20 per lead and I ended up getting 22 leads. He also told me that he would be able to pay me within that week but now it’s going on the third week after the show and he has nothing but excuses. What

should I do next?

Asked on April 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your only real recourse is to sue the contractor for breach of contract--the agreement, whether written or oral, pursuant to which he agreed to pay for the leads; you would also sue based on the theory of "unjust enrichment"--that is is inequitable to allow him to be enriched by getting the leads from you without paying for them. To win the case, you'd need to prove in court, by a "preponderance of the evidence" (that it is "more likely than not"), that you had an agreement for $20/lead and that you provided 22 leads. For the amount of money at stake ($440, or 22 x $20.00) it would make no sense to sue in regular county or district court or hire an attorney--you'd spend pretty much as much or more on the suit as you'd get back. It is only economically worthwhile to sue if you sue in small claims court "pro se," or as your own attorney.


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