What can I do if I believe that I am being taken advantage of by a contractor?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can I do if I believe that I am being taken advantage of by a contractor?

I recently purchased a home. I needed to contact a plumber due to water issues. I contacted a plumber, showed him the work that needed to be done and he verbally agreed to do the work for 65 an hour. He did not give me an estimate or agreement in writing. I received 4 invoices from him and paid each on the same date of receipt. The total cost was approximately $2500. It’s been about 2 months since the work has been done. I received a bill in the mail from a plumbing store for parts?

I was never told I needed to pay for anything other than his hourly time? I was under the assumption that everything was included in the amount per hour? I do not have an account at the plumbing store. The plumber does and it appears they are trying to collect the amount from me as opposed to him? When I contacted them, they told me that the plumber told them to bill me for the parts, at which they did. I do not know what to do? I also question the parts they have listed as he is an active plumber and I do not know if the said parts were used on my job or several other customers jobs? Do I have any rights?

Asked on December 6, 2017 under Business Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Don't pay the bill. You are correct in that if you never agreed with the store to pay for these parts, you are not responsible or liable for the bill: the plumber (an independent contractor) cannot obligate you to pay. If they contact you again for the money, reiterate that you never agreed to pay for them and their agreement is with the plumber, the person who ordered the parts--they can sue him. If they threaten legal action, since they have no grounds for it, let them know you will countersue for abuse of process and seek legal fees from them for frivolous litigation. The plumber, not you, is their target.

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