If a contractor does a job incorrectly, do I have to pay him the balance owed?

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If a contractor does a job incorrectly, do I have to pay him the balance owed?

I recently had a old wooden fence taken down and a new one put up. I paid the contractor $3000 up front of the $5,500. He has failed to complete the job correctly, put up bad pickets, built the gates wrong, also did not square it up on one corner. He has harrased me in texts, used bad language, and refuses to fix it according to the original specifications and agreement. Do I have to pay him

the remainder he is owed if it is not done correctly? Also, what do I do about his harrasing and abusive language towards me in the texts?

Asked on October 18, 2018 under Business Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you don't pay him, he could sue you for the money. In the lawsuit, he will try to prove that he completed the work to specificiation and at a commercially acceptable level of quality. You could defend the lawsuit on the basis that the work was unacceptable, since to the extent that the work is not of acceptable quality, you would not have to pay for it. The court would listen to both of you, view any photographic or documentatary evidence, and decide whether and to what extent you have to pay. So you may be able to not pay the balance, but may have to go to court and prove your position to do so.
If/when his harassment rises to a serious enough level, contact the police: whether he is a contractor of yours or not, he may not harass you.


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