If a contractor I hired was arrested before completing the work, what are my options?

UPDATED: Jul 13, 2011

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If a contractor I hired was arrested before completing the work, what are my options?

I hired a contractor to do some repairs to my home. He quoted me at $6500 for everything, and to date I have paid him $5500 of that. He was recently arrested, and I have no idea how long he will be in jail. From what I heard, it could be months. A man claiming to be his assistant offered to complete the repairs if I paid him, but I’m hesitant to pay even more since I haven’t even gotten the $5500 worth of work done. What are my options? Do I just have to wait for the guy to get out of jail?

Asked on July 13, 2011 under Business Law, Alabama


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

What an unfortunate situation for you. Is the contractor a licensed contractor that you hired? If so, contacting the entity that oversees licensed contractors in the State you live in would be a course to take and see what the response is.

You want the work done and have already paid a good portion for work to be performed. Prudence suggests that you find out where the incarcerated contractor is located and write a letter to him or her (with a return stamped envelope with your address) asking status of when he/she plans on getting out of jail and starting the project. If the response is not to your satisfaction, an option would be to advise the contractor in writing that he has failed to perform in a timely manner and are going to hire another contractor to complete the job and that the money provided him/her needs to be returned and if the bid cost for the new contractor exceeds the presumed contract price with the incarcerated contractor, the incarcerated contractor should be obligated on the diffrence between the two contracts.

The key to begin setting forth your options is to read the presumed written contract for th work to be done and see if the agreement sets forth your remedies. Good luck

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