Is a contract with an unlicensed plumber or electrician void?

UPDATED: Mar 1, 2012

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Is a contract with an unlicensed plumber or electrician void?

My friend was ripped off by an unlicensed electrician, who took the check and never came back to do the work. Joe put a stop payment. The check has been cashed at a check cashing place, ant they are suing Joe because they are “Holder in Due Course”. I looked that up online, and found that illegality of contract is a defense against anyone but only if the illegality makes the contract void. If the contract is only voidable, Joe’s only recourse is to sue the scammer (good luck!). So, is Joe or the check cashing place going to have to eat the loss?

Asked on March 1, 2012 under General Practice, Ohio


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Joe will need to file a complaint with his bank and the entity who regulates the check cashing entity. The voidability of contract has only to do with those in privy of contract, not to the check cashing place who was basically a bona fide purchaser of the check if you will. You need to have your friend contact the agency who licenses electricians and have them investigate and contact the state attorney general or local prosecutor to see who else would have jurisdiction over this matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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