Can an unlicensed contactor sue a client who won’t pay for a completed job?

UPDATED: Sep 24, 2012

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Can an unlicensed contactor sue a client who won’t pay for a completed job?

My dad, who has no license, does remodeingl for the local Chinese community in his spare time. This time, a lady who he remodeled for, refused to pay the rest of the money. We only have an invoice for the proof of the job but we do not have the signature. She also asked him to connect the AC unit. When my dad said that he does not know how to do it, she asserted and said that she won’t hold us liable for anything that happens. Now she is deducting from the final payment because apparently the AC was not connected correctly? Having no license and no signature, do we have a fair chance of winning if we pursue this matter legally?

Asked on September 24, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Tennessee


Craig Singer / Attorney Craig Singer

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The quick answer is, it depends. I know it's not the answer you were looking for. If your dad did the work, and the work was done well, then he needs to be "made whole" and be paid for his services. the more evidence you have to show he did the work, the better. examples- receipts for product he bought for the job, witness in court that saw him working there, etc,  he cannot collect on his faulty work on AC, and actually, he is liable for any damages stemming from the AC.  being licensed is great, but if he did the work unlicensed, he did the work. 

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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