What can I do if a contractor hasn’t paid me for services rendered?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What can I do if a contractor hasn’t paid me for services rendered?

I was told by a contractor that if I got leads for him at a trade show he would pay $20 per lead and I ended up getting 22 leads. He also told me that he would be able to pay me within that week but now it’s going on the third week after the show and he has nothing but excuses. What

should I do next?

Asked on April 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your only real recourse is to sue the contractor for breach of contract--the agreement, whether written or oral, pursuant to which he agreed to pay for the leads; you would also sue based on the theory of "unjust enrichment"--that is is inequitable to allow him to be enriched by getting the leads from you without paying for them. To win the case, you'd need to prove in court, by a "preponderance of the evidence" (that it is "more likely than not"), that you had an agreement for $20/lead and that you provided 22 leads. For the amount of money at stake ($440, or 22 x $20.00) it would make no sense to sue in regular county or district court or hire an attorney--you'd spend pretty much as much or more on the suit as you'd get back. It is only economically worthwhile to sue if you sue in small claims court "pro se," or as your own attorney.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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