Suing a Contractor

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Posted by: from Ottawa
2/6/2013 at 3:12:10 PM

We have an ageement with a contractor to put up James Hardie siding on our house. We got a quote and agreed to the price and drew up a contract. He required $5,000 to purchase the material. The remaining amount would be provided once the job was done. The check was cashed and start date was agreed to. The contractor constantly moved the start date to a later date, every 2 weeks or so over a period of about 3 months., claiming a very busy time.

We have asked to have the material delivered to the house, but to no avail. He no longer responds to emails or phone calls.

What's my next step?

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Steve from Bath Revival in Oshawa
Date/Time2/6/2013 at 3:20:12 PM

Sorry to hear that. I would leave a message and email requesting your money back. If he says he has already bought the material ask to have it picked up. Make sure you get a receipt for the product.

Do you have his contact info? His address and such. Also how did you find him?

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Steve from Bath Revival in Oshawa
Date/Time2/6/2013 at 4:01:43 PM

If you have told him you would like to cancel the contract then I would leave a telephone message and email stating that if don't receive word within 5 days you will be filing a lawsuit.

I think it costs about $200 to file small claims suit and I think they go up $5,000. In 5 days go to the court house a file a suit. You won't need a lawyer or paralegal, but you could call a paralegal. They may give a free 30 minute consultation.

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 4:18:40 PM

That's to bad. Red flag if a contractor needs money to order material, look like this guy has money problems.

You should call him and arrange something with him. Small claims court will take three years to get a date.

Tell the contractor if he does not call you back you will make a report with the police, it's fraud.

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 4:25:23 PM

This totally sucks, however in this case I don't believe there is a need to try to accommodate the contractor. This is simple fraud. Since the contractor has not delivered the material to your house as part of the contract he has committed fraud or theft. I would simply call the cops.

If he did deliver the material, then it would be a different story for sure. You could go after him for the installation of the contract, but that would be a court issue and really if you are not out anything, it is likely not a battle worth fighting.



John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 4:33:23 PM


Very sorry to hear that. Contractors usually do require a deposit however it's usually 25 percent or so.

Do yourself a favor and call police because it is fraud if you haven't received anything. They will definitely get a hold of this person fast!

McCarthy Landscaper

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 4:40:50 PM

Start by leaving messages on his phones and email that you want your money back within say 5 days. Record your messages as proof. Read your contract carefully for any loop holes. Since he has not done any work or dropped off materials, it's fraud and you can call the police and they will charge him.

Not sure if the police can get your money back, ask them. If not file a small claims against him, it's not expensive and you don't need a lawyer.

Good luck.

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 4:50:03 PM

If everything was as you describe, you most definitely have a court case. The contractor has also commited fraud, if it can be proved. By this I mean you have all of the documentation and it is all dated and signed. I hope you made the cheque out to the company.

Do you have an address for this company. If so, are they still there? Contact them and ask for your money back within the week. Record the call. If there is no response file a claim at court immediatly. This is an irritating route to go but if the company and the person do not disapear, at least you will get your settlement in the end. As well as costs for same.

But in the future, and for all that are reading this. Get referals, know where the company works out of.

I invite all of my potential clients who are interested to come to my home, and see work around my place as well as at clients homes when possible.

The comment made about the deposit is incorrect. Any company that does not know the home owner will ask for a deposit. As well as setting up a payment schedual if it is a large job. Trust goes both ways. But I will tell you, clients I know, say in the neighbourhood are not asked for a deposit until I arrive and begin.

Hope you get your deposit back.

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 5:01:34 PM

It appears that you are in a bit if a sticky situation...

Your first step should be to take the written contract to a lawyer. He will advise you accordingly.

I have a question; As a consumer, what steps did you follow prior to hiring this person or company?


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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 5:12:14 PM

This is the exact situation that metro licenses were designed to deal with. Hopefully you hired someone with a metro license. The government does very little to make sure that its only licensed contractors running around. Its up to you as the consumer.

So if you see a trade number or met. Number report it to the municiple trades commission. If not then your only left with court.

Sorry about your experience, we're not all like that.

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 5:23:21 PM

Hi Joe,

As long as you have a signed contract and the right information about this contractor, you could file a claim with the small claim court.

As soon as he will receive the court paper and if he is in a good standing and doesn't want any problem which I doubt, he will get in touch with you to try solving the matter. Otherwise, the court process is very painfull and sometimes is unfair?



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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 5:31:26 PM

Your next step is to send him a letter via registered mail stating legal action wil be taken should he not respond or ammend the situation a.s.a.p. Then call a local lawyer for a half hour free consultation to determine if you have a case and the credibility of your case.

It is unfortnate that contractors do this to clients but a small claims suit may be your only resolution. I'm not sure if this falls under the criminal code as theft. You may also ask the lawyer if this matter is civil and small claims being your only option ir if it is in fact a criminal matter. I'm not sure of the limitations on this type of matter as I've never been involved in such a dilema.

Best of luck.



HomeWorks by Design

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 5:44:01 PM


It sounds as though you have attempted to make contact for the work to be done, product to be delivered, and/or return of the deposit. With no response, I would go the the local Sheriff's office. They can assist withthe issue. Don't waste any more time, nobody needs that hassel.

Most contractors would "do the right thing" but some are just ... well, you get the idea.

Good luck and I hope it works out for you.

Regards from the west.

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 5:51:46 PM

I'm very sorry to hear that a contractor took advantage of you like that. However you were smart to have a contract drawn up and signed. Now your next step is to take him to small claims court.

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Joe in Ottawa
Date/Time2/6/2013 at 6:45:33 PM

Hello Everyone,

Thanks for your responses to my question. I appreciate your good counsel and suggestions. I'm taking all of this advice and will probably seek legal assistance.

What a fabulous forum. I'm very glad to have had this service and advice. Again thanks.


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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 8:07:51 PM

I agree with everyone else. Those of us who are honest feel horrible when some jerk takes advantage of a homeowner. I would see what the police have to say, then seek legal advise. Would be a pretty easy win in small claims if you can get him to show up...

Good luck Joe, we're pullin for ya!

Jason in OTTAWA

Overall carpentry nad Home repair

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Date/Time2/6/2013 at 9:07:23 PM

May I first start by saying, when a contractor asks for a deposit to secure materials and so forth it should send up RED flags and all the bells and whistles will sound. It is at this point we have to do our due diligence and find out a little more regarding this individual / company.

If you have entered into a binding contract you are obligated to enter into default and pay a small fee for time spent on the contractors part and there could be re-stocking charges as well, we provide this option to our prospective clients should they fall on financial hard times. Our charges amount to 6% of the contract price for materials on order and 4% administration charges on the balance thereof furthermore, if a business will not promptly return messages it sounds like you should proceed immediately with small claims court action and also contact local law enforcement to discuss fraudulent activity.

A good business will respond promptly to a letter of your intent if you so desire that direction, this would be my first attempt to recoup your deposit but it sounds like your fight should be legally FIRST.

Good luck with your endeavor.

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Date/Time2/7/2013 at 12:26:56 AM

Contact the BetterBusiness Bureau and file a complaint. He can be fined up to 250,000. The canadian goverment is cracking down on this TYPE OF ACTION. The BBB might even help with what steps you should take. Even if he is not a member any complaint can be filed. Just goggle BBB, file on line. Small claims is a good option.

Good luck hope this helps.

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Date/Time2/7/2013 at 7:27:55 AM

See this it what gives the rest of us a very bad name.

First question he clearly has not given you're money back has he ? This is terrible most if the time I do not even except cash until a day befor the job starts if at all. This ass clearly is messed up you are going to have a hard time and I speak for all the good contractors out there.

I/we wish you the best if luck unfortunately you have a hard road ahead of you. Call a lawyer get help as soon as possible.

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James from Coey Stairs in Milton
Date/Time2/7/2013 at 7:51:39 AM

This is not complicated. Someone took your money promising something and didnt give you anything in return, in any situation that is fraud. Dont waste time or money on a lawyer, CALL THE POLICE!!!!!!

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Date/Time2/26/2013 at 9:22:14 PM

You need to call the authorities and demand action and press charges so he takes this seriously.

As well since it is tax time call the Canada Revenue Agency and let them be aware and give details on The Company Name and this might give him some headaches with his books and perhaps an audit which will probably hurt him since he is already crooked he probably does not pay his taxes fairly.

Do not waste another day and take action. Do not try calling him again. I would not even ask for the materials but hope that the materials never show up or that could delay any legal action where he could show that it was intended to start because the materials were on site then legally you would have to pay for materials and 30% loss profit margin on the total job.

if he is very busy which I doubt he is he will have to prove that to the CRA and if proven that his payments do not reflect activity his fraud is very easily proven.

The longer you wait now the worse it will be for you. You are probably a very nice person but you do not need to be nice to him.

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Hm in Ottawa
Date/Time3/1/2013 at 9:38:30 PM

Hi Joe,

Would you happen to have the name of his company? It sounds like I'm in the same situation like you but it involves with my foundation, and I'm also located in Ottawa. The contractor I talked to mentioned doing siding with me in our last conversation but I don't know if we are talking the same contractor.

You can PM into my inbox.



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