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Contractor Disappeared

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Posted by: from Hamilton
5/22/2018 at 11:36:59 AM

We recently had to have our bathroom reno'd due to water leaking. We were in a rush because I was on bed rest with twins due any day and this is the only bathroom in a house with 6 kids and 2 adults. We found a contractor who came recommended by the neighbourhood who could do the work asap so we jumped on it. He quoted just over a week to gut and reno and gave us a price we thought was fair and so we agreed. No contract was signed. He ended up taking 3 times the length of time he quoted and left the job partially unfinished. We last saw him the night before I was induced and that was the last we saw of him. He also left our house unlocked for two days. My husband tried contacting him asking for the itemized bill before we pay the rest of the cost (we paid about a fourth at this point), but he never responded. He just vanished leaving some unfinished work and the bin in the driveway. Now my question is, since it's been a couple months and he hasn't contacted us at all or sent us an itemized bill, are we obligated to pay the remaining balance? And if we don't, can he put a lien on the house? We need to sell and I don't want this coming back to bite us.

REPLIES (8)
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Date/Time5/22/2018 at 1:10:55 PM

Good morning! You don't have to pay if the job was not complete. Enjoy your family!Responsability it's part of the business so if missing, beginning deal goes off

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Date/Time5/22/2018 at 1:15:33 PM

Do you have anything in writing stating that you've reached out and attempted to contact contractor? Also on the quote he has sent to you does it show office address or gst or hst number? Also try contacting Better Business Bureau with your concerns. It would suck to have to pay for his dissapearance

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Date/Time5/22/2018 at 1:34:13 PM

Hi Elise,

First off I'd like to say I am really sorry to hear about the circumstances you are currently facing with this contractor. Secondly I would like to say congratulations on the arrival of your twins, I hope everyone is healthy and happy!

On the topic of the contractor. Given that there is no paper work signed stating that you owe him any money or that he owes you any work, there is no contractual obligation that he could put a lien on your house with. The situation by the sounds of it isn't that you are refusing to pay for completed work, it's that you aren't paying him for work he hasn't completed (ie the bathroom isn't finished).

That being said, I would consult with a lawyer if you have any friends that can assist you in this area to confirm, but from the contractors point of view, if I don't have documentation to prove you owe me money that is signed by yourself, I have a very tough time collecting money. That is why it's so important for us as contractors to ensure we have all the proper paper work signed and dated to match the agreement made between ourselves and the client.

I hope this information helps, and if you have any questions.

Best Regards!

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Date/Time5/22/2018 at 1:34:32 PM

If you don't have anything in writing saying that you have to pay specific amounts at specific times then it is up to the contractor to invoice or bill you when money is due. You could try and find him via his HST number or business license and see if there is an address associated with them. As for the bin in your driveway I would call the bin company and explain the contractor left and you want the bin picked up. The bin company should have a credit card or an account on file for the contractor which will be billed. The contractor could put a lien on the property but that would mean he wants his money and should make homself availble for payment. Which means answering any communication you try and contact him by.

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Shannon from ACT Home Services in Leduc
Date/Time5/22/2018 at 1:49:17 PM

Yes he could put on a lien but you could fight it easily and have it removed.

If he seemed like a reasonable guy in the beginning and came with good references then most likely something went very wrong on his end. I've watched good carpenters go through divorces, go broke, lose key people etc. and go hide instead of communicating.

Unfortunately, you are left wondering what's going on.

Shannon

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John from Pisces Woodworks in Edmonton
Date/Time5/23/2018 at 2:31:21 PM

Hi, sorry to hear..fly by nighter's are the scourge of our industry. Unfortunately any contractor can put a lien on a house for up to 6 months as per province at anytime for any legitimate reason. In some provinces he must file in court to sue within 30 days otherwise you can remove it, also if he does nothing it automatically is removed after 6 months. However the lien prevents you selling in this period. As he is not answering calls for months I would assume he is long gone never to be heard from and if he comes back don't pay him and threaten to sue him for non completion etc.(have bin removed-you will have to pay for it likely now). In the future never hire a contractor without a written detailed contract, references you can check and never hire the "cheap" guy you will get what you pay for.

Cheers

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John from Pisces Woodworks in Edmonton
Date/Time5/23/2018 at 2:35:08 PM

PS: I strongly disagree with comment by "Shannon"...we have all been there and any" legitimate & reputable contractor" short of their actual death will be at least responsible enough to at least contact the \client and explain the situation and time required to be off job or offer to, send someone else in at their cost finish it at no extra cost or refund all money so they can find someone else. Anything less is a sad excuse of a professional and should be fired or not hired in 1st place.

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Elise in Hamilton
Date/Time5/29/2018 at 2:54:47 PM

Thank for all your responses! My newest twins are doing fabulous after only a very small NICU stay. Looking back I realise we left ourselves very vulnerable, but we were in such a desperate situation. There was no official quote signed, it was all verbal. Any communication we had was either on the phone or through email, but there were no mentions of the quoted time and price in the emails. We left him a key because I had to go live at my parents' home with my kids because this was our only bathroom. The last we tried to contact him was through email where my husband asked for an itemized bill before we paid him and mentioned the things that were left unfinished and that our house was left unlocked. He has not contacted us since and that was March 9th. We had the bin removed 3 weeks after that by calling the bin company. We don't want to call him because we want a record of our conversations.

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