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My contractor stopped working and disappeared, and I already made full payment

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Posted by: from Coquitlam
11/23/2016 at 11:54:43 AM

I hired a contractor to do interior and exterior renovation of my house back in June. I made a total payment of $63000 for the labor costs over the period of a few months.

While the renovation was supposed to be finished at the end of September, the contractor kept asking for more time every time the finish date came, and I had no choice but to give him more time.

Early November, the contractor demanded that I pay him $7000 for extra services he had apparently provided, which I had never asked for, and for which I was never consulsted about their price. The day I refused to pay him, he halted the renovation, sent all the workers home, and stopped showing up the following days.

I eventually ended up agreeing to pay him $7000 - $4000 upon finishing the interior, and $3000 upon finishing the exterior. - we both signed a new contract for this.

But because I felt and knew my contractor was not doing his job properly - for instance, I could clearly tell the bathroom tiles on the wall were not straight and water was not properly draining - I paid another reputable contractor to come to my place and check over the renovation progress while my contractor was not there.

The contractor went over every little details with me, and there were A LOT of problems both exterior and interior. I would basically have to redo the exterior ENTIRELY, and the repair cost for the interior will be also substantial.

When I informed my contractor about this the next day, he said he understood. The next day, however, he didn't show up, and hasn't been showing up since then. He has been deliberately ignoring my phone calls.

I sent him emails to inform him I will be taking legal actions against him if he does not resume renovation, which he read after a few hours (I can check if someone has read my email or not).

Then, when I sent him another email telling him to pick up his equipment left on my property, I immediately got an email saying that the email does not exist anymore.

I've been living at this construction site with a blanket and a pillow since October since I can't afford to live somewhere else, and my daughters have been staying over at their friends' places. I really need help.

So my questions are:

1) Can I file a criminal complaint for a fraud in this case?

2) How can I even sue him if I can't reach him? I don't know his current address. (I know his phone number, lincense number, car plate number, previous address)

3) Can I hire a new contractor to work on my place before my contract ends? The contract is supposed to end on November 31st for the interior and December 15th for the exterior.

4) What can I do about the equipment and tools he left at my place? Again, I can't give him a notice before removing them from my property since I do not know his address, and I cannot reach him!

REPLIES (4)
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Date/Time11/23/2016 at 5:48:21 PM

Since there is a contract, you should let the contract time run out before thinking about taking legal action. once the time runs out stipulated on the contract, seek legal advise and also get a assessment from a professional contractor as to what the damages are in terms of the work, this contractor should serve as a witness eventually. if you take legal action before the time runs out, you can be breaching the contract and you don't want to do that. either way, you will need to gather as much written information as you can in order to prove your case (phone calls, emails, texts etc). in any case consult with a professional legal representative before taking action.

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Date/Time11/24/2016 at 4:15:13 PM

I have helped people in this situation before and it never ends pretty. No address, contact info and I doubt the contract would hold up anyway. In everyone of these cases I helped with a fortune was spent chasing the contractor and no money was ever recovered.

I'm sorry to say this but its best to lick your wounds and move on. You can't get blood from a stone.

1. You can file a complaint but I doubt it will go anywhere and will take up a lot of your time. Its good to have on the record though.

2. You can sue him but I doubt he has any money to give you. You can chase him and garnish accounts etc but it might never get you anywhere. If he doesn't show up for court you will get a default judgement. Then you can get a garnishment and writ and seizure notice. You will have to figure out where his accounts are and make sure you only seize anything he actually owns.

3. I would hire someone to clean up the mess right away. He's gone and you've basically paid him for the whole job. Theres no point in waiting. Just take lots of pictures and document everything.

Jason Gullett

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Date/Time11/27/2016 at 10:44:25 PM

Unfortunately, this type of claim end up with nothing. If such contractor is good and reliable he will never leave the job site in this condition, that's mean he is not even care about his tools or any court procedure. With no phone number or address that make it even harder. My advice you can just move on with the project with another contractor and you could still file a claim with the court however do not put any weight for any positive out-put.

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Date/Time11/30/2016 at 12:52:16 PM

Fully agree.

Life's too short to chase money you will probably never get.

Jason Gullett

Prestige Steel Buildings

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