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Maverick
Maverick, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 5767
Experience:  20 years of professional experience
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I'm looking for information on what to do with a contractor

Customer Question

I'm looking for information on what to do with a contractor who didn't do what he said he would do, and now isn't returning calls or emails.
JA: Because laws vary from state to state, could you tell me what state is this in?
Customer: Michigan
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: There's a lot of things I would imagine, but basically the contractor did shoddy work, didn't do what was promised, and now isn't honoring the agreement or warranty.
JA: Because consumer protection law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: I already did, it's in Michigan.
JA: Sorry about that. I must have missed it. Could you tell me again?
Customer: Michigan
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

Welcome! My name is Maverick. Please give me a few minutes to analyze and/or research your inquiry and I will be back.

Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

What you would do here is sue the contractor for breach of contract and ask to receive the benefit of your bargain. For example, you could send the contractor written notice that if he does not come out and finish the job as promised within 10 days, then you will hire someone else to finish the work and sue him for the bill. Or you could call a new contractor to come out and give you an estimate of the cost to finish this job and sue the old contractor for that amount of money. You could do this in small claims court if the amount you are seeking is less than $5,500.

See this link.

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Customer: replied 3 months ago.
They advertise satisfaction guarantee, I'm not satisfied at all with their work, I've let them know this both written and verbal. I don't want them to finish the work, what I'd like is to sue them to get all my money back, have their license taken away and have someone else do the work. That'll be over $5500.00, so small claims court isn't an option. I highly doubt they'll be around much longer, so I'm assuming I'm just SOL, right?
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

1. Home improvement and building contractors are licensed by the Michigan Bureau of Commercial Services. You can file a complaint at that link.

2. Electrician, mechanical contractors, & plumbers in Michigan are licensed by the Bureau of Construction Codes and you can file a complaint there.

MORE TO COME...

Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

2. If they have advertised satisfaction guaranteed than you may need to find out what the details are about how that guarantee works and ask for a refund. Then, if they don't comply you can sue under the terms of that express warranty for a breach of warranty claim. You will need to file in Michigan District Court if the amount exceed $5,500 but is less than $25,000. If over 25k, then file in Circuit Court.

3. Suing and getting a judgment is one thing. Collecting on it is another. So, you need to determine right up front whether the contractor is a deadbeat or whether he still has something to lose.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
If he's a deadbeat with nothing to lose, files bankruptcy and shuts down shop, then there's nothing I can do to him personally to collect? It is an incorporated business, not an LLC. Can he just re apply for another license in another business name and continue working? Is there a way to prevent him from continuing business? I know he operates another business right out of the same physical address, under a different name, doing something else. But what about him personally, what can be done to stop him from continuing to rip off people?
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

1. Unless you can show that he used the INC. as a vehicle to perpetrate an actual fraud, the INC. will protect his personal assets. This is called piercing the corporate veil. A simple breach of contract will not qualify to pierce the corporate veil.

2. Typically, the license is issued in the name of a contractor, individually. For example, MICH law states:

Sec. 7.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (3) and section 14, an individual, partnership, association, corporation, governmental subdivision, college, or university shall not perform installations, alterations, or servicing of work classifications under section 6(3), which are regulated by the state construction code act of 1972, 1972 PA 230, MCL(###) ###-####to(###) ###-#### unless the individual, or an employee of the individual, partnership, association, corporation, governmental subdivision, college, or university has received a contractor's license from the department, which has not been revoked or suspended, and the license is either classified and limited as provided in section 6 or is annotated as provided in section 8, and the holder of the license has secured the appropriate permit from the enforcing agency charged with the responsibility of issuing permits.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Ok, he is also a licensed contractor and neither his company or himself pulled a permit to do the work. Now I'm in a position where I had un permitted work done on my house, and he was the one who was supposed to do that, per the contract we have. What about Michigan Consumer Protection Act 445.903 Sec. 3 (l)? "Misrepresenting that because of some defect in a consumer's home the health, safety, or lives of the consumer or his family are in danger if the product or service are not purchased, when in fact the defect does not exist or the product or service would not remove the danger." They stated that we had mold growing in our attic from the leaking chimney and that the insulation was to be removed per their "mold abatement procedure". He said it'd be handled with care, put in trash bags sealed closed inside the attic area, furnace off, fans in the windows to pressurize the house, rooms sealed off, but what I saw when they were removing it, was it was being pulled out and shoved into bags, it was everywhere, no protective gear, no mold clean up, spraying or anything.
Expert:  Maverick replied 3 months ago.

I would be happy to assist you further on this but will require you to add money to your deposited amount. I hope you can understand as there is an opportunity cost to my spending too much time on one customer's inquiry. Thank you.

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