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Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 33178
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience in various consumer protection areas
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My company performed an exterior painting job in Illinois (we

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My company performed an exterior painting job in Illinois (we are based out of Indiana) for a commercial property owner. The customer was not satisfied with one of the four walls that we painted. We did not know they were not satisfied (they gave us a punch list of touch ups to perform which did not include painting the back of the building again). When we pressed them for payment (about 2 months after their punch list was completed) they are telling us that they hired another painting contractor to paint the back of the building and are back charging us $3000 (total job was $7500). Can they legally do this without giving us an opportunity to rectify the "problem".
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
Can they legally do this without giving us an opportunity to rectify the "problem".
No, they can not unilaterally decide the work product is not satisfactory and hire someone else to redo the job without first notifying you and giving you an opportunity to try and cure the problem. You must be granted a reasonable opportunity to cure whatever legitimate defect the customer complains of prior to them charging back on the job. The rationale is that otherwise the customer gets the benefit of the work performed at no cost to the customer and can retain another general contractor to redo the work for a fraction of what the whole job would cost.
In any contractual situation, both parties have a legal duty to act in good faith to resolve any problems that arise in the performance of the contract. I would opine that the customer did not do so here. They had a perfect opportunity to notify you on the punch list of their dissatisfaction with the back wall and work with you to remedy it. But instead they were silent, despite noting some issues on the punch list, and instead taking action to cure themselves.
As far as that goes, unless you have verified that they actually had the job redone, they could simply be telling you this in an effort to shortchange you. Or they could have had a buddy submit an invoice to them for allegedly repainting.
The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that I don't think the customer acted in good faith and you would have legal grounds to sue them for breach of contract if they refuse to pay the remaining money you are owed. If this is a company, if you sue them, they will have to hire an attorney to defend and that will cost a couple thousand. So if you were to pay an attorney to send them a "demand letter" threatening to sue, they may reconsider their position rather than get sued, have to hire a lawyer, and get dragged into court where they may very well lose.
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