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AlexiaEsq.
AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  19+ Years of Legal Practice in Consumer Protection.
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I hired an independent contractor in May to do both interior

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I hired an independent contractor in May to do both interior and exterior work around my house. The total contract price was $4350. He asked for $2175 upfront, which I paid him. Most (but not all) of the exterior work was performed to my satisfaction. However, I wasn't happy with the interior work and left him a voice mail on August 9 voicing my concerns over what I felt was sub-par work. He did not return my call. Instead, I received a nasty response via e-mail from his office manager on August 11 telling me that he would not return to finish the job because my house was poorly constructed and I misrepresented the work that needed to be done (which wasn't true). I subsequently hired a reputable company to fix his poor workmanship and perform the rest of the work I need to have done. Needless to say, this other company has had no problem getting the work done in a professional and timely manner. The contractor who walked off the job is demanding an additional $1000 (for a total of $3175, which is less than the original contract price of $4350) and is threatening to sue me or turn me over to a collection agency if I don't pay by September 30. I'm pretty sure he's unlicensed. The Commonwealth of Virginia has an online database where you can look up licenses and I can't find one that's been issued to him or his company. I have subsequently learned it's misdemeanor in Virgina for him to perform the work he does without a license. What, if any, rights do I have? The Commonwealth of Virginia has pretty strict laws to protect consumers and advises consumers to not pay in full "until the job is 100% complete and you are satisfied with the work." As he walked off the job, didn't finish the work in a satisfactory manner and refused to work with me to resolve the issues I raised, do I owe him the additional $1000 that he's billing me or should I just ignore his threats?
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I thank you for your inquiry. I have been practicing Consumer Protection law for 19 years and look forward to assisting you.

I hired an independent contractor in May to do both interior and exterior work around my house. The total contract price was $4350. He asked for $2175 upfront, which I paid him. Most (but not all) of the exterior work was performed to my satisfaction. However, I wasn't happy with the interior work and left him a voice mail on August 9 voicing my concerns over what I felt was sub-par work. He did not return my call. Instead, I received a nasty response via e-mail from his office manager on August 11 telling me that he would not return to finish the job because my house was poorly constructed and I misrepresented the work that needed to be done (which wasn't true). I subsequently hired a reputable company to fix his poor workmanship and perform the rest of the work I need to have done. Needless to say, this other company has had no problem getting the work done in a professional and timely manner. The contractor who walked off the job is demanding an additional $1000 (for a total of $3175, which is less than the original contract price of $4350) and is threatening to sue me or turn me over to a collection agency if I don't pay by September 30. I'm pretty sure he's unlicensed. The Commonwealth of Virginia has an online database where you can look up licenses and I can't find one that's been issued to him or his company. I have subsequently learned it's misdemeanor in Virgina for him to perform the work he does without a license. What, if any, rights do I have?

You have the right to do nothing - if you feel you do not owe him any money, that your $2000+ paid sufficiently for what you got, then you can sit back and if he does sue you, you then defend. You will want to call the new company as expert witness to testify as to the poor workmanship of his interior work, to prove that it was worth no more than $2000. SHould it come to that, if you ended up paying the new company MORE than what you'd promised to pay the first contractor, you may be able to sue HIM (counterclaim) for his breach of contract, since you suffered financial damages as a direct result of his breach. IN other words, the whole job was supposed to be $4350. If you ended up paying, say, $5000 total because the new company either charged more generally or because they had more work to do (removing is work, then redoing), that difference may be a damage you can recover/win on counterclaim (or even if you initiate the suit on that basis).

The Commonwealth of Virginia has pretty strict laws to protect consumers and advises consumers to not pay in full "until the job is 100% complete and you are satisfied with the work." Yes.

As he walked off the job, didn't finish the work in a satisfactory manner and refused to work with me to resolve the issues I raised, do I owe him the additional $1000 that he's billing me or should I just ignore his threats?
I'd say NOT unless and until a court so dictates that work that was done properly was worth more than what you paid. However, if you are fairly sure that is untrue, and again, if fixing his mistakes cost you more than you had fairly bargained for with him, many would simply ignore his threats (or sue him for their own financial losses due to his breach). You can also report him for lack of license to the board and/or the DA.


I hope this helps! My goal is to provide you with excellent and accurate service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate me "excellent" when you are done. I look forward to assisting you in the future, should you have legal questions.

Sincerely,

Alexia Esq.

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