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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 36622
Experience:  Attorney,16 years experience in consumer protection areas
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My wife signed a contract to have our floors refinished. The

Customer Question

My wife signed a contract to have our floors refinished. The contract she signed didn't have all of the items she discussed with him, but she thought maybe they were included he just didn't list all of them.
When i read the contract a few days later i noticed that it was missing 10 tasks that were supposed to be included. So i typed up a list of the items and sent it over to him. Instead of responding by e mail, he called me and we discussed the missing items.
He said that he didn't have any of those in his estimate, but he would throw in the replacement of 10 tiles.
After my discussion with him and finding out he didn't have anything that wasn't listed in his estimate i was bothered and got a couple more estimates.
We chose a different contractor to do the work that included all the items on our list.
When i notified the first contractor we would be using another contractor (I thought would be the polite thing to do, because this was over a 2 week period) he told me that my wife had signed his contract and he would be sending me a bill for his materials, crew scheduling and the time he spent on our project.
He called it "reasonable compensation". The bill is for $900.
I feel bad because we did schedule him to come start the project a couple of times, but had to cancel because our tile guy wasnt finished yet.
Do we owe him anything?
A lien person left a message on my wifes phone and we are confused.
Can anybody help me this. We aren't sure what to do. We don't want a lien on our house.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Is there anything in the written contract about what happens in the event of a breach?
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Has the contractor submitted a written itemized list of his damages to you?
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Is the "lien person" talking about filing a "mechanic's lien" on your property?
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Barrister,1) This is all it says on the contract is. "In the event of buyer defaults under the terms of this agreement, buyer agrees to pay reasonable attorney fees, if the sums due are collected through an attorney.2) He has not provided an itemized list, just a bill for $900.3) Not sure which type of lien. It was a lien service that left a message on my wifes phone.He did nothing at our house.
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Ok, in a situation like this, in order for him to be able to recover any money from you, he would have to be able to prove damages that he incurred in preparing for the job.
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Legally you could argue that there was no "meeting of the minds" that is necessary to form a completed contract since you assumed that those additional tasks would be included in the contract bid.
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However, since wife signed the contract without the other terms included, a court could find a binding legal contract under the "four corners doctrine" which states that the all the terms of a written contract are contained within the "four corners" of the document. Anything that wasn't specifically written in the contract would not be included and verbal modifications wouldn't be enforceable unless they were added to the contract.
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With that said, I would have to opine that if he can prove actual damages he has incurred in preparation for performance under the contract, he could hold you liable for those. If you aren't able to reach an agreement with him to pay any proven damages, he could file a mechanic's lien on your home and then file suit to try and foreclose on the lien.
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However, if he did file suit, he would have to prove to the court that he incurred the actual damages by itemizing any charges as the court won't accept just a blanket number as his damages.
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A further complication is the attorney fee clause which would make you liable for his attorney fees if he did sue. And that could easily increase the amount by several thousand dollars for attorney fees.
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With that said, I would suggest that you request an itemized list of his alleged damages and then try to negotiate a settlement with him for some lesser amount..
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thanks
Barrister
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