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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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I had a contractor that worked putting up crown & base

Customer Question

I had a contractor that worked for me putting up crown & base moudling as well as door casing and window casing. He thought it was fair to pay him daily because he couldnt estimate the scope of the work to give me an estimate. He worked for 6 days with a helper woking 2 days. Total labor was $3,400.00 I also paid for all materials. He then told my wife he wasnt coming back on 12/21 because he couldnt handle the pressure. So since Monday the 21st of Dec I have a dining room area with no mouldings, spackled walls and nail holes that need to be filled and painted. He also took off all my moulding in the surrounding areas and left them bare. We firlmy believe he was taking drugs beacuse he was shaken quite noticeably. What legal options do I have
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Really - this kind of work should not be beyond the scope of work for a contractor to provide you with an estimate, check to see if this is really a licensed contractor (see:

If the contractor is not licensed - you have remedies - see this link for details:

If your contractor is actually licensed - with this work being left undone for only 4 days - it is probably pre-mature to file a breach of contract action. So you probably should start with a written demand to complete the agreed upon work as agreed within a specific time. If they fail to complete the work within a reasonable time (for example "10 days from the date of this letter") - then file a small claims case against them for damages (the cost of having a licensed contractor come in and repair the damages).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Our agreement was to continue working until all casing and moudlings were hung.

He also cashed a check that was to be brought back to me on Monday.

He then proceeded to tell me over a speaker phone and with 2 witnesess present that he was going to punch me in the face if he was there.

We also know he was taking some kind of drugs.

I wouldnt have him come back.

If he was not licensed what remedydo I have. What agency issues the license

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

If he is threatening you with physical violence - you can get a temporary restraining order against him. You do not have to allow him back in your home (this changes things).

I provided you with a link (above) regarding how to deal with an unlicensed home improvement contractor.

Your suspicion of him being on narcotics does not affect the contract he is still responsible for performing the work in a workmanlike manner - if he cannot do so himself, he is responsible for finding someone to do so on his behalf - it does however change things when it comes to issues of personal safety.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

How do I get a temporary restrainign order against him?

If he is not licensed what remedies do I have

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
  1. Penalties Against Contractors: A customer may sue for actual damages, plus a $500 penalty and reasonable attorneys’ fees if the contractor has used fraudulent written statements to get the customer to sign the contract. The Attorney General is also authorized to go to court to stop illegal practices and order contractors to compensate defrauded customers. Contractors can also face $100 civil fines for violating the Home Improvement Contract Law, and fines from $250 to $2,500 for violating provisions of the law dealing with the protection of a customer’s payments.

Local Licensing Laws: A contractor must also continue to comply with any local licensing laws. For further details, refer to Article 36-A of the General Business Law and Section 71-a(4) of the Lien Law.

  • For a civil restraining order, you will have to petition the court, you must show an "immenent threat of physical harm" (so not only that this individual threatened to hit you, but also a credible threat that they actually intend to follow through i.e. that you are fearful they intend to harm you). - here is information on that:
  • If you (or your family) are in fear of immenent harm (the contractor comes to your home and is threatening you) - contact 9-1-1 right away.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The contract was verbal. My home now has so much materials on the floor undone

Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

There is not a "quick" fix that is going to get the necessary repairs done to your house.

You can send the contractor notice that you are hiring another contractor to complete the work, then sue him for damages.

Whether or not he pays you for this (or is solvent to satisfy a judgment) is another matter, but that is your remedy.

This should fall under the small claims jurisdictional threshold (up to $5,000.00), and you can sue quickly and easily without requiring an attorney - see:

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