OK; thank you - so for home contractors, the contract need not be in writing if the sale is less than $2000 (for home repair purposes), however, the seller must provide notice of the 3 day right to cancel for home solicitations ( the 3 day right to cancel is here: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/83.720) and that 3 day right to cancel is not effective until the written notice is provided, along with a written contract per the following statute: http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/83.730
So to be clear, certain laws apply to home improvements; and certain laws apply to any home solicitation sale.
This does a good job explaining the home solicitation issue
This explains a home improvement issue.
So when the home improvement seller is doing a home solicitation, the contract needs to be in writing, and the 3 day notice of cancellation must be given.
Failure to comply with these regulations typically result in the court finding against the contractor, precisely because their failure to comply with the requirement led to the ambiguity in the first place.
As such there are 2 possible causes of action:
1. breach of contract (oral or written):
An agreement must contain four essential elements to be regarded as a contract. If any one of them is missing, the agreement will not be legally binding.
3. Intention (meeting of the minds)
4. Consideration (fair value exchanged)
For breach of a contract, there is a material breach (goes to the very heart of the matter) and an immaterial breach (money damages will help compensate the plaintiff).
In cases of material breach, the party not in breach may revoke their acceptance, so goods/payment are returned.
For immaterial breach, the plaintiff is compensated by the defendant paying for the damages (ie cost of repair).
2. negligence: Negligence is defined as a failure to perform with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but may consist of omissions when there is some duty to act. This cause of action has 5 elements: the existence of a legal duty to exercise reasonable care; a failure to exercise reasonable care; harm caused by the negligent conduct; physical harm of actual damages; and proximate cause (reasonably foreseeable damages).
So the alternatives are to send a demand letter, stating that the contractor must make satisfactory repairs in order to receive payment. Any third party professional opinions will be helpful, as would any emailed/written statements re: promises to repair (if applicable).
Or to hire a third party to repair the problem and deduct the cost from the amount owing, and pay the balance due.
Generally if one writes a good demand letter with documentation (pictures, summary of events) then the company will honor their work, as shoddy work often results in a judgment for plaintiff.
A complaint can be filed here:
http://www.oregon.gov/CCB/complaints/Pages/file-complaint.aspx - after the contractor is given 30 days notice via certified mail.
or a small claims action can be filed here:
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.