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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I contracted with a cabinet maker I found online. He did not

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I contracted with a cabinet maker I found online. He did not install the correct cabinets and refused to fix them.They are the wrong shade, odd size door and too many doors per cabinet, hang to long for a microwave, and open in the wrong direction. I contacted my bank and won arbitration through VISA. He them put a lein on my new house for $2000. I believe the lein is illegal. He is now taking me to court for the $2000 which will begin with arbitration. What are my options at this point? To get the cabinets fixed will be about $1500.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Pro replied 3 years ago.
Who measured for the cabinets?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They did. The cabinet boxes fit it is the doors that are incorrect and different from what I stated.

Is the lein illegal since I won arbitration with VISA?

Expert:  Law Pro replied 3 years ago.
Did you pay for that Visa arbitration?

Or was this just a charge-back dispute?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
It was a charge - back dispute. No, I did not pay for it and they returned the amount charged.
Expert:  Law Pro replied 3 years ago.
I now realize that this is a duplicate question. I will opt out of this question so that you can deal with the other expert and your other duplicate question.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Didn't realize I couldn't get a second opinion. I don't have a problem with the first opinion anyway.
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
Are you still looking for a second opinion?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I am. Would like to hear another opinion.
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
Because he is taking you to court you need to answer denying his claim. Your options at this point are to defend the court claim. Because you have determined that the cabinet maker did not perform as he agreed to and did in fact installed the wrong cabinets, you have a defense that he materially breached the contract and thus terminated your obligation to pay. That being said, if you have kept the materials that he put in, then you are going to end up owing him something (if not the full amount). The only way to stop from owing him for the incorrectly installed material is to remove the material and give it back to you.

So, because the work of the cabinet marker was no good, you do not have to pay him for the work. However, because you actually have the material installed and have kept it, you will owe him for the material (if he in fact paid for it rather than you having paid for it and he just came and installed it).

You cannot counter sue him for breach of contract because you have not fulfilled your side of the contract. If you had paid him, and then he did not due the job, you would have a counter suit. However, since no money has changed hands, you do not yet have a right to counter-sue.

Please let me know if you have any questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I think I can countersue and have the case dismissed since I already won arbitration and he put an illegal lein on my house after arbitration.
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
I thought you said the arbitration was through VISA, as in it was an arbitration over the credit card dispute.

If it was, then that will not be a binding arbitration on the actual issue of breach of contract.

Further, the lien is for non payment on the work he has done. It is outside the scope of the VISA arbitration. The VISA arbitration was only in connection with the charge back and does not solve the controversy between you and the cabinet maker.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that there is not a legitimate dispute between you two. He has performed work, it just wasn't the work you hired him to do. You have these cabinets actually sitting in your house. If he spent money on purchasing the material, he likely has a right to recoup that from you. This is what the lawsuit will be over.

The lien is not per se illegal, it is legally incorrect. The difference being that he had a right to put it on because he hasn't been paid anything and you kept the materials. He is incorrect in that the lien is not for $2000, because the work did not produce what he promised to produce, i.e., working cabinets in the form you asked for.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Well. That is why I asked for a second opinion because this answer conflicts in entirety to the first opinion.
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
There may have been some misunderstanding with your previous expert regarding the effect of the VISA arbitration.

Since a VISA arbitration is only connected to the issue of whether VISA was correct in charging back the vendor, this is the only issue that is dealt with. The vendor and the purchaser are bound by this arbitration under the terms of the credit agreement with VISA. However, it does not have any affect on the substantive legal argument between the vendor and the purchaser, such as in this case. An arbitration can only settle those issues to which the parties have agreed to submit to the arbitration for settlement.

Please let me know if you need further clarification.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Well, what is the best way to keep my credit report clean and not getting even a $1.00 judgement?
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
The best way is to answer the lawsuit and assert your defense that the cabinet maker did not perform his obligations under the contract and is thus not entitled to payment. At that point, there are two different routes you could take:

1. Remove the cabinets and all materials and give them back tot he cabinet maker.
2. Find out the exact amount owed for what he spent on the cabinet materials and offer this to him to settle the dispute; or offer him the opportunity to come over and take the cabinets out.

I'm assuming that this case is going forward in small claims court. If my assumption is correct, then when you get to the court hearing, you tell the judge you have offered to pay the cabinet maker for his materials or remove the cabinets, but he has refused. Then state your defense that he did not install them correctly and they are not what you ordered, so you are not going to pay for work you did not agree to or a finished product that isn't what the cabinet maker promised. You would also ask that the judge order the lien removed from you property

If the judge does not dismiss the case, then he might have a finding against you. At that point you would pay whatever the judgment is and have the cabinet maker sign a "release of judgment" or "settlement" which you would then file with the court. This will prevent there from being a negative report on your credit. In the settlement or release, you also have him agree to remove the lien as the payment will satisfy the lien.

I expect the judge will order you to pay for the cost of the cabinets and order him to remove the lien. You would want to have a document stating that payment satisfies the judgment and certifies that he agrees to remove the lien.
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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