How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask William B. Esq. Your Own Question

William B. Esq.
William B. Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3635
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
71563194
Type Your Legal Question Here...
William B. Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

We hired a landscape contractor and the oral agreement we had

Resolved Question:

We hired a landscape contractor and the oral agreement we had was not followed by him. We will have to have some of the work redone. He also made us pay over20% at signing then half of balance at start of work. We also had a signed contract and as far as it goes, he followed that. e has been uncommunicative with us, except when his wife calls for the remainder of money. He has never seemed interested in his work or if we were happy with it. No follow up. Where do we stand with our rights?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

William B. Esq. :

Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I would like to assist you today.

Customer:

Thank you in advance for any help

William B. Esq. :

I am sorry to learn of this situation with your landscaper. I want to ensure that I understand the situation properly. You have a contractor that had 2 contracts: 1 a written contract, that was roughly followed; and 2 an oral contract that he breached. Is that correct?

William B. Esq. :

(It is my pleasure to work with you).

Customer:

Yes

William B. Esq. :

Okay, the breach of oral contract is actionable (I assume this happened less than 2 years ago). How much money was at issue in the oral contract?

William B. Esq. :

(Plus you can be compensated for the damage/litter he left behind)

Customer:

$13,400 was the contract. Which is a very high quote, which I realize now.

William B. Esq. :

How much is in dispute? (Meaning, if you have not paid him in full, how much does he want, OR; if you have paid him, how much do you want back)?

Customer:

He wants $5,450.00 more.

William B. Esq. :

Okay, one further question - do you have an idea of the approximate value of the work the contractor actually did (this can be a lower end value - but reasonable).

Customer:

$5000.00

William B. Esq. :

Alright, the contractor, by breaching his contract is not entitled to compensation under a strict interpretation of contract law. However, under a theory of equitable law, he is entitled to "quantum meruit" compensation, or the value of the work that he actually performed.


This means that if the contractor attempts to enforce the terms of the contract (in a small claims suit - California's small claims limitation is $10,000.00 in dispute, your amount in dispute is the full value of the contract minus the amount paid), he will claim the full value, you can assert as a defense (1) breach of contract by plaintiff; (2) amount paid


Here are 2 websites that are helpful for small claims actions (CA Courts and CA Dept of Consumer Affairs):


http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm


http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/small_claims/


The good part, is you do not have to worry about this until and unless your contractor files suit against you (unless you want to file a lawsuit to recover the additional money that you feel you overpaid him.

Customer:


We just want to forget him. The money paid is money spent, We didn't get what we asked for but it is a start. I have hired another company (fully checked into ) and it is another $3800. We are willing to pay that but not willing to pay any more moneys to the first contractor.

Customer:

I have filed a complaint with Ca. contractors licensing agency

William B. Esq. :

That is one thing you can do. A regulatory complaint with a licensing agency will not result in any compensation for you, but they will look into the acts or actions of the professional (it won't make him very happy).

William B. Esq. :

You can try mediation through BBB or a similar agency as well if you wish, but frankly, with a complaint against his license I do not know if that will be effective.

Customer:

Exactly. My thoughts are to just not pay. We really thought we would reach an agreement today. But when you have an appointment, you should keep it or call and explain that you will be late. So, that didn't happen and I have a feeling (from the tire marks on the drive) we won't be meeting, again. So, if I understand right, just let it be and see if he files

William B. Esq. :

I can't give you legal advice or instruction, but your position is defensive as opposed to offensive in this situation - unless you wish to pursue the smaller amount you believe you overpaid, or want to file a lawsuit for "declaratory relief" to say that the contract was breached - which isn't a very cost effective tool, you really don't have anything further to do. If he takes action, then you can bring your defenses.

William B. Esq. :

While I do not know if this is going to be an issue, the time frame for contractor's mechanic's liens are very short, so here is a link to the State Contractor's Board website on how to deal with them if they are filed and what your procedure is to oppose one if it is filed against your home: http://www.cslb.ca.gov/consumers/legalissuesforconsumers/mechanicslien/understandingmechanicsliens.asp

Customer:

Thank you. It was good to talk with you. I guess I will rate you now, as our work here is done, lol.

William B. Esq. :

Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thanks for using our service, and have a great weekend. If you have further questions, please let me know.

William B. Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3635
Experience: Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
William B. Esq. and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
 
 
 

Related Legal Questions

Chat Now With A Lawyer
William B. Esq.
William B. Esq.
Lawyer
3635 Satisfied Customers
Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.