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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33713
Experience:  15 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I am a remodeling contractor. I have recently done work in

Customer Question

I am a remodeling contractor. I have recently done work in the form of removing kitchen cabinets and replacing them along with new granite tops. There was also old decks that had to be removed for a screened porch to be added. The porch became a sun room built by Champion Windows. t
The customer supplied me with a set of plans she had drawn by a local architect with all the lighting
, cabinet details et., etc., .
I catered to this lady (no woman) giving her advise on construction do's and don'ts and we developed a good relationship. I took her to different places looking and helping her on selections of everything we would need thoughout the job. Always a helping hand.
After I did costing on this job, I told her that I would furnish a Cost Plus a Fee contract, being that I knew and she knew that everything was not final in her selections. I gave her the contract, two of them, signed by me.
I know I should'nt have started the job but we did. Now there was also a printed sheet stated all cost to this point, and although she never signed the contract, she paid the pay request and never balked on anything. After the third pay request, I asked for the contract ( I know, a little late) but she has paid by these pay requests which were part of the contracts I had furnished.
She is not paying the final pay request. She now says The Statute of Frauds voids contractural dealings in excess of $500.00 .
Any suggestions.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year 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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She is incorrect in that the Statue of Frauds only governs sales of goods for over $500 and says that they have to be in writing. You are providing a service, not a good, like a refrigerator.

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So your oral contract with her is legally valid and enforceable since there was an offer (i.e. the estimate) an acceptance (i.e. she agreed and ok'ed the work to proceed) and performance by at least one party (i.e. you started the work). Here, there is actual partial performance by her as well since she paid for part of the job.

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With that said, if she owes you $3,000 or less you can file a small claims court suit against her for breach of contract and get a judgment against her for what she owes you. If it is more than that, you would need an attorney to file the suit in a higher court. Once you get a judgment, you can file a lien on her house and then proceed to foreclose to force a sale if she doesn't pay the judgment.

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If you didn't want to jump right to litigation, you could have a local attorney send her a "demand letter" basically threatening to sue her if she didn't pay and file a lien on her house. Often just a letter from an attorney is enough to "encourage" someone to pay rather than risk being dragged into court to lose and be held liable for all the costs associated with the suit.

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thanks

Barrister

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