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Loren, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 28523
Experience:  30 years of real estate practice experience.
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Dalene flooring store installed kitchen floor, upon removing

Customer Question

dalene flooring store installed kitchen floor, upon removing old vinyl they broke the copper water line tube to my fridge, the installer denies it and is blaming me. called dalenes owner who said he would call back, he called the installer and told him to deny it. a new copper line is $20 at home depot and 15 mins to install it. but dalenes chose to lie and blame the homeowner. I refused my final $750 payment in which they said I signed a contract. where do I stand on refusing the final payment?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.

Good morning. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

As a practical, you are entitled to compensation and, if the contract allows, a setoff on the final payment.

However, you can pretty much count on the installer filing a lien on the property if they are not paid and, as the cost of the pipe and its installation are fairly minor, your right to withhold $750 is probably pretty shaky, from an equity standpoint.

I would pay the contract, have the water line repaired and then sue the contractor in small claims court. Small claims court is designed to be "user friendly" so that you can present a claim without an attorney. Also, it moves much more quickly than regular court. You can get the necessary forms to start from the clerk of the court.

Defending the lien will be more costly and time consuming.

Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.

I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.

Expert:  Loren replied 3 months ago.

Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question?

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