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).
For unfinished jobs, they are considered immaterial breaches so that the customer is not entitled to a full refund, but rather is entitled to the amount of money it would cost to hire a third party to complete the job, if the defendant refuses to finish it. The defendant is liable for the cost of completing the entire job so that the plantiff has the benefit of the bargain-ie everything in the contract is completed as promised.
Small claims is appropriate for cases under $3,000:
You can first send a demand letter, requesting the person to finish the job by X date, or to pay $X so a third party can be hired.
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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.