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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 118114
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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Madam: I contracted in writing with a General Contractor to

Customer Question

Dear Sir/Madam: I contracted in writing with a General Contractor to have 2 fireplace inserts installed in August. The GC then sub-contracted the job to a company who installs fireplace inserts. I paid the GC for the total of the job, which is $7000 (I
wrote “fireplace inserts” on the check). The GC left the job incomplete (he is gone, I had to fire him for various reasons). On October 15th I received a letter at the door from the fireplace company stating that the GC never paid them any money and that shrouds
still needed to be installed and they would not complete the work unless they received payment in full. I have yet to answer. So my questions are: 1. If I was working with the GC, had a contract in writing with him, and paid him, does the fireplace company
have the right to come after me for another $7000 or is the matter between those two? I would like to offer the fireplace company the proof of payment so they can take action against the GC but I am afraid to approach them for fear of them coming after me.
2. Do I have the right to have the job finished through someone else? Right now I have two fireplaces that need finishing and as far as I know the company that originally did the work won’t finish it without full payment. I am not paying $7000 again. Even
if I showed them that I paid, are they going to finish a job they have been beat on? Probably not. 3. Is the fireplace company obligated to finish the job for me? Probably not since I did not contract with them. Based on their web reviews they don’t seem very
nice. Many Thanks CM
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Unfortunately, when dealing with a GC, the homeowner is jointly liable with the GC if the GC did not have a contractor's bond to cover this. This means that you can be held liable to pay the subcontractor jointly with the GC. So the subcontractor can come after you as homeowner and can even put lien on your property for payment. You can provide the contractor proof of payment to the GC and offer to assist them in going after the GC, but in reality you too are going to have to go through the GC.

You can start by filing a complaint against the GC with the Attorney General's Office, since GC must be registered with them. If the AG cannot resolve this issue, you would have a right to sue the GC for your money back in small claims court without an attorney.

2) You can pay someone else to complete the job and that cost would be part of your damages you can sue the GC over. You can also negotiate with the current contractor to help them pursue the GC in court and see what they say. If they refuse, you would have to get a new contractor to do the work and add the cost to your damages in a suit against the GC.

3) IF the sub contractor did not get paid, they are not obligated to finish without payment. This is really a three way legal dispute between you and the GC and the sub and the GC. If the attorney general cannot resolve it you will have to file your suit though to resolve this matter.