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We paid a floor installer 50% down payment back in December…

We paid a floor installer...
We paid a floor installer 50% down payment back in December of 1915.41. The work has still not been done. I saw him in the building once, and he said the wood had come. He visited our unit with another person to look at the job, and he has texted me to say he'd do the work yesterday, and again to say he'd do it today and tomorrow. He hasn't shown up nor has he responded to texts. For the most part he's impossible to communicate with. He doesn't answer the phone. His voice mailbox is always fall. He rarely responds to texts. He has an address in Watertown, but that's only find-able on Angie's list. Only "Watertown, MA" on the contract for the job.Given the deathly silence this morning I'm looking for ways to get my money back or get the floor installed.Angie's list said they were working on complaint resolution, but that was two weeks ago and they don't give status reports.Is there anything I can do that wouldn't cost way more than our $1915.41?In particular, when can I hire a different company to fix my floor? What if the original company suddenly shows up. They said the wood is in their warehouse.When does this become theft, so I can report it to the police?
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
3/27/2018
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Lawyer
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

When a contract doesn't give a specific time for performance, the default is "within a reasonable time." What's reasonable can vary based on a variety of factors, but it's been more than three months. Since he has the wood - which means there's not a shipping delay beyond his control - he really needs to get the floors done.

One thing you could try is to send another text, explaining that (a) you paid for the floors in December, (b) he has not installed the floors within a reasonable time, (c) he has not given any reason at all for the delay, nor has he arrived when rescheduling, so (d) if he does not give you a firm date to show up and actually install the floors, you will sue him for breach of contract. He would then be responsible for the cost of having someone else do the job. Give him a deadline. It could be as soon as a week or ten days.

Another option is to sue in Small Claims Court. Lawyers are not required, so you'd only have to pay the filing fee, and the judge can order him to reimburse the filing fee when you win the case. You'd either be able to claim a full refund or the difference between what you agreed to pay him and what it cost to pay someone else. Most people ask for whichever is more.

The big problem with suing is that you'll need an address. Have you checked with the state contractor's board? Does the company call themselves a corporation or LLC?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I do have an address from Angie's list. How do I check with the state contractor's board? How do I file a suit in small claims court? Do I hurt my case if I go ahead and hire another contractor? Say, after I give him a deadline date, and after warning him I'll do that? That is, can I hire another contractor before proceeding in small claims court?And.... just out of curiosity. I originally asked the question of our family attorney and she said she has a conflict. Does this mean she's literally representing our delinquent flooring company in some action? Or might it mean she's representing another customer of that flooring company?

I didn't realize Angie's list had gotten a full address. You can check contractor listings online, but that may not be necessary.

http://elicense.chs.state.ma.us/Verification/Search.aspx

The forms and instructions for filing a small claims case are available on the district court's website.

https://www.mass.gov/lists/small-claims-court-forms

You can hire another contractor before filing, as long as you give him a deadline and he either misses it or refuses to do the work. It doesn't hurt your case - that's how you know what your damages are.

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A conflict could mean that she's representing someone who works for that company in another case, or has in the pas. It could also mean that she's friends with the contractor or that they're related. It's a conflict any time there's a relationship that would interfere with her ethical obligations, but that conflict doesn't have to be professional.

Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: Lawyer
Verified
Lucy, Esq. and 87 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
OK. Thanks very much. I'm giving you 5 stars. Bye.

You're welcome. Have a good day.

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