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Hi Attorney, I requested a general carpenter contractor

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Hi Attorney, I requested a general...
Hi Attorney,

I requested a general carpenter contractor ( Mr. Carpenter) to give me a quote for some work that needed to be done on my rental property.He had worked for me before. He gave me a verbal estimate of $480 for the work.
I emailed him a list from the Home Owners Association and asked for clarity on what he would do to list expressely becuase some were to be fixed immediately and others could be deferred or were just recommendations and other items that Mr. Carpenter could not fix.

Included in that was a job to fix the sidewalk. Mr. Carpenter had a firiend ( Mr. Mason) who Mr. Carpenter said can do the job. I asked Mr. Carpenter to get me in touch with Mr. Mason. He did not but instead he quoted me a rate of $85/hr - I asked for clarity on hours and did not get that ( see below email).

Now to my surprise, Mr Carpenter completed all the jobs and sent me a bill of $7887.79. I am shocked. The original verbally executed quoted $480 work became a $ 1210 job and the concrete and pointing work from Mr. Mason ( I never met him) was billed Mr. Carpenter to me directly at 6677.00. Very unreasonale by any standard. Mr. Carpenter spent about 26 days on the job as per his bill and charged me @$40/hr + material adn dump fee. Mr. Mason charged the $6677.00 for labor and materials. ( I think this should be more like $1500 and from the renter I know Mr. Mason spent less than 2 days i.e. < 16 hours).
When I confronted the contrator and even offered to pay a reasonable price, he said that he is going to initiate a lien on the property.

Since he has sent a letter through the District court ( I was not home and it got returned) . What should I do?? I think this guy is fradulant....and taking advantage of me. I travel out of state for work and was not present during the time fo all this execution of work.

Here is an except of the email exchanges and I need advise how to resolve this and what is the roadmap for this. Can I file any counter claims on him?

06/20 -Final email From Me to Mr. Carpenter

Mr. Carpenter
I have note heard back from you after our discussion the other day after your surprise executing, first on the general repair without my explicit authorization and later getting the sidewalk and masonry work done, when I had explictity asked you get me in touch with your friend Ron and get an estimate, so I could make the decision on repair and get any needed permissions from township etc.

Please be advised that I did not authorize executing on any repairs to my property and this is not something that anyone can ask you to simply undo. So, I reiterate, what I expressed during our meeting, that though all this unprofessional activities happened, I am a reasonable and honest person and willing to pay the $480 you quoted for the general repair and clean up work and a reasonable amount for the sidewalk and masonry repair work ( The amount being billed of $6677.00 is unreasonable).

If you are willing for a settlement, please send a revised itemized list for the charge of $6677, if it is reasonable and comparable to alternative estimates I will settle.

I hope your plans to go move to Virgina to be with your son (you mentioned in 3 months, which is around August) are going well and we can settle this before your big move.

Sincerely
ME

06/10/2010 to Mr. Carpenter from Me
> Thanks for the reply. You had mentioned a price of $480. Is that your best offer?
>
> I'll simply request that the steps and all the sidewalk from the house be replaced + the work on a duct under the front window and wall crack be fixed.
> This masonry work is estimated at how many hours? At least ballpark.

06/10 - To me From Mr. Carpenter
I will take care of all items (A,B,C.D.&E). The mason charges $ 85.00 per hr. for mason, tender and helper. Blessings Mr. Carpenter

Finally I see the document. Thanks.
>
> In a nutshell I think you have marked those things that you are going to take care of with the arrow and include items related to flashing repiar and painting and backyard retaining wall and the flower bed timbers,fence and trash removal.
>
> From those items with the arrow marked / or not - please clarify if you are covering ;
>
> a) The fireplace flashing - right side of row 30;
> b) Thrash like wood etc in the backyard;
> c) The timbers that line the backyard flower beds ( are they repairable?) ;
> d) The circular air ducts from the attic in the front and back of the house painted;
> e) Instead of painting the exposed basement being painted - can it be pressure washed?
>
> The paint color is supposed to be sold in the Marchhwood Shopping center -( behinf Exton diner ) true value and is Hankin Ivory adn or Rhondda Green for reference.
>
> Also, I don't see the masonary work estimate on this sheet that your friend was supposed to give?
>
> Please call or email to clarify.
Thanks
ME


Before this I had sent a PDF doc showing the various items listed by the HOA.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 7 minutes by:
6/28/2010
Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 8 years ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 126,865
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Since you did not authorize the work and you have an email to prove you only asked for certain work to be performed you have grounds to fight the bill in court under breach of contract. The contractor will argue that he is at least entitled to pay for the work done, but the fact that he did so against his wishes will allow you to get the lien removed if he places one. Same for Mr. Mason. Since you had no contract and were quoted $85 an hour then you have grounds to fight that bill as well. The problem with all of this is that it is likely that you will have to go to court to dispute the bills.

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

Hi Paul,

I guess my message and the email communicaiton that I copied above got all lumped together in one big paragraph now allowing you the opportunity to give me specific direction on my situation. The contractor is alreadys tarting something in the district court - maybe pay the bill he raised or initiate a lien etc.

 

Sorry, but I am looking for specific answers.

 

Thanks

MB

Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 8 years ago
Without seeing the document you were sent from the court, I cannot tell you specifically what it is, but it is likely the construction lien and what you need to do (again) is you have to file in the court an "objection to lien" and you would use the emails to support your contention 1) that he did more work than authorized and 2) that you are being charged more for the mason than the price you were told. This is a contract dispute just like a written contract dispute and PA recognizes these oral contracts and you have evidence supporting your claims as to the amount of work you authorized. It is going to require you going to the court and filing the Objection to Lien and also a breach of contract suit against both contractor and mason since they acted outside of the scope of the contract you had with them.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

I guess, I'll pick up the letter he has sent and revert back.

 

I fully understand that I will have to fight it out in court because he nis not a reasonable man.

 

In fact I think he might be first going for small claims court for his billed amount and then carry the lien theat out. What are the steps for the lien hen should follow? Will I be notified?

 

What I need is a roadmap of how to proceed and what should be my arguement in the court.

 

Yes, I did not authorize the execution of any work, so is he not liable for anything? Will it weaken my case if I said that I will pay him a reasonable amount.Will then I need to prove what is a reasonable amount? ( I dont have the time and other contractors are not willing to quote on the job already done as they don't want to be involved in a legal case).

Should I file some kind of a reverse case against him to protect my self???

 

Thanks

MB

Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 8 years ago
You would be notified of the lien by letter and any suit in small claims by a petition and summons from the court.

Your argument is breach of contract, since he performed work you told him not to perform and because he quoted you a price of $85 per hour and the charge is more than that. You would need to get some contractor to at least give you a quote on the job Mr. Mason did, even if it is not on the entire contracting job since your dispute on the remainder of the contracting job is that you told him not to do much of that work.
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