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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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We hired an electrican on time+materials basis. There was no written contract, only verba

Customer Question

We hired an electrican on time+materials basis. There was no written contract, only verbal. He ended up billing 3x the hours of our other estimates. We have evidence that his hours are not honest, and we reached interim agreements for the time spent with each payment that he refuses to honor now. What recourse do we have? Do we have to pay? The amount is a few thousand dollars. Thanks!
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

I am terribly sorry that you are in this situation, truly. However because there is no formal contract in place, unless the hours are "unconscionable", that is, blatantly unfair, the courts would uphold it provided he can show that he did perform the work. Billing you at 3 times the value is very large so there is a possible claim for unconsionability and fraud, but those are not very high grounds for prevailing, so in essence you are stuck with a high but a legitimate bill. The recourse you have is to counter-claim for fraud, and to demand that the courts compel him to lower the bill, but that is also an outside change.

Good luck.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the response. That is what we thought. I'm not sure who would win if we claimed fraud, I'm sure the contractor was not on-site for all of the hours billed, but it is all circumstantial.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

That is why I stated that this was very weak as a claim. While you can try it, I do not really see it as working out. Sorry for the unwelcome news.

Good luck.