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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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I have a dispute with a contractor, they have built a covered

Customer Question

I have a dispute with a contractor, they have built a covered patio and it has not come out like it was promised. The contact we agreed to states the patio would have a fire place and the details of the fire place are not listed on the contract. Those details were discussed after the contract was executed. We have documentation stating what we wanted built and nothing from the contractor stating they couldn't built it the way we wanted to. The project is now complete and they are wanting the last payment. I have reached out to the company owner and provided all emails between myself and his project manager handling our project. I have not heard back from them yet. I would like to know what I can do to protect myself.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
Just to be clear, the contractor has refused to make the agreed upon changes at this point? As far as your contract, is is a 'satisfaction guaranteed' agreement, or nothing within the agreement has such language? Plese advise.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The contractor has stated now after the fact that they cannot build the fire place to our specifications. Because the fire place is a corner fireplace and it is a load bearing fireplace it cannot be built like we asked. They failed to mention this during the process. They had ample time to consult us on what could be built. They essentially want us to pay for something we didn't ask for.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Were you aware that this was not being build according to your contract at the time they were working on the property? Is there anything in writing outside the contract that shows what you wanted as part of this construction? I ask because typically what is in the contract governs so I want to understand what evidence if any you may have based on these different specs and requirements. Please advise.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, we have email documentation stating how we wanted the fire place built. These emails were sent before the project started. We also have emails inquiring why the fireplace didn't look like the one we asked for as well as pictures.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Final question--in those emails did they respond to your concerns and/or promise to make alterations and amendments so as to fit your expectations?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Some of the details of the fire place were discussed and we never really got firm answers on our concerns. Most of the communication between us about the fire place and how it would be built were verbal. When we stated via email that the fire place looked nothing like the one we asked for they didn't say anything about that and simply focused on the features of the fireplace. I can provide email exchanges if necessary.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up. The answer that I will provide will probably not be as favorable as you hoped, so I ask that you do not blame the messenger.
There are a few issues here that harm your position in claiming that the contractor is required to make such changes. First, what ultimately governs is the contract. If there is nothing written down, the contractor is not held by the additional amendments or changes unless there is a concrete and express statement from them about agreeing to the additional work. This is why I was asking about your email chain, and if the emails do not show such work, the contractor does not have to do it as they are solely bound by what was written and signed off.
Second, if this contract you signed does not have a 'satisfaction guaranteed' clause, the contractor is entitled to get paid for the work done, provided that the work done is of proper quality. Defects have to be replaced and changed at the contractor's expense but if the work was done as per the written explanation, they have formally fulfilled their requirements. As such you need to pay them because if you do not, they have a right to seek a mechanic's lien and pursue you for costs.
Verbal communication is mostly irrelevant as it is not evidence of an agreement, the courts always focus on the written word. That is why I asked about your email chain as that may perhaps show an amendment, but if that never took place then what governs is your contract.
I am sorry, I truly am, but it appears that you are in a position where you have to pay them for their work.
Dimitry, Esq.