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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55702
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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JuMy friend is a licensed contractor in the state of TN. He

Customer Question

juMy friend is a licensed contractor in the state of TN. He does great work and as a retired contractor I assist on occasion. He provided a service to a neighbor to get their large wooden deck up to code and look great to list their home. The wood had not received any care for 10 years. Just the original stain/paint. The homeowners only wanted the bad wood replaced and then try and match up the stain. My friend advised them that to match up the stain would be almost impossible and recommended painted the surfaces new and old to make all the same. The homeowner said "no" and wanted stain. Friend pressured washed deck and rails and replaced a lot of deck boards, steps, pickets and rails. Afterwards made more repairs to 2 door frames and threshold under French doors and to one light. Surface had been dry for 3/4 days and staining proceeded...several combinations were used and finally a one was applied and looked fairly well. Homeowners returned two/three weeks later and after the deck baked in the sun the stain had changed to various darkness and some even lite. They were not happy. Because they are my friends he charged them a lower rate at $2800. Which included 1500 dollars in quality materials and top brand stains.
Question is: Since my friend advised them to paint and not stain, is he required to prep and paint surfaces on him dime. Homeowner does not want to pay. Cost will be about $1300 total.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Richard replied 2 years ago.
Hi! My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you!
Your friend has no responsibility to do so. He competently performed the work asked of him at their direction and they cannot now refuse to pay him because their decision did not work out as hoped. His job was to do what they asked; the fact that they now regret their decision is their issue, not your friend's issue; and he has no obligation now to prep and paint at his cost. If the homeowner refused to pay, he should file a suit against him in small claims court. That will give your friend the collection options and leverage he needs to collect what is due him. That's because once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, your friend becomes a judgment creditor, and if the homeowner doesn’t then pay the judgment, your friend can have the sheriff serve a summons on him for a debtor examination. That forces him to meet you in court again and answer questions under oath about his assets. After that information is obtained, your friend has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any real property owned to satisfy the judgment. In my experience, simply filing the suit is typically all you need to do to resolve this outside of court because most of the time, once served with a summons one is being sued, the homeowner is going to want to pay your friend rather than spend further time and expense defending a suit he cannot win.
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