Paid contractor agreed amount but wants more? What to do?

6 Replies

Hired a contractor to some improvements to rec room in basement for 2500. Gave him deposit of 1000 to start. He kept asking for weekly payments even though we agreed to pay balance when project finished. We had some issues with him so felt better to end this working relationship. We still paid him the full amount of 2500 as agreed and told him he did not have to finish the job. Now he comes back saying he wants another 2700 for work he did that was outside the scope of original contract. Any recommendations on how to handle this?

Did you agree to have him do work that was outside the scope?

The work that was actually completed and that you can consider outside the scope of the contract was trivial. Definitely not worth more than the unfinished portion of the original contract. We did verbally say we were ok with doing some of the additional work bu6t no price was ever given.

Written contract? Signed by both of you?  Licensed?  Insured? Did you make changes to the original agreement?  Were those changes  in writing?  Did he discover issues that were covered up by a previous owner?  Did you have a written agreement that included "found" issues and were the changes written as a change order?  By found I mean like problems/issues behind a wall, usually fire or electrical and plumbing problems.

Has he liened your property?  What is your plan if he does?

Treat your business like a business and forget the age old handshake method there are too many people waiting to take your money.

@Peter Fokas  did you have a written agreement?  Did the scope of work change as @Alan Russell  has indicated above?  No matter what the work is to be completed I always have a written estimate to start job; amendments for additional work - and statements "Not to exceed $".  

If you didn't have a written agreement, it would be best to document everything in writing now while it is still fresh in your mind.  Take photo's and video of the area, what was completed and what was not completed etc. 

You may end up with a lien against your property, so ensure you check prior to sale, re-fi, etc as you don't want to have this surprise at an inopportune time.  Additionally, you may have to go to small claims court, so having this documentation completed and ready to share with the court will be valuable.  

Send the contractor a dated certified letter explaining (with signed return receipt) the situation and why they will not be completing the job as discussed.  Ensure to indicate "No further payment will be made" as well.  You may want to have legal advice on this as well and even have them send the letter - it will show strength and that you are not messing around.  By all means, keep the letter professional, short and to the point.

Good luck, and please remember to VOTE on reply's you think have helped. This validates respondents posting and lets readers know that this information was valued.

Hope you have an excellent future!

- Dave

there was signed contract for just the original work. We paid him the full amount of 2500 and told him he did not have to finish the job. There was nothing in writing in terms of the work that was considered outside the scope.

It does sound like my best course of action is to get legal advice.

@Peter Fokas  The signed contract will help. What does it say concerning additional work? Does it place limits, or requirements on approval or payment?

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