Already paid contractor and now he won't return my calls, what should I do?

We hired a contractor to do a few related things on our house. He completed the first part of the job (there were a few issues with the work that was done, but since the other part is related, we just decided to go ahead and let him do the rest). He said that he had to order some materials to complete the second part so he wanted us to pay in advance (around $1000). He said he should be able to complete it the following week. That week, he said that the materials had not arrived, so we waited a week and then called him for a status. He did not call back that day, so we called the next day. In total, we have called 4 times and he has not returned any of our calls. It has been almost a week since the 1st call. He is registered with the BBB, so we thought he would be reputable, but I think that even if he has not gotten the materials in, he should have at least called back with a status. My husband always likes to give people the benefit of the doubt and said maybe he had a family emergency. So how long should I give him to respond? And if he doesn't respond, what should I do?

5 Answers

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  • 10 years ago
    Best Answer

    Never Pay Anyone in advance - Please remember that.

    #2. Always find out where these people live. Yes, ask them before you agree to any contract, and the address.

    #3. Get a land-line number.

    #4. Get a receipt - and I never pay in cash - check only.

    #5. Never pay anyone in advance again.

    Your money is probably gone along with this man. If he does show up, a stern warning is due to him. Not much you can do if he does not return to your job.

    BBB actually charges a contractor to be a member. Not much insurance that you are getting a good contractor anyway.

    I would ask around at the lumber yards if they know where he lives and pay him a visit.

    And the person who told you to always buy the materials yourself because you can ask for the contractors discount and get it - Not Correct.

    Most contractors discounts have gone away - you certainly don't get one at Lowe's ,Menards - and you would not get it by just asking anyway.

    Until you spend about $100,000 a year at one place you can forget it.

    I won't do a job if the homeowner wants to purchase the materials. Contractors have to make a profit on jobs, and marking up materials is how we make a portion of that profit.

    A lawyer will cost you much more than $1,000 and the BBB won't do anything other than list your complaint and attach it to his file - Big Deal.

    If it were me I would actually find the lumber yard or home center that know this guy and set out in the parking lot a wait for him to show up in his truck. He has probably started another job with your $1,000 because those people would not give him any money up front.

    Source(s): General Contractor 30yrs. and counting
  • J
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    Call the contractor again. Tell him that he has ___ # of days to complete his obligation. Call about the materials yourself. I am sure they are in stock somewhere. Call him on his nonprofessional level of communication, but allow him to save face. If he will not commit to return to your job request a refund of the money.

    If he is uncooperative file a complaint with the BBB

    http://www.bbb.org/us/

    If he says that he will return, and you are concerned that he will not finish in a timely manner draw up a new contract that states what work he is required to finish, a payment schedule, and the contract should contain a timeline of work and the exact phrase "Time is of the essence." His failure to remain working on your job is grounds for you terminate your contract, not pay him and hire another contractor to complete what he started. Be careful with this legal wrangling, as contractors have the power to lien your property. A clearly written contract will provide you the advantage; verbal contracts are difficult to enforce and are always superseded by a written agreement.

    Anytime you do a project you should always be the purchaser of materials. You will be able to get the contractors price (I do not mean wholesale price) if you ask for it at the lumber yard, the contractor will only be able to charge for his labor. Even the Home Depot in my area will give you a discount when buying quantity, but you need to go in ahead of time and ask if they will do bulk pricing. You also insure that the money you paid to your contractor (for materials) will not wind up missing as some contractors have a tendency to not pay their bills at the lumber yard--making you liable for paying the lumber yard, this is especially true if your contractor has had your materials delivered to your site. Most contractors add 10% -20% to the cost of the materials as a form payment for having perform the labor to purchase the materials.

    Always have your contractor sign a Lien Release stating that they have received payment in full, and that any non-payment for supplies/lumber resulting in liens will be his responsibility before you hand over the final payment.

    Good luck. And never hire a "Con"tractor that requires payment before any service is performed.

  • Sarah
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    You will have to put a lien on the house as soon as possible, and have the other electricians verify your claims. Once you have done this the owner of the house can not sell the house until you have been paid.

  • 10 years ago

    first always get his mhic license number, if he doesnt have that, make sure is a licensed citizen. from there, leave him the message letting him know you mean business. if he doesnt respond, call your lawyer than bbb

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  • 10 years ago

    if you want to get his attention take him to small claims court or get a lawyer to write him a letter

    Source(s): p
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