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Hired The "Home Repair Contractor From Hell".. Can they sue/recover?

GlockJock

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My nephew, a good hard working guy, and his wife just had replacement windows (and rear deck sliders) installed by.. The Contractor From Hell.. Shoddy work, appointment no shows, broken promises, missed deadlines etc etc.
He was recommended by (stop me if you've heard this before) a "friend of a friend" who was willing to "Help" them choose since he's a mortgage broker and had apparently known this "contractor" from previous work on local houses.

They guy was a nightmare from the start, apparently.. Even brought a "helper" who was a bartender looking to supplement his income during slow time by being a "Helper" for this contractor. My nephew said he also arrived home unexpectedly one afternoon and discovered that the contractor even had his own 13 year old son doing "finish work" on a few windows". (I guess these days several thousand dollars doesn't buy you contractors who uses workers that are post-puberty LOL)

So anyways.. He caused an incredible amount of damage, took an interior (and exterior, where he did a few things) and turned what was a "not bad but nneds some work" newly purchased home into a mess. Chipped and damaged walls surrounding the frames, pulled some framework off with probably a friggin claw hammer, then after windows were in he even put some of the destroyed framework back by gluing /wood puttying it etc. The before and after (I don't have any before pics yet but you can imagine it looked MUCH better than the "after" that you see below.
My (actually their) question is: Can they sue? Worth the hassle? His wife even asked if they could file a criminal charge ("wanton destruction", or something, not felony cuz no malice was involved, but..).. but they're pissed that he basically says "Oh well, sorry it didn't work out but I'll come back and try to make you happy since there aren't too many issues just small stuff" (like heyy, what's a few destroyed walls, new windows that he scratched and damaged permanently with scraping, paint splashes etc etc , and they actually wonder about charging him since the guy was so brutal and negligent. (not bothering to remove the purple masking tape when "touching up" the paint was a great example of the "Aw, f**k it" attitude, but the stories they tell me suggest the guy was a complete screw-up.

Wondering what any professionals here (contractors? lawyers? etc) think. They paid the guy over 15k and had to halt/stop/fire him when he didn't show for the umpteenth time and said he'd be there "sometime within a couple weeks" to do more (this was prior to being "fired" and told how unhappy they were.

Thoughts?
(pics attached, a few, there are a hundred more just as bad)
 

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Yosemite Sam

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Sooooo
My town, a permit needs to be pulled for replacement windows.....
Is he a licensed contractor with the state?
if so, I believe you can file a claim with the state licensing board
 

Len-2A Training

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Did they get a copy of his Certificate of Liability Insurance?

I've wondered if one can file against his insurance company to pay for a real contractor to fix all the problems? If not, I have to wonder what the value of requesting one of those certificates is before hiring someone??
Perhaps an NES contractor in any field might educate us on this?

The courts will take forever, cost a fortune (it may be way above the limit for small claims court) and give them a judgment that they likely will find that they can't collect against!
 

Picton

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The courts will take forever, cost a fortune (it may be way above the limit for small claims court) and give them a judgment that they likely will find that they can't collect against!
This.

Same thing happened to us years ago. 10k. And I still want to shoot the guy.

The state is not interested in helping with these kinds of things. The court found against him, of course, but neither we nor the other dozen or so people he screwed will ever see a cent.

Sucks.
 

Palladin

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I'd sue him. he'd most likely fly by night, so he doesn't have a Home improvement license or contractors license. If he does, file with the State asap
 

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This.

Same thing happened to us years ago. 10k. And I still want to shoot the guy.

The state is not interested in helping with these kinds of things. The court found against him, of course, but neither we nor the other dozen or so people he screwed will ever see a cent.

Sucks.
Not a personal experience but I have seen this exact scenario. The AG was involved and it was something like 10 or more people had to file etc. Very difficult and expensive to mitigate and as usual the criminal seemed to have more rights than the victim.
 

SERE

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Tell your nephew to start a plan now on 'mitigating the damage' or he will be in even worse trouble. He doesn't want his house damaged any worse, anyway. Sorry this happened.

Does the contractor believe he is owed any money? Best of luck.
 

PatMcD

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If they didn't like the work, they shouldn't have paid him. Payment is usually seen as a defacto acceptance of workmanship.
A legit contractor would work with the homeowner until they are happy, but I somehow doubt that will be the case with this guy.
 

mibro

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The pragmatic solution, unfortunately, is just to go to work with caulk and paint. When caulked and painted most of those details will be at least acceptable.

If you need a recommendation for a couple of excellent finish carpenters based in Concord, Mass., PM me.
 
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How many windows/doors? Seems like he got robbed at $15k. I just replaced all the windows in my house (in Vegas so labor is cheaper) and for 11 windows (vinyl, dual pane, solar tint, argon filled) and a new front door it cost $5300. The finish work was rough enough, but nothing I couldn't easily fix myself.

I wouldn't loose any sleep about the interior photos you posted. 90% of a house going from looking crap to looking finished is just caulk and paint. I'm reaching structural levels of caulk in my house that I'm renovating now. This guy was really terrible at finish carpentry and caulking! A good finish carpenter would want to pull all that back off and fix it properly, but I would tell your nephew to just clean up the mess this dude made, get some wood filler and caulk, fill the gaps and paint it. It will look fine in the end and it's not hard.

The outside though. That's a mess. Looks like their attempt at trimming around that window and door needs to just come out and be replaced, flashing fixed etc.. It's not a big job for somebody that knows what they're doing.

Suing this guy is a waste of energy. Give him some bad reviews online and move on. And if they haven't paid him in full and don't, know that he might put a lien on the house. Then he'll probably end up in court over this one way or the other. Best to cover his ass in that situation and get a report from somebody licensed and qualified, make a formal complaint, keep all receipts for work to repair the mess he made etc..

Sucky situation to be in, but these things happen. He'll just have to suffer through it like the rest of us. But at the end, he'll have his own contractor from hell story to tell for the rest of his life :)
 

PatMcD

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Tell your nephew to start a plan now on 'mitigating the damage' or he will be in even worse trouble. He doesn't want his house damaged any worse, anyway. Sorry this happened.

Someone here should know if your nephew may be able to file a mechanics lean. Best of luck.
A mechanics lien is something a contractor can use against a homeowner if they fail to pay. I don't think it can work the other way around. The homeowner generally holds all the cards.
 

SERE

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A mechanics lien is something a contractor can use against a homeowner if they fail to pay. I don't think it can work the other way around. The homeowner generally holds all the cards.
Yes, I already edited it. I typed it wrong. I was wondering if the contractor thinks he is owed more money and to warn the nephew of mechanic liens.
 

Super99Z

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The pragmatic solution, unfortunately, is just to go to work with caulk and paint. When caulked and painted most of those details will be at least acceptable.

If you need a recommendation for a couple of excellent finish carpenters based in Concord, Mass., PM me.
This, caulking and paint make what the carpenter ain't.
 

one-eyed Jack

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To late now, but you should always make sure that any contractor has insurance and get references. Not to brag, but my two NH sons and the other one in Alaska are builders and are always buried with work and it's ALL word of mouth. They schedule the work, do a great job and ask for payment on completion or after each phase of the job. Never an issue with the customers. This is the kind of folks you should look for. Jack.
 

additionalmc

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interior stuff is an easy fix with caulk, joint compound, putty, paint

I'd be very worried about the outside, if not done properly, flashing, etc. that could lead to serious water/moisture issues

We did our kitchen this year and found that the window wasn't done properly (way before we bought the house)
the leaking cause lots of rot and even mold behind the drywall that was there.
 

xjma99

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Those are the before pics, right?? The few windows that I need to replace in my house look better than that....


I would not ask a mortgage guy for contractors. Ask contractors for contractors. Call a local electrician or plumber and ask for a window guy, we’ll tell ya who’s good. Go to local lumber yard (not blowes or HD, a real local place) and ask. They’ll tell you who’s good. Expect to wait, everyone that’s good is flat out! Small jobs can be snuck in here and there.
 
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If in Mass: Go to: File a complaint against a home improvement contractor Forms and process are there.

Going through very similar thing right now (started having long periods of drop off in communication (unless he needed something), excuses, no shows, then there for a period moving along, and then vanish. Finally, it happened that he got his next payment and finally appears to have abandoned the job uncompleted (some tools just left laying where he left them). Turns out he didn't pay at least one sub, (finding out that extra payments made on behalf of sub wasn't needed/asked for/nor actually paid to the sub), materials supposedly paid for are missing/not purchased etc). Town was able to get me the contact information of the subs, so I could hire them to finish (since their names were on the permit, just easier to have them complete the work, and THEY had nothing to do with the issue). Town asked that I submit a letter to the building department documenting things, and they would help me file a complaint with the state, as well as they want more information (so they can have it should he appear on a permit for someone else). I also was able to get his various license information from when he filed the permits with the town, and need to swing by to get his insurance information, and will be registering a complaint with each licensing board as well.

Shame as he started great, was detailed (in quote, and outline of work), and did good work when he was there...not quite sure what his issue is, but have some suspicions. In my case: Andrew Winter (Central Mass area)
 

GlockJock

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Tell your nephew to start a plan now on 'mitigating the damage' or he will be in even worse trouble. He doesn't want his house damaged any worse, anyway. Sorry this happened.
Does the contractor believe he is owed any money? Best of luck.
Yup. He already has someone GOOD that has started repairs.. Great guy, great company, great references etc... But they still feel so robbed etc., and unfortunate that they didn't find the great guy initially...
 
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