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

GlockJock

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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.
I'm told it was (ballpark but pretty close to actual numbers):
$6k down, to order windows..
$2200 when windows shipped and prior to beginning install
$1800 halfway through, and... Then the "fun" began. (Missed appointments, broken promises, damages, brutal work, etc etc.)
 

GlockJock

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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.
It was 19 windows plus rear slider door, screens etc
 

drgrant

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Dumpster fire, they could try to find an attorney that specializes in this crap but part of the problem is these scumbags are usually running on a shoestring, and most of that cash has probably already been spent on hookers and blow or something.

ETA: if the guy is dumb enough to be running a few things at once he might be able to put a lien on some property he is trying to flip or something, but that might be difficult to do, too. A friend of mine got ripped off by a builder once and practically had to hire a private detective just to track the shithead down so he could get served with papers....

-Mike
 

JDL

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I had something similar happen to me. I wont go into the details, however some of the work was very good, this was the normal construction stuff, however the finish work was just terrible and not finished, messed up and some destruction. I refused to pay and told them to take me to court to get there money. I told them with the photos of what they did it would be a slam dunk for me and I might even get more out of the case in a counter suite once they lose. It did not take long for a settlement. If you can stop payment or not pay do it and tell them to take you to court. You will see how fast things will change.
 

BigTimber

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Glad to hear he found someone good. All those windows need to come out and the install needs to start over. Any advice Otherwise is garbage. I’ve had to fix a lot of shoddy window installs over the years and those are right up there with some of the worst I’ve seen. Not the worst, but up there. Sadly So many hacks in my field. This is why so many of my jobs start with something smaller, a little trust is gained and next thing I know I’m in the gimp suit chained to house for the next year doing everything under the roof. I need to start charging more. So so many hacks.
 
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when hiring a contractor you need a copy of his licence and proof of current insurance and I wouldn't give a penny to anyone who couldn't furnish that on day one.

Second lesson is never to hire a friend of a friend. Find contractors online, get references and actually check them.

OP's nephew is learning a very expensive lesson. I'm a pessimist by nature, but I think the OP's nephew is pretty much boned here. Even if he wins a lawsuit, this shitbag contractor probably doesn't have the money to pay up, as evidenced by the fact he can't afford to hire proper help and is using his 13 year old kid.
 

rmaclean86

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Personal experience here: I too got bilked and fleeced in a similar manner. Let it go for far too long as there was a “friend” connection. Let’s just say the amount in question was 100K+ conservatively. Terminated him and the real mess began. Consulted an attorney and assured me the case was viable. Did some background work and the dudes LLC went bankrupt, he did not transfer assets from old LLC to a new LLC/similar and his personal finances a mess. It would have been a waste of more $ to chase him through the courts to win a settlement that could not be paid. I was told that you cannot get blood from a stone and the court avenue would be a Pyrrhic victory.

Lesson learned; never use “friends” and do your homework before hiring. I know, a lesson often learned too late. It sure was in my case. Maybe yours as well. Good luck and let the odds be in your favor; they were not in mine.
 

zboys

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I would never trust a mortgage broker, sneaky slimy bastards, they will help find someone to finance you with sneaky tactics knowing damn well you'll end up losing your house a few years down the road.
They are the last people I would take referrals from
 
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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)
a. Above.
b. File in Small claims court to recover damages. Limit of $7500, but worth it. If he has before and after pics, and documentation showing 14 yr old son, bartender helping, etc would be a plus. Very easy and inexpensive to do, worth the time. Even if the guy declares bankruptcy you get a moral victory. If he is a real contractor, he will not file bankruptcy and kill his business to avoid a 7.5k judgement unless he was going down the tubes anyway. Then you can make his life hell if he doesn't pay.
 

Manomet

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I know how the NES members love big brother, that being said what did your nephew do to vet this clown ahead of time? This work requires a permit in any town in Mass. Inherent in that is a construction supervisor license (csl) and a home improvement contractors license (HIC) as well as workman's comp insurance and a contract. If you are spending 15K+ and using a friend of a friend as reference without further inquiries then some of life's lessons are meant to be painful.
Does the work look bad, yes. Should you address that on day one, yes. The HIC fund referred to above is homeowner driven. If the homeowner did not require a permit, did not verify the contractor was HIC registered the homeowner has waived all rights thru that program. You can'r save some money, get one over on the man, cheat the system and then turn to that system when you have failed yourself. Figure out where he stands with the facts and the law, contacting the local building department is a good place to start, and then try to recover what you can without spending a dime because you will be lucky to get one back.
If he found someone good then best of luck with him, hopefully not another friend of a friend. And any painted interior window replacement job should have some paint, caulking work around each opening to restore it to pre disturbed conditions. There is a reason legitimate contractors cost more, they invest more in themselves their employees and their business. It is reflected in the quality of work and the quality of the building experience. Good luck to your nephew.
 

looser38

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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.
You better buy in bulk, say 55 gallons each of caulk and paint to cover that mess up.
 

gerrycaruso

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The HIC fund works if he's a registered HIC. If he's not registered I don't have a quick solution. All of us who are registered pay into it. Just like grey, no one has ever filed a complaint against me so it just costs me money to be registered.
 

SpencerT

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I am also a HIC registered contractor. Included with all my quotes is a copy of my HIC, CSL and current insurances, hopefully your nephew at least got that from the guy?

As others have said I’m not sure how you would collect $ from the HIC program as I have never had a claim.

Unfortunately our industry has its fair share of hacks, I’m currently correcting issues in my BIL addition that his “contractor” brother put up for him... still planning to use the brother on his future bathroom project so some people can’t learn! I hope things pan out for your nephew and he uses this as a lesson not to be burned on future projects
 
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Looks like they hired that Chinese Guy that built his garden shed out of scrap lumber a while ago if you remember that thread.

Malodave
 

mibro

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I would never trust a mortgage broker, sneaky slimy bastards, they will help find someone to finance you with sneaky tactics knowing damn well you'll end up losing your house a few years down the road.
They are the last people I would take referrals from
The mortgage broker probably took a referral fee from the contractor, vaporized his profit on the job and then his motivation.
 

Dadstoys

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This is why I do my own work.
He can try to go after him , but most of these pro grade scumbags are pretty good at covering themselves.
I've been in million dollar houses that the dirtbags didn't even do any flashing around anything and two years later the place is falling apart.
The best he might be able to do is get this guy's name out there in as many public venues as possible and hit him in the pocketbook.
 

GlockJock

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I would never trust a mortgage broker, sneaky slimy bastards, they will help find someone to finance you with sneaky tactics knowing damn well you'll end up losing your house a few years down the road.
They are the last people I would take referrals from
Yup, as soon as my nephew told me where he'd gotten the contractor's name from and heard "My mortgage broker" , the first thought that entered into my mind was "used car salesman"...
 

BlackwaterFence

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"The HIC fund works if he's a registered HIC. If he's not registered I don't have a quick solution. All of us who are registered pay into it. Just like grey, no one has ever filed a complaint against me so it just costs me money to be registered."

^ this
One time when I would invite Gobernment into my life
 

Rob Boudrie

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If not, I have to wonder what the value of requesting one of those certificates is before hiring someone??
Suppose the contractor injures a friend visiting the property, a neighbor, etc or a subcontractor sits on a substandard toilet seat and gets the mother of all splinters. If the contractor does not have liability insurance you get sued since but for hiring the contractor the injury would not have occurred.
 

BigTimber

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Btw PSA never go with one of the large window companies like anderson blah blah new pro whatever. They are shockingly overpriced. Like so much higher than the average GC they should be wearing ski masks while they settle up with their victims, ah customers.
 
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