A lot of homeowners have to go through the rigors of refurbishing and tackling some contract projects each year. And to get this done, they always (or more often than not), resort to employing some licensed contractors, to come to help them do the job.
It is normal or should be of general knowledge, that before a construction contractor is employed to do some major construction work, be it in the commercial or residential line, there are expected to attain some licensing guidelines so that they can operate their business legally and successfully. So what happens in practice is, they write a construction exam, that would cover the skill sets relating to construction, and some other preliminary processes they would need to perform before they are given the license.
Yes, you might have vetted your contractor, looking out for their license, and insurance coverage, (among others), things may take another turn. Even though all these prerequisite documents are available, there is a tendency that you may end up with a bad contractor. So what do you do in this instance, especially when you have paid some money to the contractor? Sometimes, the contractors may end up not finishing his work. The question is, what do you do in these instances? You have to get back your money somehow, so here are some ways you can adopt to getting back your money.
Go to Small Claims Court
For those of you who may feel the court system is going to take too much of your time (and money also) when trying to get back your money, you could as well go to the small claim court. This court is like a legal venue where indebted homeowners can go and get their money back, from the contractors who owe them. The claims in this court are more often than not, brought by homeowners, and is made either against an individual, or a company, but the damages are no more than $10,000. The amount payable as damages, however, are subject to the limits of the state in question.
During the small claims court trial, you start by presenting your case to the court, against the contractor, on the ground you feel he is guilty of; like faulty work, or even failure on his part to meet the contractual obligations.
You will win the case (by default) if the contractor doesn’t show up. You will then be charged with the task of collecting the money, but is easier said than done.
Get an Attorney
If you feel the damages you’re filing for is more than the limit on the small claims court (which is $10,000), then getting an attorney for legal advice would be the next best option. There are experienced attorneys in the construction sector that are specialists at finding weaknesses of the contract and look for loopholes that violate the agreement. With an attorney, you can know to a considerable extent, the amount owed, and how to go about to get this money.
Some problem with getting an attorney is that they are costly, and filing cases can also be expensive as well. But it’s a good option.
Filing a complaint with the state
An effective way of scaring your contractors to pay up for lousy work is through a complaint filing. No one wants a smear on their name if it affects their business. Also, because contractors are legally permitted to work with a legal license, duly registered and given by the state, with a renewal every one or two years, they wouldn’t want a situation where their license will be revoked.
If you’re contractor is giving you problems, the best thing to do is to file a complaint with the state licensing board, even though they will not be directly involved in refunding your money, they have the power to revoke the contractor’s license, which is not good for them, thus prompting the contractors to pay up, or risk losing their license.
Pursue a Bond Claim
One of the licensing processes for any contractor is a surety bond. The license bond of the contractor is a sort of guarantee to their customer that they would work with all manner of zeal and skill. And if something goes wrong, the customers can file a claim against the bond. With surety agencies, you can examine the best options regarding the issues at hand (depending on the issue that vitiated the contract); whether you would need a new contractor, payment for damages or prompting the existing contractor to finish the work they started. Whatever the decision, it would be advisable to be prudent and choose the remedy that you can get as fast as possible.
Post reviews about their work
Have you noticed how industries with websites have spaces for comments? Well, it is so because, reviews, other than the fact that it helps people air their views about the product or services rendered, it also gives the manufacturers or the service providers the opportunities to correct their mistakes. But this is not always the case; as bad reviews have done more harm than good to the manufacturers.
Posting reviews about the contractor’s work are not just cost-effective, it is also the fastest way of getting the attention of contractor, as well as prompting him to reimburse you for the bad work they did. You can do this on any social media platform, or their site, or even the community board, a place, you know they should have access to and will be able to see the review on time.
Contractors always want to maintain a high and esteemed reputation, and as such, anything that would put a dent on such reputation will be a problem; thus, they would have to blot it out, and in doing so, they would be forced to pay you.
One important thing about posting these reviews is that these reviews should be accurate. Plus, you would need to have evidence that they did some shoddy work, or else you may be the one on the receiving end of a lawsuit for false statements by the contractor.
Getting your money back from contractors shouldn’t be a problem. You can adopt one or more of these means to get your money back, provided the claims are founded on genuine grounds of lousy work.
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