Contractor dispute, what's the best way to get my money back?

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jason2012
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Contractor dispute, what's the best way to get my money back?

Postby jason2012 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:12 pm

I recently hired a contractor to fix furnace. I paid about $4000 by credit card. The job was no good and has some safety issues. The worst part is that the contractor did not apply for a permit and no inspection was done. This is illegal in my state.

I had another contractor to come to check and he said the job is 'S***'. He can fix it but advises me to have town inspector to look at it first to make sure everything is legal records. At the mean time I filed a credit card dispute and a temp credit was posted in my account. The rep said the case will take about 60 - 90 days to resolve.

My question is that if I listen to the new contractor to let town inspector to see the job, he might request an urgent repair regardless my CC dispute. If this is the case, I think my dispute will be in a better situation since this shows the previous job is totally unacceptable from legal perspective. Should I go ahead call town inspector or wait for CC dispute to be settled down? I will have to pay the new contractor's job so I just want to make sure my case is favor of me.

Thanks,
Jason


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Pete838
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Postby Pete838 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:13 pm

If the work required a permit and one was not applied for then yes, contact the code authority and your local trade licensing authority. Make sure the inspector sees it BEFORE the other contractor repairs it, as he can be subpoenaed if necessary and can testify as an expert in the quality and legality of the repair. Was the contractor licensed? If he was unlicensed he could not have even gotten a permit, and may have violated laws by doing the work.

Also beware of the second contractor. He could be an overzealous competitor that is making mountains out of mole hills. The city inspector should be able to help clear things up.

As for the new repairs, your state might require you to let the first contractor make it right, and from a cost perspective this would probably be the way to go, even though you may not trust him. The plus side, though, is now the code authority will be checking up on him and he'll have to do it correctly.

Even if the CC rules in your favor and reverses the charge completely, the first contractor is likely to sue you for the $4K and would likely win something unless you can prove his work was 100% faulty and had to be removed, and that you enjoyed no benefit from his labor.
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jason2012
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Postby jason2012 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:38 am

Pete838,

Thanks for the advice. As a matter of fact the second contractor suggests me to contact the city inspector first to have him see the work. Also he suggests me to make sure I will have a chance to let the first guy to fix the issue. He is reasonable even we have not discussed the cost yet. I just found out the first contractor changed his company's address and email reply says something family emergency and operation is shutting down indefinitely. This happened just after I keep contacting him for the permit work. Very fishy! By the way he is licensed plumber. I have been trying contact him for almost two weeks via email, phone with message, certified letter and BBB complaint. So far no reply at all. If CC dispute in my favor and he sue me in the court, would all my effort (trying to find him) are sufficient enough to show my giving him a chance to fix the problem?

I will contact city inspector to let him know and he might help to track down the first contractor. But if inspector decides to red tag the work for safety issue and I will have to take action immediately. He might help me to find the first guy but if it fails I will have to let second contractor to fix the problem. Talking about the suing me, the worst case I will return partial of the $4k for the parts which seems fair to everyone.

Jason

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PlatinumAMEX94
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Postby PlatinumAMEX94 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 3:03 am

jason2012 wrote:I recently hired a contractor to fix furnace. I paid about $4000 by credit card. The job was no good and has some safety issues. The worst part is that the contractor did not apply for a permit and no inspection was done. This is illegal in my state.

I had another contractor to come to check and he said the job is 'S***'. He can fix it but advises me to have town inspector to look at it first to make sure everything is legal records. At the mean time I filed a credit card dispute and a temp credit was posted in my account. The rep said the case will take about 60 - 90 days to resolve.

My question is that if I listen to the new contractor to let town inspector to see the job, he might request an urgent repair regardless my CC dispute. If this is the case, I think my dispute will be in a better situation since this shows the previous job is totally unacceptable from legal perspective. Should I go ahead call town inspector or wait for CC dispute to be settled down? I will have to pay the new contractor's job so I just want to make sure my case is favor of me.

Thanks,
Jason


Did you try to work with the original contractor requesting a refund or for him to do the work over for free? Rather than trying to deny his charge, get him to issue a credit back. It is under 5k so you can just take him to small claims court, which is much more effective than trying to deny the charge.
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jason2012
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Postby jason2012 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:47 am

PlatinumAMEX94,

Thanks for the reply. I remember my last conversation (two weeks ago) with the first contractor's assistant and he mentioned there is a family emergency and their operation will shutdown and don't know when will be back. I thought they just wanted me to forget about them.

Now, I have been trying to reach out them via email, certified letter, phone and BBB complaint, no news so far. I believe I have tried all the options I have to let them to fix the issue and get the inspection right.

The only thing I have not done is to ask town inspector to look at the job and request him to help to find them. If so, I suspect the inspector will do something to his license. This is not I want to see. But it seems I will have to use it as my last resort.

If CC dispute does not go through, then I will consider to take him to small claims court to pay for at least the second contractor's job. But if I win the case in the court, getting the money back is another thing.

Jason

jason2012
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Postby jason2012 » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:04 pm

Pete838 wrote: .....
Even if the CC rules in your favor and reverses the charge completely, the first contractor is likely to sue you for the $4K and would likely win something unless you can prove his work was 100% faulty and had to be removed, and that you enjoyed no benefit from his labor.


I just discovered that the new furnace requires a bigger pipe to get exhaust out of the house and also the bigger pipe for fresh air. To replace with the larger size pipe requires open up the basement ceiling all the way to out of the house!! The current pipe obviously does not fit the new furnace. This new one seems 'oversized' ( I can do a load calculation to prove it, which the first guy is suppose to do it at the first time!) . Now it seems that I will have to remove this one and have second contractor to get a right size furnace to start from scratch. OMG! I wish I can get all my money back. The headache is that I have no way to return the big piece of metal since the guy is hiding from me.

Any idea how to win this battle??

Thanks a lot for any suggestion.

jason2012
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Postby jason2012 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:45 pm

I win my dispute case and get all the money back! The vendor did not response to my claim and I won automatically. I had another contractor removed the furnace and replaced a new one with right size and passed the inspection. Now the question is that how to deal with the furnace the first contractor put in? It is laying in my garage and I would like to have him take it way. He did not response to my email. What should I do?

-Jason

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Pete838
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Postby Pete838 » Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:05 am

I would send a registered letter to the contractor's last known address stating that he should schedule to pick up his property by 30 days. If it is not picked up in 30 days you will treat it as abandoned property. After 30 days you can sell it on ebay or donate it to Habitat for Humanity, or whatever you want.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
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