The job was pre-approved thru insurance. The hardwood floors were re-finished. My job was to clean up dust residue. The house was filthy, flower arrangements on the walls were covered in cobwebs, toilets were moldy inside. The person from hardwood company in charge of checking before owners got home verified the house looked satisfactory. The owner called me to say he was dis-satisfied. I asked him what part was not done to his satisfaction. There were only 3 items, I said I would be glad to come do them. He refused and is now refusing payment. Insurance had sent check to homeowner. How can I collect my payment? I have witnesses to verify house looked great
Unfortunately, the situation you're in is all too common. Due to strong consumer protection laws and the continued uncertainty of the economy, many homeowners are taking advantage of contractors such as yourself. Typically in your business you are retained by you to the insurance company or the homeowner in the homeowner must sign an agreement stating that any insurance payment obtained by him should be used to reimburse you for your services. We have seen lately that homeowners are receiving the insurance payments and refusing to pay the contractors. They argue that the work was not done properly or that they never authorized such work to begin.
My advice to you is to pursue this claim very aggressively. You may need to hire an attorney to help you put pressure on the homeowner and prosecute the claim. In the event that you sue the homeowner for nonpayment under theories of breach of contract and unjust enrichment, be prepared for the homeowner to file a counterclaim alleging that you failed to properly complete the work. However I would not let this counterclaim discourage you from pursuing the homeowner.
An experienced litigation attorney can help prepare a defense for suspected counterclaim. Good luck and don't give up.
Peter J. Lamont, Esq. Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont 623 Lafayette Avenue, Suite 2, Hawthorne, NJ 07506 Phone: (973) 949-3770 Fax: (866) 603-0471 Toll Free: (855) NJLAW01 (855) 655-2901 www.peterlamontesq.com Additional Offices in Massapequa, NY, Monument, CO, San Juan, PR and affiliates throughout the country. PLEASE NOTE: The above statements are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained on this site without first seeking the advice of an attorney.
I agree with the previous answer and would suggest a free consultation with a business lawyer on this site. If you are comfortable with the courtroom and the bill is less than $5000.00 Small Claims Court may be the way to go.
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