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What recourse, if any, do we have against a contractor if there is no written contact?

West Bloomfield, MI |

Contractor came out and measured for new windows then priced out the job. We accepted, and he asked for $2400 up front to get the order into the window manufacturer. My wife paid by check, but got nothing back in writing (contract/receipt). That occurred Nov 3,2011, and we haven't heard from him since. At the time he said the windows would take two weeks. He won't return calls.

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Attorney answers 2


A written contract is not necessary for you to remedy your problem. If you are unable to voluntarily secure a return of your down payment, I would suggest filing a suit against the contractor on the basis of unjust enrichment, conversion, etc. It appears that your claim is less than $3,000. If that is the case, you would have to file your suit in small claims court. In Michigan, parties involved in small claims court actions are not entitled to the assistance of an attorney. Thus, you would be representing yourself and the contractor would also be self-represented.. You can obtain all of the necessary paperwork from the District Court in which you reside (West Bloomfield is 48th District Court). The small claims process generally consists of filing the necessary paperwork, and appearing for 1 or 2 court hearings. I would suggest this course of action, rather than hiring an attorney.

The information provided is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship and shall not be construed as legal advice. The resources or information given is provided as general information only


Another option is to file a complaint with the state if the contractor is licensed in the building trades. The state takes these complaints very seriously when they involve potential misappropriation of the customer's funds.

Here is the form for that:

The contractor may be fined by the state, have the license suspended or revoked.

In addition, if it is found that the contractor took your money and paid other bills with it (as is sometimes the case) he may have violated the Builder's Trust Fund Act. There are civil and criminal ramifications for violations of the Act. Here is the Act:

Good luck!

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