My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: California
I hired a licensed contractor to install tile in my master bath. We have no written contract and agreed to have all tile installed and grouted for $400.00 (the contractors bid).
We've had some bumps heretofore, ex: we were unhappy with the layout in the niche after expressly telling the contractor to do it one way, he did it his own way. I knew that the amount of work that the GC was doing for the price was low so I had a sit down with him and told him that I would be willing to pay him $600.00 to finish the job right; ie fixing the niche and I was in NO HURRY to have the work completed, I just wanted to have it done right. He promised to fix the issues we discussed and would send his "helper" an unlicensed contractor out Thursday (4/14/11) to FINISH the job.
The guy got here at 9:00am (supposed to be here at 8:00 am) and left at noon stating he could not complete the work. I looked at what had been done and again he did the niche his own way and did not even use thin set to adhere the tile. (I could still pull the tile off after 5 hours had gone by). He also put another layer of half mixed (lumps and uneven) thin set on the shower floor, now making the floor too high to tile and unlevel making it now necessary to scrape the floor to make it a stable surface again to tile over.
I called the contractor and and had him come look at what had been done in the 3 hours his helper was here. He said he had no idea what had gone on as his "helper" did not call him until late in the afternoon. I told him that this was completely unacceptable and I was no longer sure if I wanted him to complete the work.
I know that if there were a written contract in place I could terminate the work for non-performance issues and hire someone else to complete the job at his expense. However, I also know that there is the Mechanic's Lien statute that could come into play for him as a substantial amount of the work has been completed, and I have not yet payed him anything.
Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated as I want to do the right thing, but I do not necessarily know how to proceed from here to keep myself protected as well as doing the right thing.
Thanks in advance.