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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Contractor Performed Work Without Authorization

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Tennessee

    I am having my pool liner replaced. When the pool was being drained my yard started to flood. I had a broken backwash pipe. My pool contractor referred me to a plumber. I called the plumbing company and asked for an estimate to repair the backwash pipe of the pool. I was on vacation out of state when the plumbing company's owner came to my house to inspect. He called me and told me he would have to send out a tech to inspect because he couldn't see anything. I told him to "go ahead and send him". I was expecting an estimate when I returned home but discovered the work had been completed without my authorization. I called the owner explaining that I had only wanted an estimate but he said he took my "go ahead and send him" as go ahead and do the work. I had tried to contact him several times for approximately 3 weeks to get a price. I finally received a return call saying the work completed is $2650. I would have never had the work done if the cost was that high because it is not in my budget and it is not a necessity to get the pool operational. What is my legal obligation to pay him since this work was done without my consent or knowledge?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Contractor Performed Work Without Authorization

    If and when he sues you for the repair, you can attempt to defend based upon your assertion that you did not authorize the work and the judge will decide whether or not you authorized the work. If the judge decides you did authorize the work, you can expect the judge to order you to pay for the repair. If the judge finds that you did not, assuming the judge finds that this was a misunderstanding or miscommunication, the judge will likely still order some compensation to the contractor based upon principles of quantum meruit. If the judge finds that the contractor was acting in an unscrupulous manner, it's possible that the judge will deny a recovery; but you would have a better sense than us of what impression the judge is likely to have under the facts.

    It's possible that he could file a lien against the real estate and, if the matter is not resolved, sue for foreclosure based upon the unsatisfied lien. You could be proactive and sue for the placement of any such lien, although that may be complex enough that you would want to retain a lawyer. Either way, when it gets to court, the above-described possible outcomes apply - I expect you would pay a judgment rather than allowing foreclosure, should the court rule that way.

    Beyond that, you can try to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution (confirmed in writing before you pay). You can also do nothing and see what he does (sue you, file a lien, keep calling to try to collect, or nothing).

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