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  1. #1

    Default Contractor Performed Work That Was Not Authorized

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

    Background
    I'm having a problem with my septic system and have had a contractor at my house for the past week. He never provided me a contract but verbally quoted me prices. Things started fine and I paid him for some early work. However, red flags were raised when he delayed fixing the system by performing non-essential work before getting the system back online. I was partially to blame in the first instance because I verbally authorized the work and just assumed he would do it after getting the system back online. I will, of course, pay for this because I authorized it but i determined to be more cautious going forward.

    Problem
    Last Thursday the contractor recommended another $1800 of non-essential work. We discussed the options including do nothing and an $800 alternative. Not only was this work non-essential but I was not even sure it was an improvement and decided in my mind that I would get a second opinion before making a decision. I clearly instructed him to not perform the work but to finish diagnosing the system. To make the point clear, I went on to state that I don't want to throw good money after bad and am looking into connecting the city sewer as an alternative.

    On Friday he performed the $1800 job without authorization.

    Question
    According to my calculations there is about $2000 of work I verbally authorized and he performed but has not yet been paid for. There may be additional work that he performed that I did not explicitly authorize. I don't know if he ever completed the work to get the system functioning and he never quoted me any prices for fixing the essential problem because he never fully diagnosed it - or at least he did not discuss it with me.

    What are my legal options?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Contractor Performed Work That Was Not Authorized

    Among your options, you can see if you can negotiate a mutually acceptable amount as "payment in full", placing the agreement in writing and getting it signed and dated by the contractor before paying; you can pay an amount that you believe to be appropriate and leave it to the contractor to try to collect or sue for any additional amount; or you can refuse to pay and see what the contractor does.

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