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  1. #1

    Unhappy Paid for Services Not Delivered

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


    3 weeks ago we hired an independent contractor to do yard maintenance and deck staining. We paid him 1/2 up front and have a contract. Unfortunately the contract does not state when he will start the work. However, he told us that he would start the next day. He called with an excuse. He has now called 3 times with excuses. I have contacted him twice to see when he was going to start. The last time I told him that if he did not start by a certain day and work until the contract was fulfilled he would have to return the money to us. Well, he skipped again on the last day he was going to start. Now he is refusing to acknowledge my calls or text messages.


    What is my next course of action? Sheriff, prosecuting attorney, or what??

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    6,213

    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    Indiana does not have state licensing requirements for home improvement contractors. Some municipal and county jurisdictions require a license. The fact that you have a contract that doesn't comport to Indiana business law (stating a start and finish time for the contract) may mean that you contracted with a fly-by-night contractor who took your money and ran.

    Your options now is to report this incident to the Secretory of State to investigate, and/or sue the contractor (assuming they are a real business with a name and address),

    Good luck. Did you do any investigation about this IC before you handed him the money?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    Nope. Husband hired him based on he seemed like a good guy. Famous last words.
    So what good is a contract if you can't enforce it? Why does everyone say get a contract when it sounds like it won't hold up?

    Can I request that the bank get the money back as we paid by check that has already been cashed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    6,213

    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    Once a check has be cashed and processed, it becomes legal tender. And unlike using a credit card, the bank can't get the money back because of non-performance on a contract. It is a civil matter for you to recover your deposit from the contractor.

    A contract is only as good as the parties that sign it. I could give you a contract to sell you the Brooklyn bridge for one dollar. But if I don't own the bridge it's toilet paper. You always have to check out who you do business with before you give them money when it comes to home improvement. There are as many scammers as there are legitimate business.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    1,290

    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    This isn't a criminal matter. If the contractor won't return your deposit, you'll need to sue.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    Was the contractor a corp/LLC or was he a sole proprietor? If a corp/LLC, you can check the Indiana Secretary of State web site to find his registration info and where to serve a small claims suit.

    Also get a copy of your cashed check, as it may have the contractor's bank or account number on the back, which would be useful to have if you need to garnish the account.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    Quote Quoting pg1067
    View Post
    This isn't a criminal matter. If the contractor won't return your deposit, you'll need to sue.
    It may be a criminal matter. The contractor was a scammer, he took the money and ran. If he took the money, started the job but never finished it, then it would be a civil matter.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  9. #9

    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    Ok. Finally got contractor to call and stop by house. He said he has cancer and just started chemo but still wanted job. Did 2 hours of work and had to leave. 2 days later contacted me and said he can not do the job while taking chemo. Don't know why he thought he could or took the job, but that is another story. Frankly, I guess I am a cynic because everything he has told us up to now, he has contradicted himself on. But, he now says he will return the money. If he does not, am I now looking at a criminal matter or a civil matter since he did do 2 hours of work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    1,290

    Default Re: Paid for Services Not Delivered

    Quote Quoting Who'sThatGuy
    View Post
    Quote Quoting pg1067
    View Post
    This isn't a criminal matter. If the contractor won't return your deposit, you'll need to sue.
    It may be a criminal matter. The contractor was a scammer, he took the money and ran. If he took the money, started the job but never finished it, then it would be a civil matter.
    I agree that it could be a criminal matter if there are other facts not known to us that make it so. I disagree with your unequivocal statements that "[t]he contractor was a scammer" and "took the money and ran." Accepting a deposit and not starting work in three weeks when the written contract does not identify a start date, without more, does not make for a criminal matter.

    Quote Quoting labsmom5
    View Post
    he now says he will return the money. If he does not, am I now looking at a criminal matter or a civil matter since he did do 2 hours of work.
    That he did some work or no work isn't relevant to the criminal/civil issue. You're free to report the matter to whatever law enforcement agency you like, but I can practically guarantee you that none will do anything with this (unless this guy has some sort of history of doing this). If the guy doesn't return your money, your recourse is to sue.

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