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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    4

    Default No Show Contractor and Breach of Verbal

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

    I hired a painter to paint 2 rooms in my home with a verbal and email agreement on dates to finish job. Contractor took 1k down payment set up his scaffolding and couldn’t start the job as per agreement. We hired another painter to do the job and contractor did not want pick up his scaffolding, he stated he was busy.

    Three weeks later he wanted his scaffolding so I asked for my check back. He stated he cashed it and used it to rent scaffolding and he has no money. I told him I’ll give him a week to give me my money and he can have his scaffolding.

    A few more weeks pass and I get a call from PA state troopers telling me I cannot hold his scaffolding for ransom on money owed.

    How can the laws protect what I believe is a scam! I tried to cancel check but he cashed it quickly. We found him from a website like Angie’s list and waiting for them to send reimbursement but who knows if that will work our. Very curious on my rights as a consumer because I didn’t do anything wrong and I feel this contractor can do this to anyone and use the state police as his henchmen.


    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,208

    Default Re: No Show Contractor and Breach of Verbal

    If he rented the scaffolding, it doesn't belong to either of you. No, you can not hold it hostage. You'll have to pursue your relief some other ways.
    Since you know the equipment doesn't belong to you, you are committing a crime. The police are being gracious toward you. You can also find yourself in a civil lawsuit from the owner of the scaffolding that you refuse to release.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    1,666

    Default Re: No Show Contractor and Breach of Verbal

    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    How can the laws protect what I believe is a scam!
    You can believe whatever you like, but this question doesn't make much sense. Contrary to popular opinion, the law does not allow you to hold someone else's property hostage just because that person owes you money. Since the law does not allow you to do that, you need to give the property back, and you can sue to get your money back.


    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    We found him from a website like Angie’s list and waiting for them to send reimbursement but who knows if that will work our.
    Who are "them"? Are you saying that you think the website owner will pay you?


    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    Very curious on my rights as a consumer because I didn’t do anything wrong and I feel this contractor can do this to anyone and use the state police as his henchmen.
    Your recourse is to sue in small claims court.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    4

    Default Re: No Show Contractor and Breach of Verbal

    How would I really know he rented the scaffolding? it can be part of his scam correct? He just stated that he rented it with my money but he can say anything correct.

    “Them” is the website that list contractors and they do have a clause that states they will reimburse the loss. Waiting for confirmation on that.

    And I do believe the law is wrong and should be looked at because anyone can pull a scam off like this exactly how this persons did! He planted scaffolding stole my money and now wants to retrieve the scaffolding! Ya this sounds like a good law to me 🤦*♂️

    Thanks for the input! And he also uses the state police for his henchmen! Great legal system....

    I don’t know for a fact he rented it! He stated he rented it with my down payment!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    19,208

    Default Re: No Show Contractor and Breach of Verbal

    It really doesn't matter if he rented it or not. You know that YOU do not own it. You have no right to deprive the owner of it.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: No Show Contractor and Breach of Verbal

    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    How would I really know he rented the scaffolding?
    I have no idea, but it doesn't matter.


    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    it can be part of his scam correct?
    I don't see how anyone could intelligently give you an unequivocal "no" in response to this question, so the only possible, intelligent answer is "yes" (i.e., in the abstract, virtually anything is possible).


    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    And I do believe the law is wrong and should be looked at because anyone can pull a scam off like this exactly how this persons did! He planted scaffolding stole my money and now wants to retrieve the scaffolding! Ya this sounds like a good law to me
    You're free to lobby your elected representatives to change the law, but there is no law that says he can do this. There are, however, laws that say you can't hold someone else's property hostage to extort payment of a debt (in the absence of a properly perfected security agreement). There are also laws that allow you to sue for money properly due to you. Both of those seem to me and most other people to be excellent laws.


    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    Thanks for the input! And he also uses the state police for his henchmen! Great legal system....
    Considering that your efforts to hold his equipment hostage are in violation of the law, it seems like a perfectly appropriate "use" of the police.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    6,431

    Default Re: No Show Contractor and Breach of Verbal

    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    A few more weeks pass and I get a call from PA state troopers telling me I cannot hold his scaffolding for ransom on money owed.
    The state trooper has not more authority then I do. And it's questionable as to what involvement a state trooper would have in this situation. This is a question for a state prosecutor.

    Anything brought through the threshold of a house and left there is the property of the homeowner and cannot be removed without their permission or an order of the court. The contractor may own the scaffolding but if in dispute, can not remove it without permission or an order. It is the possession of the homeowner.

    That is why prudent contractors leave nothing in a home when they leave for the day of work if they have any sense.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,155

    Default Re: No Show Contractor and Breach of Verbal

    Quote Quoting CRR123
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    I hired a painter to paint 2 rooms in my home with a verbal and email agreement on dates to finish job. Contractor took 1k down payment set up his scaffolding and couldn’t start the job as per agreement.

    This is why I tell people never to give a contractor money up front. Buy the material yourself, hire the labor, pay as he works (not before). And I would never hire any contractor who doesn't already own his own equipment.

    I have dealt with contractors that way for over 40 years and have never been screwed by a contractor.

    They are often a little annoyed by the way I do business but, so what, if they want the work (and they often do) they do it my way.

    And that's not just for small jobs like painting a couple of rooms. I'm building a $35,000 garage building that way.

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