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  1. #1
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    Aug 2020
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    Default Shoddy Work

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Guadalupe county of Texas

    We hired a licensed and bonded Contractor to install 2 decks and an above ground pool. It started by the contractor Installing the decks first instead of the above ground pool and then building the decks around and up to the pool. The bottom deck is 12*17 and the top deck is 10*10 up to the pool he built over the top rail of our pool AND DESTROYED IT. The pool is 4 in un-level from the low side and the decking boards were to be treated but are bowed and cut uneven and not flush around the deck. The stairs are uneven and unsafe leading to the decks and the pool is coming off the bottom rail it is supposed to sit in...The decks costs about 7500 dollars and the pool they wanted 2000 which we didn't pay yet. They left stain all over our pump and motor and new pool as well dirt mounds all over our yard nails screw sticking out underneath the top deck and all on the ground. It was horrible and has been horrible. We made him pull a permit and the Senior inspector came out and said what was done would not pass inspection. They wanted me to pay the last of the monies late at night when I couldn't see what had been completed, That was July 16th and they have not been back to fix it as today is the 17th of August and they were supposed to be back this morning to work on it and they didn't show up, We are beyond frustrated and just wanted our backyard to look nice and presentable, What are our options at this point? We have taken many Pictures and Videos on our Phones of the work that was and was not completed. Thank you for your input>

  2. #2
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    Quote Quoting lawdawg7314
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    What are our options at this point? We have taken many Pictures and Videos on our Phones of the work that was and was not completed. Thank you for your input
    When a contractor has not performed up to the requirements of the contract you have the option to have the shoddy work completed by a competent contractor and then sue the shoddy contractor for the difference between what you ultimately had to pay to get it done correctly (the combination of what you actually paid both the shoddy and good contractor) and what your total cost of the job was supposed to be under the contract with the shoddy contractor. This assumes that your contract with the contractor does not require arbitration of your dispute. If arbitration is required, you'd do that instead of suing in court.

    Note that Texas is notable in that it flips the usual rule for attorney's fees in breach of contract cases. In most states the rule in breach of contract cases is that each side pays their own attorney's fees unless the contract specifies that the loser pays the winner's legal fees. In Texas, it is just the opposite: the default rule is that the loser ends up paying the winner's legal fees unless the contract says otherwise.

    So start by looking at your contract. Does it require arbitration? Does it say that each side pays its own legal fees regardless of who wins? Those terms (or lack of them) in the contract will lay out what your options are. You might want to consult a civil litigation attorney about this. Most will give you a free initial consultation so you lose nothing but a little time. And if you are able to recoup your legal fees if you win it may be well worth hiring a lawyer to pursue this for you if you have a decent shot at winning.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    In addition, if the contractor is indeed bonded, you should make a claim with the bonding company.

  4. #4
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    Aug 2020
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    Thank you sir for the response.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    And file a complaint with the licensing agency. That is likely the county or local jurisdiction.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    When a contractor has not performed up to the requirements of the contract you have the option to have the shoddy work completed by a competent contractor...
    I do not believe this is an accurate statement. A homeowner does not have the right to fire a contractor whenever they see fit and hire another contractor to fix the mistakes on the original contractor's dime. The homeowner must give the contractor ample notice and time to fix his own mistakes.

    In a situation like this, the contractor may know someone who can fix it at a reasonable rate rather than the HO hiring another contractor who will undoubtedly want to rip it all out and start over, driving the cost to more than double.

    What an unfortunate mess but give your contractor time to fix it if you want to prevail in court. Also, it is too early to file a claim with his bond company.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    Quote Quoting Harold99
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    I do not believe this is an accurate statement. A homeowner does not have the right to fire a contractor whenever they see fit and hire another contractor to fix the mistakes on the original contractor's dime. The homeowner must give the contractor ample notice and time to fix his own mistakes.

    In a situation like this, the contractor may know someone who can fix it at a reasonable rate rather than the HO hiring another contractor who will undoubtedly want to rip it all out and start over, driving the cost to more than double.

    What an unfortunate mess but give your contractor time to fix it if you want to prevail in court. Also, it is too early to file a claim with his bond company.
    You are incorrect on that Harold. The homeowner has every right to do that. However, even if you were not, more than a month is ample time to correct the problem. This contractor has not done so, nor made any attempt to do so.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2020
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    You are incorrect on that Harold. The homeowner has every right to do that.
    Only after the contractor has clearly shown that he will not, or cannot, fix it.

    However, even if you were not, more than a month is ample time to correct the problem. This contractor has not done so, nor made any attempt to do so.
    The contractor must be in contact with the homeowner because the OP stated "they were supposed to be back this morning to work on it and they didn't show up," So they are discussing it.

    It is clear that the contractor took on a job that he does not socialize in. It is too bad for the contractor that he is licensed and bonded because that will not allow him to run away from the job like unlicensed contractors often do. I am just saying that if a HO wants to prevail in court he must exhaust all possibilities that the contractor will fix his mistakes.

    IMO, the best recourse is through his bond company, not the courts which would give the OP a judgement, but no money.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    Quote Quoting Harold99
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    I do not believe this is an accurate statement. A homeowner does not have the right to fire a contractor whenever they see fit and hire another contractor to fix the mistakes on the original contractor's dime. The homeowner must give the contractor ample notice and time to fix his own mistakes.
    (Bolding added.) It is worth remembering Harold that each state's law is different. You are a contractor in California and in California perhaps your statement is true — I've not researched California law on the subject. But it does not seem to be the case in Texas. What you refer to in the sentence I bolded is known in the law as a right to cure. States vary to the extent that a breaching party must be given a right to cure. In Texas, by statute, there is a right to cure in contracts for the sales of goods, contracts for the sale or lease of land, and in certain loan situations. There is no statute giving a right to cure for construction contracts. And in the Texas case law I found no right to cure in such contracts either. All the right to cure cases discussed the situations in which there was a statutory right to cure. Furthermore, I found a Texas Bar article discussing how to draft right to cure provisions in a contract; it would not be necessary to draft such provisions into a contract if Texas law provided a right to cure for all contracts. Finally, I found an article by a Texas Law firm written for a construction symposium that discussed various rights and remedies when a contractor is in breach of the contract. It does not mention any right to cure as a matter of law. Rather, what it does say is: "If a general contractor fails to perform, an owner can complete the project and its damages are measured by the reasonable and necessary costs of completing the job less the unpaid balance under the contract. McKnight v. Renfro, 371 S.W.2d 740, 745 (Tex.Civ.App.–Dallas 1963, writ ref'd n.r.e.)." In the case cited by the article, no mention is made of a right to cure for the failure to complete the construction on time. Bottom line is that it appears that in this situation there is no right for the contractor to cure under Texas law. That's something that the OP can discuss with the Texas attorney that he ought to consult.

    But even if there was a right to cure, the OP has given the contractor that very opportunity and the contractor has failed to show — more than a month after the contractor left the job. It seems to me that after the most recent failure of the contractor to show up as promised the homeowner has done everything that he can be reasonably expected to do even if there was a right to cure.


    Quote Quoting Harold99
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    IMO, the best recourse is through his bond company, not the courts which would give the OP a judgement, but no money.
    Certainly a good suggestion for the OP to try, though the OP has the right to sue should that not work.

  10. #10
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    Feb 2020
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    Default Re: Shoddy Work

    Quote Quoting Taxing Matters
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    (Bolding added.) It is worth remembering Harold that each state's law is different. You are a contractor in California and in California perhaps your statement is true — I've not researched California law on the subject. But it does not seem to be the case in Texas. What you refer to in the sentence I bolded is known in the law as a right to cure. States vary to the extent that a breaching party must be given a right to cure. In Texas, by statute, there is a right to cure in contracts for the sales of goods, contracts for the sale or lease of land, and in certain loan situations. There is no statute giving a right to cure for construction contracts. And in the Texas case law I found no right to cure in such contracts either. All the right to cure cases discussed the situations in which there was a statutory right to cure. Furthermore, I found a Texas Bar article discussing how to draft right to cure provisions in a contract; it would not be necessary to draft such provisions into a contract if Texas law provided a right to cure for all contracts. Finally, I found an article by a Texas Law firm written for a construction symposium that discussed various rights and remedies when a contractor is in breach of the contract. It does not mention any right to cure as a matter of law. Rather, what it does say is: "If a general contractor fails to perform, an owner can complete the project and its damages are measured by the reasonable and necessary costs of completing the job less the unpaid balance under the contract. McKnight v. Renfro, 371 S.W.2d 740, 745 (Tex.Civ.App.–Dallas 1963, writ ref'd n.r.e.)." In the case cited by the article, no mention is made of a right to cure for the failure to complete the construction on time. Bottom line is that it appears that in this situation there is no right for the contractor to cure under Texas law. That's something that the OP can discuss with the Texas attorney that he ought to consult.

    But even if there was a right to cure, the OP has given the contractor that very opportunity and the contractor has failed to show — more than a month after the contractor left the job. It seems to me that after the most recent failure of the contractor to show up as promised the homeowner has done everything that he can be reasonably expected to do even if there was a right to cure.


    Certainly a good suggestion for the OP to try, though the OP has the right to sue should that not work.
    That is ambiguous. Are you saying that in Texas a contractor can be fired for any reason the homeowners deems legit?

    During my trial I watched both attorneys argue case law. Either one could convince me that they were right. However the judge saw that one argument was weak. I doubt anyone here, including yourself, will argue the other side of what you are saying.

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