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Hi. After reading about the attorney general and the landscape contractor, none of you may even talk to me, but some of your discussions have been so reasonable I thought I might give you a try.
I'm a customer of a general contractor, and I have a huge problem. I have such an aversion to litigation that I would do almost anything not to go to court, but I'm running out of ideas. Anyone willing to hear my story and perhaps give me a fresh way of finding a solution to my problem?

Thanks for letting me post since I'm not in your business or your league. By the way, I don't think all contractors are like used car salesmen - maybe just mine?
 

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Help ?

Why dont you put your problem on the board here and see if people here can offer suggestions on the best way to handle it ?
That would be a good place to start.
 

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Thank you. Spectatorsz, I will put my problem on the board and see if anyone can or will try to help me. In 2001, I contacted a friend who had done contractor work for me before and asked him to convert two decks to a screened porch. He no longer had his license and was working for a licensed contractor who agreed to do the job. As we got into the job, I decided we might as well just make it a weather proof sunporch with windows instead of a screened porch. The work was done, and I was pleased with how it turned out. (My friend did much of the work.) When it came time for the roofing, I asked the contractor to have roofiing contractor who reroofed our home about four years earlier to do the job and my husband even called the roofer to come and give the contractor a bid (with the contractor's approval). Much later (this year) we found out he did not use the roofing contractor we requested, and that he, the contractor, "dried in" the roof, asking the roofer he chose, to just shingle. This winter we had a particularly bad storm lasting several days and creating much ice on roofs and lots of damage in general here in Northern Utah. We spent Christmas in Virginia and missed the storm. I was scheduled for breast cancer surgery the morning after we arrived home late at night, and neither my husband or I went into the sunroom until after I returned from the hospital, following surgery. Ice dams along the sunroom edge had caused leaks and the beaded board room sustained quite a bit of damage, as well as the floor joists are now visible under the floor covering. We contacted our insurance company, they sent a disaster team with fans to dry out the insulation (tearing out part of the ceiling and some of the wall, which had cracked.) The insurance company discovered that the roof had not received something called "weather guard" or "ice guard" - a sheet of plastic of some type which should have gone under the tar paper. Our insurance company declined to accept any responsibility for the problem, citing a clause in the policy stating they did not cover contractor negligence or error. Being very inexperienced, we called the roofing subcontractor, when we found out it was not the one we requested. He came, accepted responsibility for the problems and said he would take care of everything. Nice man. Then a couple of weeks later he called, saying he had a witness that our general contractor had "dried in" the roof, and he was not responsible, and that we should call our general contractor. We did. He came, said he, as general contractor, was responsible and he would take care of everything. We told him we would work with him, and in every way tried to be good guys. He told us he had let his license lapse in 2003. I checked online and found he had been licensed and insured until July 2003, and was in 2001 when he did the work. He never came back. I tried calling him a couple of times on his cell phone and left a message at his home. On one occasion he told me he was working "with that insurance lady, Kelli and would get back to me next week." Well, the insurance lady was the disaster service lady, who had called him about paying for the disaster service they had provided us - he never called her back, either. One time he told me he would have our friend do the work, and I asked him if he was authorizing our friend to do so for payment purposes and he said "He will work at his own risk!" Obviously we didn't do anything. Finally, I called the contractor on my cell phone because I think he knew my land line number and wasn't answering. I told him it thought it was pretty bad of him to treat us this way, especially when we told him we would work with him. He told me "Thanks for the lecture" and hung up on me. We have never heard from him again. I called the state office that deals with licenses for the building profession, and they basically told me there is nothing they can do, since he is no longer licensed. Our friend who had worked for him had his reputation hurt by other dealings this man did while he worked for him, and his own son, who worked on our job, as well, told us his dad is working jobs without a license. He has moved out of his dad's home because I guess his dad, the contractor, treated him badly, too. We have also been told the IRS is investigating the contractor, and his wife, a physician, told hime "get a job - I hear Home Depot is hiring!"


Today we had another contractor arrange to give us a bid to fix the damage. He says we will need a new roof, and the floor is going to be the biggest problem. I am so against suing people - I had a medical misdiagnosis once with a previous cancer surgery, and told the involved doctor I just wanted her to get me the best oncologist in the state and that I wasn't going to sue because I do know people make mistakes. But this has gone way beyond that - this contractor has been such a bad guy to us that I think we may have to sue. Do you know any other recourse? I have talked with an attorney, and he said he will also have to sue the roofer-sub. I'm feeling especially bad about that because he was willing to step up when he thought it was his fault only. Also, I'm worried about the IRS. If they are investigating the contractor, will he declare bankruptcy and we will just have big attorney fees and nothing else? His wife is a medical doctor, he does own property, and I've been told he recently bought a fixer-upper as an investment, which he is working on. I try always to be positive and to have only positive experiences, but I don't know how to put a positive anything about this anymore, and physically I know this is not good. I am hopefully recovering from breast cancer, but I believe one's emotions are incredibly important in one's health, and frankly, I am so freaked out about this I just worry most of the time. Any advice?

Ole' redhead.
 

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Redhead, this is so convoluted that I suggest that you get a local attorney's advice.
There is a mountain of evidence connecting stress and personal illnesses. Despite your hesitation to file a suit, in this case it might be your best option. Follow your attorney's advise.
I live in FL and our state flag is a supoena which makes us very careful.
Sorry that I can't help you more but business is done differently 'out west'.
 

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Redhead,

Not only did the contractor mislead you in the actual work being done by whom the work would be done, but when a problem arose he completely swept it under the rug. He is exactly the person guys like us work hard not to be. You went out of your way to work with him. If I ever screw up a job that bad, I can only hope my customer is as understanding as you.
I really think you should call a lawyer. One familiar with contractor law and consumer fraud. Not just for yourself, honestly it looks like a long line of people will be in front of you and you may not recover anything, but also for any other cunsumers who may be shafted by this guy. He is a scab on the a$$ of our industry and should be picked and thrown away.

Good luck
Don
 

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Don't sue the sub contractor. Sue the GC, go after him. You will get a judgement pretty easily. The hard part is collecting. Most guys like him have nothing to collect or you are standing at the end of a long line of others trying to get money out of him. But if you get lucky and he has assets you can attach them, you can also attach his tools and future earnings. If the IRS is truly after him that pretty much guarantees that he owes everybody money and is used to this lifestyle and could careless.

Even though you are not the type of person to sue people, if you can't do it for yourself, do it for the next person. Going after him now might help protect somebody else from him.
 

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I think this country is too sue happy. Go park infront of his house every day with a sign on your vehicle that says: "Person X owes me money and refuses to pay."

I bet his neighbors will like that!

Option 2: Buy a shot gun. The lawyers are already too rich. Put some buckshot in his truck. (I'm just kidding about option 2.... or am i?)

There are other things you can do besides sueing since chances are great youll end up spending your own money for a lawyer, get a judgement then get $0 of that judgement and end up deeper in the hole than when you started.
 
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Thanks.

Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to give me some insight from your professional perspective. We have sent the general contractor a registered letter (which he received - we have the proof) giving him until August 7th to get in touch with us with his "how" and"when" he is going to fix the problem, and in no response, that we will instruct our attorney to begin legal action August 9th - so we will see. I still don't want to sue (hello, grumpy, I loved your idea about the sign), but that seemed to be your consensus of opinion, and you guys are the experts! Keep a good thought for me that the guy will do the right thing - but I don't have a great deal of hope. From a confidential source, I've learned that his assets are pretty slim or at least well hidden (I did mention his wife is an MD?), and that he still owes $183 on last year's state taxes! I think we will be careful about spending a huge amount of money with the attorney...

You are a really great group. Thanks again for letting a "foreigner" barge in.

Ole' Redhead
 

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Call your local newspaper and do a 'feature' story on his work. Unfortunately, everybody loves a good 'contractor-bashing' story :D
 

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I forgot about the media angle. Tom has a good idea about the paper, we have a couple of TV stations that will investigate as well, maybe you do too. If the wife's a MD she's not going to like the negative publicity and may turn up the heat at home, can't get much better than that.
 

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I'm assuming Ice Shield is required in Utah?

But if it's not, this may be a case of slippery insurance. (just a thought from another pair of boots)

Bob
 

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Redhead - also don't forget that you can get what I believe is called a writ of execution after you get your judgement. It allows you to get paid before he does ever again. For example if you find him working on a job for a homeowner and you send the homeowner a copy of the writ of execution, that homeowner has to pay you the money and not the contractor. I believe also you can cart off his tools and possessions as payment right on the spot. You just call the cops and produce the writ and say I want the guys air compressor as partial payment on this writ and the cops will help you load it in your car.
 
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You guys just keep getting better and better. I'm delighted with your responses - I'd never think of some of these ideas. Thanks again. I'll keep you posted. Yes, ice guard or whatever it's called is required in Utah - it can get really cold here, but I also think the insurance co. is pretty slippery. So many years, so much $$$ we've paid them and when you make a claim, they pull out their little "exclusions" policies - but our attorney did say he will also try to get them to pony up, too. I'm not counting on it. Still no response from our contractor to our registered letter - 3 days to go. It's getting personal now - don't get a redhead fighting mad!

Thanks again. I think you are the best bunch I've ever met!
 

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Always happy to help. Let us know if we did any good.
 
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