• Go to page :
  • 1 2
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
I was looking for some cabinet work to be done at my home and in talking to a well known acquaintance found out that he had used someone good and reasonable that could do the work I wanted done. The acquaintance came with the "contractor" to translate as the contractor was Hispanic and did not speak English well, and the acquaintance speaks fluent Spanish. We agreed on the work to be done, a price, and a timeline.

I gave the guy doing the work a 30% deposit to begin and a piece of cabinetry that he would be modifying. He was supposed to build the cabinets and have them installed within 1.5-2 weeks. Now it is 4 weeks past that (six total) and I have seen nothing. The acquaintance will not return my calls/texts/emails for the past 2 weeks. At this point, I can only assume that the guy is never going to show up and do the work. Don't know if he ever intended to. I don't know why the acquaintance won't return my messages, other than that he can't get ahold of the contractor and he is embarrased that his "recommendation" screwed me.

In hindsight, I know that I was way too trusting and made a lot of mistakes:

1) I didn't get contact information for the contractor
2) I don't have a written agreement
3) I gave him money (and a piece of my cabinetry) up front

I'm sure there's more. I'm also sure I will get berated for my gullability, but all I really want to know is if there is any possible recourse I have against the contractor? I assume I do not, based on the facts, but I want to be sure.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
I think your friend is the culprit, he may have made some money from the deal. He not returning your calls is a TELL!!
DO... (more)

pruks (Sep. 29, 2011 @ 1:53p) |

I should have probably stated YMMV with the suggestion of turning the tables on the contractor. It may be stupid, howeve... (more)

xit (Sep. 29, 2011 @ 2:26p) |

Have dealt with a similar situation for a friend....

1) Friend calls guy about needing work from another number
2) Give ad... (more)

RadagastMOD (Sep. 29, 2011 @ 2:59p) |

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

Bonded and insured?

Did you pay via cash, check, or credit? If check or credit, try to do a stop-payment. If cash... a crowbar and a couple of big friends might come in handy?

jeffreye said:   Did you pay via cash, check, or credit? If check or credit, try to do a stop-payment. If cash... a crowbar and a couple of big friends might come in handy?

Check. That was six weeks ago and payment cleared so I don't think stop-payment is an option.

ZenNUTS said:   Bonded and insured?

Don't know. I don't know even know if he's a legal citizen or licensed. Yes, dumb, I know.

jeffreye said:   Did you pay via cash, check, or credit? If check or credit, try to do a stop-payment. If cash... a crowbar and a couple of big friends might come in handy? This, except if you paid in cash, call it a lesson learned and move on.

If he didn't do any work then you can easily sue him for work not performed and breach of contract. Make sure he does not show up one day and attempt to work or you will be regretting it.

3) I gave him money (and a piece of my cabinetry) up front
This is not a mistake. Any good contractor is going to require a downpayment for materials and initial labor costs. It usually goes 30% to start, 30% at project midpoint and the rest upon completion.

I think your biggest mistake was dealing with a contractor you were unable to communicate with. What are you going to do when he is working in your house and you need to discuss something with him?

a fool and his money are soon parted

myfakename said:   jeffreye said:   Did you pay via cash, check, or credit? If check or credit, try to do a stop-payment. If cash... a crowbar and a couple of big friends might come in handy? Check. That was six weeks ago and payment cleared so I don't think stop-payment is an option.Fraudulent checks can always be reversed. Unfortunately, valid checks that you simply want to stop payment on generally cannot be reversed once cashed/cleared. Without contact information, you're probably going to have a hard time tracking down and/or extracting anything from this guy. Depending on what 30% equates to, I'd seriously consider chalking it up as a loss and moving on...

They didn't tell you the acquaintance got 10% of the easy money.

I think you need to further define acquaintance. And the time of the relationship.

It is a very sticky situation.

GreyRabbit said:   I think you need to further define acquaintance. And the time of the relationship.

It is a very sticky situation.


Someone with whom I have had a good working relationship with for about 4 years. He worked for a company that my company and I do a lot of business with. We have hung out socially a little as well.

BondGamer said:   If he didn't do any work then you can easily sue him for work not performed and breach of contract. Make sure he does not show up one day and attempt to work or you will be regretting it.

3) I gave him money (and a piece of my cabinetry) up front
This is not a mistake. Any good contractor is going to require a downpayment for materials and initial labor costs. It usually goes 30% to start, 30% at project midpoint and the rest upon completion.

I think your biggest mistake was dealing with a contractor you were unable to communicate with. What are you going to do when he is working in your house and you need to discuss something with him?


He was to build the cabinets at his shop and then deliver/install them at my house. He did speak English a little, just not fluent.

qcumber98 said:   They didn't tell you the acquaintance got 10% of the easy money.

I know the acquaintance well enough to know that he wouldn't damage the relationship over 10%, or even 100% of what I paid the guy, which is about $500.

lol. I see my original account is logged in. Oh well. Yes, I am the retard that lost $500 to someone I shouldn't have...

ratdaddy said:   BondGamer said:   If he didn't do any work then you can easily sue him for work not performed and breach of contract. Make sure he does not show up one day and attempt to work or you will be regretting it.

3) I gave him money (and a piece of my cabinetry) up front
This is not a mistake. Any good contractor is going to require a downpayment for materials and initial labor costs. It usually goes 30% to start, 30% at project midpoint and the rest upon completion.

I think your biggest mistake was dealing with a contractor you were unable to communicate with. What are you going to do when he is working in your house and you need to discuss something with him?


He was to build the cabinets at his shop and then deliver/install them at my house. He did speak English a little, just not fluent.

So where is this shop?

You don't have his contact info, you don't know where his shop is, what kind of recourse do you want? Even a bunch of guys with crowbars can't help since you have no clue where to send them to rough him up!!

ratdaddy said:   qcumber98 said:   They didn't tell you the acquaintance got 10% of the easy money.

I know the acquaintance well enough to know that he wouldn't damage the relationship over 10%, or even 100% of what I paid the guy, which is about $500.

So damage your buddies reputation , get the bosses involved , make him get in touch with the guy

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   ratdaddy said:   BondGamer said:   If he didn't do any work then you can easily sue him for work not performed and breach of contract. Make sure he does not show up one day and attempt to work or you will be regretting it.

3) I gave him money (and a piece of my cabinetry) up front
This is not a mistake. Any good contractor is going to require a downpayment for materials and initial labor costs. It usually goes 30% to start, 30% at project midpoint and the rest upon completion.

I think your biggest mistake was dealing with a contractor you were unable to communicate with. What are you going to do when he is working in your house and you need to discuss something with him?


He was to build the cabinets at his shop and then deliver/install them at my house. He did speak English a little, just not fluent.

So where is this shop?

You don't have his contact info, you don't know where his shop is, what kind of recourse do you want? Even a bunch of guys with crowbars can't help since you have no clue where to send them to rough him up!!


I know, I know. Trust me I'm feeling really dumb right now. Just didn't get a bad feeling about it at that time although I know I should have.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   ratdaddy said:   qcumber98 said:   They didn't tell you the acquaintance got 10% of the easy money.

I know the acquaintance well enough to know that he wouldn't damage the relationship over 10%, or even 100% of what I paid the guy, which is about $500.

So damage your buddies reputation , get the bosses involved , make him get in touch with the guy


It doesn't have anything to do with either of our companies, and he and I are both independent contractors for our respective companies. Maybe I'm wrong, but I honestly don't think he did anything wrong other than not having the balls to call me back and tell me that his recommendation ran off with my money.

Does it matter that the guy has my cabinet? Is it theft if he doesn't return it? I did allow him to take it at his request, but he was to return it within the 2 weeks along with the new cabinets.

Only thing I can add, for others, is typically the initial deposit is for supplies/materials for the job. Anybody who orders materials and has those items delivered directly to the job location, or likely lists you and your address as the recipient, should require that the payment for those supplies be paid from the initial deposit - directly by you (the homeowner) to the supplier, as the supplier can also file a lien against your property, should the contractor fail to pay for those supplies, even after the job is complete. Of course proper contracts can do way with that concern, but...

No sense in talking about it when you dont even have a contract on a napkin, or in this case toilet paper might be more suitable. Im sure the memo section is blank as well.

you should get a DA award

ratdaddy said:   lol. I see my original account is logged in. Oh well. Yes, I am the retard that lost $500 to someone I shouldn't have...

Wow, you made a new account just to post this? You were afraid the "internets" was going to find out the great "ratdaddy" did a boo-boo? ...

Anyway, strange that your acquaintance doesn't get back to you (I mean how hard is it to say "sorry I can't find him"), but at least it wasn't such a big amount involved.

since the guy cashed the check, cant you get any information from your/his bank?

Ecuadorgr said:   ratdaddy said:   lol. I see my original account is logged in. Oh well. Yes, I am the retard that lost $500 to someone I shouldn't have...

Wow, you made a new account just to post this? You were afraid the "internets" was going to find out the great "ratdaddy" did a boo-boo? ...

Anyway, strange that your acquaintance doesn't get back to you (I mean how hard is it to say "sorry I can't find him"), but at least it wasn't such a big amount involved.


Yes, I know... lame (on both). I have a few friends/family who occasionally visit the board. Guess everyone might as well know what a tard I was. I would feel a little better about it if he would just call me and say that he can't reach the guy. Looking back, I would have been way more skeptical of the contractor if he hadn't been involved.

Lesson learned. Guess I'm just too trusting of people, but no more! Thanks for all the responses, even those who berated me (as expected). I guess I'll accept my DA award and move on...

Up to you, but using retard / tard as derogatory comments about yourself makes you look a lot worse than getting ripped off by a contractor and by not using a new ID to complain about it. Make you look more like a monolingual racist hick who doesn't know who to trust, and lacks the cajones (BALLS) to get justice.

Back on Topic.
I would repeated contact the well-known acquaintence and leave repeating voicemails, asking WHY he hasn't responded to you and WHY he won't help you resolve the issue with the contractor HE recommended (and NEGOTIATED with).

Furthermore, if the acquaintence was translating, he was acting as an agent (yours, the contractors, or both), and has culpability / liability in the situation.

If you want to be an A$$, leave him a voicemail saying you have no recourse but to sue him for the downpayment and the cost of the 1 cabinet.

IANAL, but know how to look for the loopholes, and can be an A$$!

and PS, NEXT TIME tell the contractor you are a blogger / frequent reviewer on Angie's, and require copies of DL and your own photos of anyone that works on your house... for your blog.

ratdaddy said:   He was to build the cabinets at his shop and then deliver/install them at my house. He did speak English a little, just not fluent.
Then you will be able to strike a deal to purchase any cabinets he already made. The trouble with suing contractors is when they have performed work inside your house. They will claim they can finish the job and they gave you a discount, blah blah. If he didn't do anything inside your house then none of that applies. If he made some cabinets tell the judge you will purchase them off him for the market rate depending on their quality and condition.

BondGamer said:   If he didn't do any work then you can easily sue him for work not performed and breach of contract. Make sure he does not show up one day and attempt to work or you will be regretting it.

3) I gave him money (and a piece of my cabinetry) up frontThis is not a mistake. Any good contractor is going to require a downpayment for materials and initial labor costs. It usually goes 30% to start, 30% at project midpoint and the rest upon completion.
Well, that's not necessarily true.

We just completed a decent-sized addition and never paid anyone a penny until the work was done. I did buy the major materials (framing/block/roofing) separately and paid suppliers/stores directly, but never paid for any labor until completion. Even the HVAC guys, who are a fairly large company in town, didn't ask for anything upfront, just a partial at rough-in inpection and final after completion.

jaimelobo said:   BondGamer said:   If he didn't do any work then you can easily sue him for work not performed and breach of contract. Make sure he does not show up one day and attempt to work or you will be regretting it.

3) I gave him money (and a piece of my cabinetry) up frontThis is not a mistake. Any good contractor is going to require a downpayment for materials and initial labor costs. It usually goes 30% to start, 30% at project midpoint and the rest upon completion.
Well, that's not necessarily true.

We just completed a decent-sized addition and never paid anyone a penny until the work was done. I did buy the major materials (framing/block/roofing) separately and were billed directly suppliers/stores, but never paid for any labor until completion. Even the HVAC guys, who are a fairly large company in town, didn't ask for anything upfront, just a partial at rough-in inpection and final after completion.


They know they could get a mechanics lien if they needed to but, most cheap contractors do not want to be bothered with that process.

OP seee if your bank can trace the location and account that received the check.

... Lesson learned, at least it was only $500. I'd move on and try not to feel to bad about it.
The reality is illegal aliens already operate outside the law, so you have zero recourse.

BondGamer said:   If he didn't do any work then you can easily sue him for work not performed and breach of contract. Make sure he does not show up one day and attempt to work or you will be regretting it. Yeah, because illegal aliens just walk their happy asses into court all the time.

Technologist said:   Up to you, but using retard / tard as derogatory comments about yourself makes you look a lot worse than getting ripped off by a contractor and by not using a new ID to complain about it. Make you look more like a monolingual racist hick who doesn't know who to trust, and lacks the cajones (BALLS) to get justice. LOL, I love how you talk about BALLS when you're the one complaining about language like a politically correct zombie schoolmarm. And in the same sentence deride rural caucasians who speak only one language... You, sir, are a retard.

mrkk said:   since the guy cashed the check, cant you get any information from your/his bank?These guys just cash the checks at the local liquor store.

if you are good runner, try to catch him

Is recourse the word of the day or something?

have you thought about turning the tables on the contractor?
what about setting up the contractor and catching him?
you could leave a voicemail for the acquaintance that you have another friend that also wants new cabinets as part of a kitchen remodel and that you wanted to refer the contractor since you have heard so much about the great work he has done. Tell him you will set up the appointment. you will have to have another friend involved to use their house. once you have a date/time setup, call the police and talk with a detective and ask if they can be there to help with obtaining your money back. play along with the trap until the contractor arrives. let them give your friend the estimate for new cabinets and discuss payment, etc... then you or your friend can casually ask about seeing the cabinets that are being build for you...need to see a sample of the work. at that point you can ask for a specific status and/or request a refund. the detective can demand to see id from the contractor and write up a report once they have heard enough and asked some questions. then you will then have enough info to determine how you want to follow up.

xit said:   have you thought about turning the tables on the contractor?
what about setting up the contractor and catching him?
Did you steal that idea from an episode of Bloodhound Gang?

xit said:   have you thought about turning the tables on the contractor?
what about setting up the contractor and catching him?
you could leave a voicemail for the acquaintance that you have another friend that also wants new cabinets as part of a kitchen remodel and that you wanted to refer the contractor since you have heard so much about the great work he has done. Tell him you will set up the appointment. you will have to have another friend involved to use their house. once you have a date/time setup, call the police and talk with a detective and ask if they can be there to help with obtaining your money back. play along with the trap until the contractor arrives. let them give your friend the estimate for new cabinets and discuss payment, etc... then you or your friend can casually ask about seeing the cabinets that are being build for you...need to see a sample of the work. at that point you can ask for a specific status and/or request a refund. the detective can demand to see id from the contractor and write up a report once they have heard enough and asked some questions. then you will then have enough info to determine how you want to follow up.



That plan would work great... as long as everyone involved was very, very stupid.


There's no need for a cop - if you can trick the contractor into showing his face again, just proceed with the "thugs with crowbars" plan listed above.

xit said:   have you thought about turning the tables on the contractor?
what about setting up the contractor and catching him?
you could leave a voicemail for the acquaintance that you have another friend that also wants new cabinets as part of a kitchen remodel and that you wanted to refer the contractor since you have heard so much about the great work he has done. Tell him you will set up the appointment. you will have to have another friend involved to use their house. once you have a date/time setup, call the police and talk with a detective and ask if they can be there to help with obtaining your money back. play along with the trap until the contractor arrives. let them give your friend the estimate for new cabinets and discuss payment, etc... then you or your friend can casually ask about seeing the cabinets that are being build for you...need to see a sample of the work. at that point you can ask for a specific status and/or request a refund. the detective can demand to see id from the contractor and write up a report once they have heard enough and asked some questions. then you will then have enough info to determine how you want to follow up.


How long did it take for you to think of this stupid idea. What dumb@ss would return a phone call about a possible lead if he hasn't already returned 15 other calls/voicemails asking where the contractor is? I think you watch too much TV.

What does your buddy have that is worth $500.

I think your friend is the culprit, he may have made some money from the deal. He not returning your calls is a TELL!!
DO NOT GET MAD and Do these things, they will get you in trouble.

1. Slashing the "so called" friend's Tire(s)
2. Breaking his window(s).
3. Making him lose his Iphone, IPOD, laptop, tablet etc etc.
4. Stuff disappearing from his Garage (if he owns a house). etc

AGAIN - DO NOT do those things

Skipping 2 Messages...
Have dealt with a similar situation for a friend....

1) Friend calls guy about needing work from another number
2) Give address of industrial building you have access to
3) He shows up to discuss work and your 4 heavy hitters with pipes/shotguns step out from behind boxes
4) He figures out really quickly that he should finish the work



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

TRUSTe online privacy certification

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2014