How to penalize a landscape contractor who already received all cash for the job but did not complete the job?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How to penalize a landscape contractor who already received all cash for the job but did not complete the job?

I’m in Portland, Oregon.

I hired a landscape guy from Craigslist to re-do my backyard lawn. I wasn’t
home on the day of the job and my brother gave him all the cash even though
some jobs that we agreed upon weren’t finished. I called him afterwards and he
said he would come back and finish them. We even set up a date but he did not
show up. Now, he’s not answering my phone or responding to my texts. It was
only a 1100 job but I don’t want him to get away with this because he will
potentially do it to other people in the future and it’ll encourage his bad
habits however I don’t want to spend too much resources chasing this down as

I see Oregon has this consumer complaint website
We also have small claims court and I think it costs 60 to file a complaint.

What’s my best course of action to take here? I want it to be effective but not
too much draining on finance and my time.

Thanks for your help.

Asked on March 12, 2018 under Business Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your best course is to file a small claims case as your attorney or "pro se" against him for the $1,100 for "breach of contract," or his failure to do everything he agreed to. Since he did some of the work, the court will likely let him keep some of the money (a fair or equitable percentage, given the amount of work he did).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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