Should I pay my contractor money that he is demanding for work that was allegedly done but that he can’t itemize?

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Should I pay my contractor money that he is demanding for work that was allegedly done but that he can’t itemize?

My contractor did some extra work – installed 2 kitchen cabinets, 2 doors, replaced ceiling in the basement (200 sq.ft), a few other small things. All that did not take him more than 20 hours. He is charging me for 68. I already paid about $1100 and he is expecting another $1500. I refused so he threatened me with contractor’s lien. I asked him to show work that is worth that money and he said that he did lot of small stuff but I only asked him  to replace mail box. And the hours on the time sheet he wrote did not match with some of the hours on his invoice. I pointed that out to him and he just laughed. What do I do?

Asked on October 10, 2010 under General Practice, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You may have to either sue him, or defend yourself from legal action he takes. Legally, you only need to pay for work actually done, at the agreed upon rate. However, it seems as if there you and the contractor are disputing the amount of work done, not the basic obligation to pay. If that is the case and you cannot worth anything out, then if he pushes the matter, either he will sue you for the money he feels you owe (and you can defend yourself in court) or he may take steps to impose a lien and you will have to take steps to overturn it. If you and he can't work matters out, it will likely end up in litigation (with all the costs that entails) and turn on how has better evidence. To avoid a lawsuit, if possible, it would be in the interes of both of you to work out something that is mutually acceptable. Good luck.


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