work not done after 5yr wait

UPDATED: May 9, 2009

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work not done after 5yr wait

I wanted my car restored so my friend and I drew up a contract stating that he would restore the car in his spare time. I gave him a $5000.00 deposit with another $10,000.00 due when he had restored the car. It has been 5 yrs and the only thing he has done is taken the car apart. Every time I ask him about it, he says he is working on it. The contract did not state when the car had to be finished. Do I have any recourse?

Asked on May 9, 2009 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

If contract doesn't say time, a reasonable amount of time will be implemented.  Why did you wait 5 years? Do you have proof he tells he is working on it? This is why you do not do business with a friend and you have a professional draw up a professional contract. 

You need to sue your friend unfortunately.  First send him a demand letter then pursue this matter in small claims.  See the following:

Since your claim is for $5,000.00 (you should also include interest over those 5 years), it doesn't exceed the maximum cap of $8,000.00 for this court.  See below:

Magisterial District Courts

Magisterial district judges preside over magisterial district judge courts in all counties but Philadelphia. They have authority to:

  • conduct non-jury trials concerning criminal summary matters not involving delinquent acts as defined in 42 Pa.C.S., § 6301 et seq
  • conduct non-jury trials concerning civil claims (unless the claim is against a Commonwealth party as defined in 42 Pa.C.S., § 8501) where the amount in controversy does not exceed $8,000, exclusive of interests and costs, in the following classes of actions:
    • landlord-tenant actions
    • assumpsit actions unless they involve a contract where the title to real estate may be in question
    • trespass actions
    • fines and penalties by any government agency
  • preside over preliminary arraignments and preliminary hearings
  • fix and accept bail, except in cases involving murder or voluntary manslaughter
  • issue arrest warrants
  • accept guilty pleas to the charge of Driving under the Influence (75 Pa.C.S.A., § 3731) so long as it is a first offense, no personal injury occurred to a third party other than the defendant’s immediate family, property damage to any third party is less than $500 and the defendant is not a juvenile
  • preside over non-jury trials involving all offenses under Title 34 (Game).

Magisterial district judges are not required to be lawyers, but if they are not, they must complete an educational course and pass a qualifying examination before they can take office. They must also complete one week of continuing education each year in a program administered by the Minor Judiciary Education Board ( ).

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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