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Old 10-20-2006, 06:02 PM   #1
Ol' Grog
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Default Need advice.....

We had a contractor come over and give us a estimate for a kitchen and bathroom remodeling job. Well, I paid him half, 3000 freaking dollars, and he jumped ship. Found out last night he did the same thing to another couple in Chickasha last month. He packed up and left the state. Can't find him, telephones been disconnected and no records anywhere. He was recently served divorced papers. The couple behind me where he was doing the work, well their son is a sales manager at a tile store in OKC, he owes him 8000 dollars. He'd worked for their son as a contractor for two years and has done good work. The son said that he was their best contractor and everybody liked his work. That was one of the reasons I went with him. Plus, he was a Department of Defense contractor, I even saw the vehicle sticker on his truck when he was at the house. In fact, when he returned the tile samples to that tile store, their son asked him about our job. He told them, with OUR check in his wallet, that we said we'd get back to him on the project. He is now, we think, in Alabama.
I feel like someone just screwed me in the arshe. Geesh, with 3K gone, we can't afford to get anything done for a long while. It's like there is no way we can put about 2K into my daughters college fund this year like we normally do. You know, I did everything I was suppose to in order for this not to happen. Checked him out, got a good reputation, had worked in this field for over two years, had really good references and exclusively bought tile from our neighbors son in OKC. I even ran his name through the Better Business Bureau while he was there and didn't get any complaints. Ran his name through the Oklahoma Supreme Court Network, which tracks just about EVERY judgment order and it's online, and no hits or anything. What the else could we have freakin' done? Who can you trust these days? I feel absolutely sick to death. I'm worried about my girls college money and the nice tax advantage we get on that to offset these state taxes.
My wife is absolutely vivid, as you can imagine. Those two went through all the tile samples and even talked about his kids, past jobs, his past contracts, etc. etc. There was absolutely no way in hell you could have thought that this would have happened.
Gotta go, think I need to throw up...............

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Old 10-20-2006, 06:20 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear about your problem. Pay $50 online to get his background check which will include his SS#. Track him through his SS#. You can get a judgement filed against him so whenever he tries to finance something that will show up and he will have to pay off the judgement first. Do everything you can to ruin his credit and his future since you probably will never see him again. Also, you may want to look into hiring a PI to track him down. I would talk to a lawyer or better yet, talk to the wife and wife's divorce attorney. Good luck.

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Old 10-20-2006, 06:44 PM   #3
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First off - sorry about the dilema. Unfortunately, it happens more often that it should.

It sounds like you did your homework on the guy, but there are definitely ways of doing exactly what he did. I think that it is going to be hard for you to track the guy down, and even harder to re-coup the stolen money. Even if you knew where he was, you'd have an uphill batle to get him in court.

Off the bat, the best thing to do is to document EVERYTHING. Take photos of any work done/started ASAP. Take a video if possible. Make sure you keep all bills, reciepts, etc. Get copies of any checks you paid to him that cleared. Did you have a contract or was this a handshake-type deal? If it was under-the-table type thing, the uphill climb gets steeper.

What I would say, though, to anyone who might go down this road of hiring an independent contractor to do any work on their house, is to one of two things. Both of these things are going to make the overall process more costly, but they will give you layers of protection from scumbag contractors.

First off, hire either an Architect or Project/Construction Manager. If you bring in either of these, you delegate the responsibility of 'getting' a contractor to them. You deal directly (and only) with the Architect or your Manager. They will document the existing conditions of your house, and clearly present (i.e. draw) the work to be done. You will have a clearly thought out plan of what needs to be done - so ultimately a contractor know EXACTLY what he/she is supposed to do and exactly what not to do. This will result in less unexpected surprises and more accountability with a contractor spending YOUR money. Once you and the Architect/Manager have plans - no matter how schematic or advanced - the Architect can bid the job out to multiple contractors. Competition is good - plus the Architect is usually more in touch with local contractors than you are. They know who has been around, they know who has no local history (these are the cut-and-jump guys you REALLY want to look out for). The Architect would be the individual who oversees the contractor's work, punctionality, and approve payments. You are paying for the architect to worry about all these things, select a contractor with a good reputation, and make sure the contractor sticks to a schedule and finished the work. You have much less to worry about.

The second, and more simple thing, is to get existing plans drawn up for your house. If you have these, it is easy to get architects to do quick work, easier for a contractor to know what they are getting into, and also they double as a solid way to establish what a contractor did/didn't do in the event you get screwed.

This stuff costs money, but contractors like the one who f*cked you over are good at what they do - not craftsmanship, but stealing. No matter how handy and/or smart you are, getting another professional involved will always be a good idea to cover you ass.

I hope something works out for you - and I hope the a-hole is caught. I bet there are other out there who have had this experience with this guy.....

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Old 10-20-2006, 07:08 PM   #4
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Thinking about putting an ad out in the daily Oklahoman to find out who else got screwed and to _uck with him. Shouldn't be any legal liabilities with that I wonder???

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Old 10-20-2006, 07:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Grog
Thinking about putting an ad out in the daily Oklahoman to find out who else got screwed and to _uck with him. Shouldn't be any legal liabilities with that I wonder???
Maybe Libel but I doubt he would ever show up in court, then he'd have to explain why he took your money.
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Old 10-20-2006, 07:18 PM   #6
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He might claim slander but then, well, you'd be able to locate him at least...

Do we need to form a HBT beat-down committee? Anybody up for joining a posse?

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Old 10-20-2006, 07:25 PM   #7
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I've got some retired syphon tubing we can tie him up with.....and two old cornies that had spooky stuff growing in them that we can weight him down with - after filling with concrete of course.

There are a few swamps that come to mind.....

(i'm feeling particularly Sicilian at the moment.....)

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Old 10-20-2006, 07:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
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He might claim slander but then, well, you'd be able to locate him at least...

Do we need to form a HBT beat-down committee? Anybody up for joining a posse?
slander is verbal, libel is written. either one, he's not going show his face in court.
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Old 10-20-2006, 08:26 PM   #9
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He might claim slander but then, well, you'd be able to locate him at least...

Do we need to form a HBT beat-down committee? Anybody up for joining a posse?
Count me in
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Old 10-21-2006, 02:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by todd_k
slander is verbal, libel is written. either one, he's not going show his face in court.
Basically, except that when it's on TV it's still slander. Because it's recorded or something like that. Slander is more of an in person type of thing.
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