Unfortunately, we may meet a contractor who has the mentality of a fifth-grader. People of all ages may resort to bullying to get what they want and to get what they think they deserve. Therefore, a crooked contractor will bully a homeowner. They will ask for more money or warn that they will file a lien, threaten to sue, stop working or abandon the project for home improvement or repair immediately.
Advice to the Bullied
To those that want to stay out of conflict and not stoop to the level of the yelling and threatening nature of a bully: remain calm and reasonable. Don’t feel that you should let a contractor walk all over you. You have the right to say that you won’t be bullied.
Contractors with Money Problems
Often the contractor will ask for more money often. This may be a request for even more money in advance of the payment schedule spelled out in the contract. If they do this, it may mean that they must have cash flow problems. The service provider will often try to intimidate the homeowner into paying more than the payment schedule allows.
This can indicate a very big problem. The contractor may have a problem with gambling, drugs or other personal issues that prevent him from doing the workman-like work and completing the job. Hence, you may have the feeling and rightfully so, that the job will not be completed.
A mechanic’s lien placed on your home and property is when a contractor or a subcontractor is not paid leading them with no option but to file a lien on your property. This may force a homeowner to pay twice for services and materials.
Leads to Selling of your Home and Property
Mechanic’s liens could result in the selling of the home to pay for the services and materials that the service provider is due. But this usually happens when the general contractor did not pay the subcontractor. This lien may cause you to have to settle with the subcontractor in addition to the initial payment to the contractor to keep your home.
Put it in Writing
Respond back to bullying and harassment by email or in writing. Base your responses to the bullying contractor with the facts of the contract. Make rational arguments against anything that you consider unreasonable and document everything. If the contractor has a legitimate reason for a payment advance, be reasonable and consider it if there is proof that there is a need for the advancement. Keep this interchange by email if possible, for documentation purposes.
Advances in Payment
If the contractor expresses the need for an advance of payment to pay for supplies then get an invoice as proof for the necessary advance in the payment schedule. Do not pay out the remainder of the payment schedules regardless of the circumstances because in all likelihood with a bullying contractor the job will not be completed.
For example, you received a request for an advance of $4,000, but the contractor has not given you any indication of what this is for, such as bills that need paying or outstanding invoices.
Keep a running documentation of events and discussions of the project at all times, if possible. Even document the conversations of the bullying and your response, but just remember to keep your cool and remain professional at all times. You have alternates to accepting this bad behavior.
If you notice work that is not done to your satisfaction, then let the contractor know right away and try to resolve the issue. It is best to address issues when they first happen so that they can be remedied sooner rather than later or worse, never.
Confronting a Bully
Aside from the money issues bullying can happen when work is not done well. The homeowner might point this out or confronts a service provider that does not show up continuously to work. A bullying contractor will respond inappropriately by yelling or any other such behavior to distract you from the initial problem.
Communication is Important
Try to avoid conflict by making clear and concise expectations of work. Have a begin date with a completion date and for what amount of money. It is helpful to use a periodic payment schedule in a contract when the monies are due and after certain jobs are completed.
You have options when dealing with contractor bullies.
- Contact the police department if you feel threatened and feel genuine safety concerns.
- Check to see if the contractor is licensed and if so, file a complaint with the State licensing agency. This may be helpful in mediating a solution.
- If there is a breach of the contract you can fire the service provider.
If the bullying continues then reach out to an attorney who can handle this behavior.
Contact a Reputable Attorney
In conclusion, call Massey and Duffy if you feel like a contractor has bullied you. A free consultation will allow you to know what your rights are. Your options will be discussed in how to handle a bullying contractor or perhaps dealing with a mechanic’s lien. We can assist you with making sure a contractor does not bully you, does not take advantage of you and does what he promises to do.