What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Pennsylvania
Over a year ago I had hired an Architect to design an addition to our house. We had used a Standard Form of Agreement between Owner and Architect for a Small Project (AIA Document B155) which had the Project broken into three phases (Preliminary Design, Final Design, and Construction Consultation) and required payment of an upfront retainer in the amount of $2,500. Upon completion of the Preliminary Design Services the construction cost estimate exceeded our budget and decided to not proceed with the project and terminate the architect’s services. All work completed by the architect had been in scope with his proposal for preliminary design phase services.
Upon receipt of his final invoice the total cost exceeded preliminary design. When I questioned why, he said that he exceeded his budget for preliminary design and had to use some of the final design budget to complete the preliminary design work. I never authorized this and even at the start of the project told him that I did not want to precede into the final design tasks until receipt of the preliminary design construction cost estimate.
Upon cancelling of the project, I did provided final payment for his services rendered (completion of the preliminary design) and began to discuss reimbursement of the Retainer. The Architect wanted to subtract out of the Retainer his outstanding balance for the amount he exceeded the preliminary design phase services. After a conference call between the Architect, me and my wife, the architect agreed to pay the retainer amount in full but would do so in payments (saying he did not have the money). I was skeptical but agreed and did receive the first payment of $500 a few weeks later. Now it has been over a year and we had not received any additional payments. Despite having tried to contact him with no reply.
I am not sure how best to proceed with collection of this money, File a complaint with the State Licensing board, Better Business bureau, or small claims court. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you.What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)?