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He ran off with our addition money!!

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We signed a contract a friend that did construction to build an addition on our house. We gave him 7600.00 cash (I have receipt) for building materials. He used 3612.60 for materials then showed up in a new car. He will not give us the 3987.40 that was not used for materials back and will not finish the job. Contract states job would be done in 45 days. On day 70 he refused to finish job. What kind of legal rights do we have? Small claims can only be for 2500.00 and a laywer won't touch such a small case. We can't just let him walk away with our savings for our addition and need the money to complete the job. What can we legally do?



I'm sorry. I thought I had included it. The state is Washington. Thanks


Senior Member
As I see it, based solely on your message, you have three options:

1) Settle for $2500 and sue in Small Claims court. If you decide to go this route, you will need to read the information at: http://www.courts.wa.gov/brochure/scc/
and at: http://www.nwjustice.org/docs/9940.html
2) Hire an attorney and sue for the full amount. The attorney can advise whether your specific situation allows for recovery of legal fees and expenses.
3) Get a copy of "Small Claims Court Guide for Washington: How to Win Your Case!" and sue him Pro Se (on your own) in Superior Court. This is not something that I would recommend for everyone, but it seems a strong possibility that the Defendant will have NO defense in this case.

Also, I would suggest that you consider filing fraud charges against him. At the least, the threat of fraud could be sufficient to get him to come to the table.

In any case, you should send the contractor a demand letter by certified RRR mail. Detail your complaint and what you want him to do. Include a deadline for compliance (say 10 days from receipt).

And another issue.... Was this guy a licensed contractor??
If not, you may have a large problem in trying to enforce any agreement since some states (I don't know about WA) require that the contractor be licensed before the agreement is validated. Take a look at:

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