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Can A Subcontractor be removed from the job he is doing and replaced with another contractor?and what his legal right ?

CaliforniaRecovery Options

I am flooring and tiling (c-15 &c-54)contractor ,i was giving a job to install all the flooring in new construction home with (LVP),and install 12"X12" ceramic tile in 3 bathrooms floors and to install back splash in the kitchen with white tile and gray grout (it is the thin white 4'x4" tile with white backing that has self spacing ,that you see in bathroom shower walls. At almost the whole job is finishing,the customer did not like the grout lines of the back splash,i informed the store and the customer that this type need white grout for best result because the imperfection of the tile and the spacing of it.i also was telling the store to see if they can talk with customer about the color of the grout before applying the grout, i told the customer to just be patient tell i am done with the job and we can go over the whole thing ,and to make her happy ,i gave her blue tap and told her to mark any thing that she is concern about and i will make sure it will be taking care of,no worries,..she was happy. the second day i informed the customer that i can not make it tell 3 pm ,but i will work tell about 8 or 9 pm to make up the difference (the house was not accupaid yet.),it was the first time i had to be late,and we where on schedule no delay. before 3 pm i received a message from the store telling me ,"do not go to the job,because we had to remove you and get someone else to finish,because,customer complained of the backsplash grout lines,and we could not get hold of you,so,we had to make a decision. i wrote back to the store telling them ,I was in contact with the customer,and i only see 2 miss calls their was no voice mail or text,that you want to get hold of me ,just 2 miss calles and they should of told the customer that I had not finished the job yet, lets meet for an inspection tomorrow morning and go over every thing,and I will make sure that your customer is happy. They wrote back to me that...." do not worry we will take care of you.no need for inspection." i wrote back telling them ,that if you need to solve this problem ,please do it by the "Book",and explained to them that I should be in the inspection and any thing not right and need to be corrected ,that i should have giving the first opportunity to correct it or replace it,specially i had no problem or argument with the customer,we had good relation and mutual respect.we also where on schedule. They ignored my request,and hired another contractor,and decided to replace the backsplash, and they finished what i did not completed which was the grouting for 2 bathrooms and install the 3 toilets and they used the wax rings i bought . Then after they finished ,they told me that after calculating what we owe you for the job (minus) what we owe the other contractor the balance due to me is = $1400. out of ($2600. ,that's my total job invoice to the store. I asked them to itemized the charges they did not respond. Then ,I requested to see a picture of the back splash,they sent one picture and the amazing thing I saw that they had replaced it with white grout,(so exactly,that was the problem they created,and what mad the customer complain about the grout line not being uninformed,even though I have not finished the job yet. i could of worked on the grout to make it uniformed after i finish with what i am doing at that time,which finishing tilling in the bathrooms. this issue could of been corrected easily, because,this type of unsanded grout is very soft and very easy to clean the access of it,and make it uniformed,but i never was giving a chance to say anything or to explain how the grout can be corrected and uniformed ,it may take 3 hrs to 5 hr . I am also the type of person ,if i see that replacing the back splash would solve a problem and make the customer and the store happy,i would of suggested the backsplash to be replaced,and minimized my cost by doing it myself,but i never had the chance to meet and have the 3 party involved,(me,customer and the store) and to make sure it is documented with whatever decision we agree on. and charged me back . i have been in this business 22 years,it was my first job to do for this store,but i was highly recommended from other store,and they had received compliments a bout how i am doing in the job. my invoice for the whole job was $2600.00,they sent me a check of $1400. I am already late to file anything for lien. If you think i was treated unfairly: what is the legal right for removing a subcontractor from job and replacing him with another contractor and not giving a chance to meet for inspection ? And what are my options if any ? thank you

1 reply

Aug 3, 2018
I'm really sorry to hear about that - it sounds like you went above and beyond to try and have the job done the right way. First, whether or not the above situation is allowable may very well depend on your contract for the job or agreement with the store to provide services. Often, such an agreement will provide a process to be followed if and when a party is replaced on the job. Next, pushing for an itemized list of charges makes sense - and it only seems right that back charges be itemized. Again, depending on the agreement executed, this may be required. Regardless, though, itemizing back charges is just good business practice. If you believe these charges were made in error or were excessive, there may be a few available options to recover payment. If the deadline to file a lien was truly missed as you mentioned above (and you can look at lien requirements at our California Lien and Notice FAQ to be sure), sending a Notice of Intent to Lien might still be effective. A Notice of Intent to Lien may be sent regardless of whether the right to lien has been preserved according to the California Civil Code. It's more or less a warning document - it states that if payment isn't made, a lien will be filed. Plus, if the property owner or other non-paying party ignores a Notice of Intent to Lien, a claimant can still pursue other methods of recovery. If a lien is truly no longer viable option for recovery, a claimant might attempt to pursue payment by sending demand letters for unpaid amounts - and sending demands via an attorney can often provide a little extra "umph". Letters that threaten specific legal action unless payments are made tend to be pretty effective. If that's not enough to compel payment, taking a payment claim to small claims court might also be another option. Small claims court is much cheaper than litigation and will take far less time to reach a result - but it can also be risky and unpredictable. Finally, a claimant may also attempt to recover payment through traditional litigation, but that can be very costly and very time consuming, and for small sums, litigation might not make much sense.
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