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Time to make the Donuts...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In short a builder whom I did work for is trying to short me $4000 for architectural services we provided. Here are some of the specifics;

New builder here in town but I have a 9yr relationship with the Architectural Manager of the company.

There was no written agreement for the work we did. We did have a verbal agreement but it was taken out of context and the president of the company is trying to use that as leverage to cheat me out of money owed.

The president is not new to the industry and worked for a big builder here for 8yrs (+-) before starting the smaller company he is now building up.

Do I have a legal leg to stand on or can I try to work out the difference in small claims court?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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aka: KSims1868
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I'm not a lawyer, but without anything in writing it will be a "he said...she said" case.
You could try it in small claims court, but any lawyer able to fight this case will likely cost more than the $4,000 in payment you are looking to recover.
 

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Time to make the Donuts...
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not a lawyer, but without anything in writing it will be a "he said...she said" case.
You could try it in small claims court, but any lawyer able to fight this case will likely cost more than the $4,000 in payment you are looking to recover.
That's what I need to hear. If I take it to small claims court can I at least get a judgment on the company as a black eye for the future or will it mean nothing?
 

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There was no written agreement for the work we did. We did have a verbal agreement but it was taken out of context and the president of the company is trying to use that as leverage to cheat me out of money owed.
silly boy, you should know better. legally, you don't have a chance in hell.

as the old saying goes, a verbal agreement ain't worth the paper it's written on.
 

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Time to make the Donuts...
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
silly boy, you should know better. legally, you don't have a chance in hell.

as the old saying goes, a verbal agreement ain't worth the paper it's written on.
Yep...I should have known better. Trust no-one.

Hard to imagine trusting someone whom you've done business with for 9yrs could bite you in the arse...
 

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Maker of laser engraved switch panels
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You do have a leg to stand on. At least in Texas, a contact need not be written to be enforceable. There are many legal theories that apply to your situation. You may wish to do some on-line research or consult an attorney for guidance. Many attorneys will for a reasonable fee give you information that will help you win. Many businesses thrive by short paying subs, don't let them get away with it.

I doubt the DA will get involved (even though I believe he should), this is considered a civil matter. Protect yourself. Submit the bill, follow it up with a 30 day demand for payment sent certified return receipt. Also note that if you are not paid in full within 30 days, you will take legal action to collect any amount due.

If you accept payments, you may lessen your options for collections. If you did the work, and can substantiate your charges, don't let them screw you. Do not cash a check that states paid in full.

When you go to court, bring documentation, witnesses and any supporting documents, notes, change orders, previous invoices, etc.

Small claims may be your best option. Get a judgment, and you might get paid. If you win and get the judgment, ask that it be filed on the record. This will usually get you paid sooner or later. If you don't get paid, ask that the judge issue an enforcement order.

If you do file, you will lose a "customer", but remember it is only business if you get paid, otherwise it is charity.

If your in the right, don't be shy about standing up for your rights.
 

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Native Texan
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I agree with On the Hook, if you haven't already, submit invoices that reflect the full amount owed. Be sure and date the invoice and put a due date on it. List the services that you provided on the invoice as well as "as per verbal agreement with Mr X on x date and x time". No invoice/demand for payment, no payment. You can accept payments toward the amount owed, just don't sign a final release of lien until final/full payment has been made. While you are waiting on payment/non payment, gather up all emails, notes, etc. as mentioned above that will support your case toward a verbal contract being established.

For future reference......Don't do work without a signed and delivered contract!!!! Not that you need to hear that again, but even so called friends/past work acquaintances will cut your throat
 

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Maker of laser engraved switch panels
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I almost forgot, be sure to file a lien if you still can.

When you send your demand, send a second copy, certified to the client. If you do file, also file against the client. That will give you more leverage, and the client will put pressure on the middle man to pay up.

In your case, the client received the benefit of your services without paying for them in full, and may or may not be aware of the situation. They may also have paid the middle man based on your full invoice. Make them aware of what is happening and hold them equally accountable for the amount owed. After all, you did the work for them.
 

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This is not that complicated. You did work for what I believe is a home or building he is trying to sell...send a bill, and a certified letter. File a lien on the property that you did work on.

No title company in the world will write a title insurance policy till the lien is removed. Do not remove the lien until he pays you. Let him sue YOU - it looks better being the Defendant if you have to make it to a jury.

Most likely the $4000 is not that significant, and not worth the headache of suing you to remove the lien. He will either pay it, or sue. Either way you have nothing to lose.

Slander of title is his case to get money from you, but if you can prove work done and not paid for its, not slander, and your good to go.

Thats my quick answer - hope it helps!
 

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Maker of laser engraved switch panels
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You may be able to prevent their use of your drawings. In your suit, ask the judge for injunctive relief. If they use your drawings without your permission/payment, you may have rise to a larger claim. Visit with an atty, try the small claims and see how it works out.
 

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File liens on all the properties if your work is/will be used on them. That will really ruffle their feathers and make them want to make it go away.
 

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Check it out with that law professor on channel 11 or 13 "The Peoples Lawyer". They have a website and he answers all replies. If you produced drawings for any work and they use the drwings with non payment then they are guilty of theft of services which for $ 4000 would be a felony and not in civil court. The lien on all proprerties will gum the works and the owner will be unable to sell and should force the contractor to settle.

Good luck, jdot
 
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