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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was contracted by a GC to remove and replace several LED exit lights. They had to be special ordered specifically for the store that needed them. We installed them as promised, but now the GC doesn't want to pay up. We have many emails saying that the work was approved and how the money will be sent shortly.

Apparently, this work that we did was some work another EC did. The other EC did not install the correct signs, so we did the job. This was not the first job with this GC, so we thought we were gonna get paid.

Should I contact the customer (they are a mall store chain)? Or should I go out and remove all my signs? This GC owes me around $12k for this work.
 

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Electrical Contractor
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If your laws are the same as up here, you can't remove the lights once they are installed.
You probably will be paid, but since there is a dispute about the previously done work, you are probably in for a wait.
If you have a good relationship with the GC, approach him and ask exactly what's happening.
Worst case, you file a lien and still have to wait, but at least you have covered yourself
 
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if you remove the signs, you will never get paid.

it's hard to say what will get you paid. Showing up in person at the GC's office when you know all pertinent parties will be there and talking turkey with the turkeys might be your best bet. have all your ammo ready just in case (the file, the filled out lien papers, etc.) This fits with the general scenario that, more than likely, the customer isn't paying the GC anymore money, as it sounds like there were some screw ups and disagreements and sub problems, so the customer probably will be unsympathetic as well. hope you get paid, bro.

fwiw, when you are going into this scenario, regardless of the general nature of your work with the GC, you might consider getting 50% up front or when you hit the job for materials, or even tell the GC they need to supply the material, so you only are out 50%. Going in behind another EC is a big red flag, regardless of the work you've done for the GC.

 

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12k, huh? Geez man, that sucks. My guess would be to file a lein. Ive never done it, but ive heard from others that I helps get your money back.

I dont really get involved in larger jobs of this size, mainly because I will request some sort of down payment or partial payment, or something before I start any work. It would be very hard for me to do anything over a few grand of work without some sort of partial draw.

I hope you get your money back quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Don't take the signs down or you could get in hot water. Now have you spoken directly with the contractor?
Can't pay, wont pay ,slow pay. You need to find out which one of these applies as it will determine your next move.
won't pay. it is my understanding that they are trying to bill the original EC and they won't pay me until they get paid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How long has it been since you invoiced him (billed him) for the job?

What were the terms? On completion? 30 days?

Is there a written contract?
there were a few other things we did besides the signs. we installed a light display box. we fixed a couple of plugs that weren't working. the signs had to be ordered, so about 4 weeks later, we finished all work. i invoiced him after the work was complete in July of last year.
 

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carryyourbooks said:
won't pay. it is my understanding that they are trying to bill the original EC and they won't pay me until they get paid.
Then they shouldn't have ordered the work. Better lay a lien on them. My wife's uncle put a lien on every job(not electrical) then, if they payed the lien was allowed to expire or he signed a lien release.
 

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Arsholeprentice
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Contact the local news, you know the consumer on your side jerks, tell him about how the GC is screwing you and others over, his name will be plastered all over the news in a nice negative way.

Maybe take out an add in the local Sunday paper promoting the fact that they don't pay, do shoddy work, etc.....

That would actually be funny to see that done to one of these jerks, wonder if it would actually work.:no:
 

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Just go to the court house and fill out the paperwork. Small filing fee.
I don't know how it works where you are but in ca you don't file a lien, you record it with the county clerk. You can perfect the lien by filing a lawsuit to foreclose on the property. In Ca you are not to record a lien without a 20 day intent notice. Any material or labor supplied prior to 20 days prior to the 20 day intent notice is not subject to the lien.

Regardless if you recorded a lien or a 20 day, you can always sue so long as you are licensed to do the work. Alien is just a much easier way to get your money.
 

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Generally you get 1 year to file a law suit. In CA you can get $10k in small claims, I would just sue for that and kiss the $2k buh-bye!
I don't know anything about California law concerning the 1 year deadline for filing a law suit, however, I definitely agree with taking this to small claims in his case. I agree, he'd probably lose more then the 2k in legal fees going after the 12k in another court with a lawyer.

I know one thing for sure, with most judges, you need to have enough supporting documentation proving you did the work as agreed (either in writing or verbally), including all completed inspections.

If the agreement was verbal it is very important to bring a witness if there was one.

If there is no contract, walking in with nothing in writing is very risky. Best to have something in writing even if it's just a timeline of events, dates and who said what and when.

The less the judge has in concrete evidence or some kind of documentation, the more the case relies on who he believes more, you or the GC. Oh, and be ready for the GC to come up with some BS reason that he didn't pay you like one of the fixtures is cockeyed or some nonsense like that. The court may require you to remedy that before he has to pay you. Don't argue it, just agree to do it and get your money.

If it's like NY you'll be asked to first meet with an arbitrator and try to work it out first. If the GC is smart (aka a di*k) he'll probably want you to take a deal that has you walking out with half your money. You'll have to decide if its worth just taking the deal, licking your wounds and moving on or going to "trial".

Keep to the facts, be respectful to both the judge and GC. It'll go a long way in your favor.

It is what it is. In any case, I sincerely wish you good luck!
 
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