|Provider:||Small Claims Court - for contract dispute (Edit Me)|
|Details:||Just something I would like to share with the forum. We shared a very bad experience with hiring a plumber to install our A/C unit earlier this year. When the plumber came to fix our plumbing and pipes, our A/C was broken at that time as well. He did an OK job with plumbing. He told me that he also does A/C installation work and he has 10 years of warranty for A/C unit and labor. If we fix the pipe/plumbing and install the new A/C unit together, he would give us a good price. Yes, it sounded good and familiar :-). We then hired him to install our new A/C unit, but it didn't work when it was turned on the first time. I contacted him many times, but he never showed up to repair it. We gave up calling him and then hired a licensed A/C technician to fix it and asked the plumber pay the $450 repair fee. However, he refused to pay the repair fee. I took him to Fairfax Small Claims Court yesterday and I won the case. A couple of lessons learned for myself:
1) Don't hire a person without licenses. We often trusted what other people say. The plumber has licenses for plumbing and pipe fitting licenses, but not for A/C. I just recently found the following website to check contractors'/professionals' licenses.
If I knew and checked the website before, I would definitely not hire the guy. The website shows what kinds of licenses people have and even their violation histories. The website shows the plumber we hired just had another violation case closed on Oct 24, 2012. It seems that he has a history of taking advantage of customers.
2) If we have a dispute for contracting, rental, car accident... with small amount of money, we don't need to hire a lawyer and we can file a case in small claim court ourselves with small amount of fee. In Fairfax, it is $58. If we win, defendants will pay the fee. The maximum amount of money for small claim court is different depending on local laws. For instance, the maximum is <=$5,000.00 in VA. At the beginning, I felt that the court procedures might be too complex and lots of time needed to be spent. I am lucky to have a lawyer neighbor. We are good friends and he pointed me to the direction. After I went through myself, it was much easier than I expected. I feel that it is worth fighting for principals. Otherwise, some guys will take customers' advantage again and again. If we file a small claims court case, the book below is highly recommended:
Everybody's Guide to Small Claims Court (by Ralph Warner, published by Nolo Law for All http://www.nolo.com).
(Fairfax Public Libraries have many copies)
Below are a couple of links related to Fairfax and VA small claim court procedures:
http://www.courts.state.va.us/re ... ourt_procedures.pdf
By the way, some parents asked me about the plumbing company we used before. It is called: Carroll & Sons Plumbing. Thanks for reading the long email.
Posted by: ADM
2013-02-02 16:39:52 MST
| That's excellent info, thanks George.
Just want to add to that you can also recover your lost (up to $20,000 per contract) from VA state Transaction Recovery Fund from incomplete and unsatisfactory work of LICENSED contractor. This fund is created to protect consumer from bad contractor. In Maryland it's called Guarantee Fund. But the contractor you hired must be licensed. If your claim is approved the his/her license is revoked.
Link to check for contractor's license: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/LicenseLookup/
Link to look for company's registration with the state:
We all need to be aware of the bad guys out there and be prepared to protect ourself!
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