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LEGAL CORNER: Can I get money back from a contractor who didn’t do the work?

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 12:15 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Legal Corner answers viewer’s questions regarding civil matters.

Email your questions to news@kplctv.com.

QUESTION: My contractor did not complete the work on my house, and the work he did was sloppy. Now he won’t return my phone calls, and I am going to have hire someone else to finish the job. Can I get my money back? I did not sign a contract with him or his company.

ANSWER: Maybe. Maybe not.

There are three rules (most have learned the hard way) when hiring a contractor to work on your house:

  • 1, Have a contract! Having an estimate is better than nothing - it is not a contract, it’s an ….. estimate! A contract will better spell out what each parties obligations are (how much money for how much work), the type of work to be done, when work is to begin when it is to be finished. And most importantly, how and where the parties agree to litigate disputes, and whether or not the winning party gets attorney’s fees.
  • 2, Hire a Louisiana company if at all possible. If you hire an out-of-state contractor, you have to be able to locate them to serve them; you also need to know what type of assets they have – hard to determine if they are in another state. And even if you win you lawsuit outright, you have to hire and additional lawyer to collect in the state.
  • 3, Never pay upfront. Always wait for the work to begin before making payments. If the Contractor needs materials before starting, have them delivered to your house and then pay upon arrival. If you must, go to the supplier and arrange for the supplier to deliver to your house before you pay. Otherwise, your payment may go to the contractor’s last job.

QUESTION: I was told that if I fish in fresh water, that I need a freshwater fishing license, but if I fish in saltwater, I need a fresh and saltwater license. Is that correct?

ANSWER: Sort of. In order for anyone 16 or older to fish, you need a Basic Fishing License. This includes when using a cast net, a frog gig, a trot line and, of course, a rod and reel. However, there is an area in Louisiana known as the “saltwater line”, dividing the fresh and salt areas. If you are fishing south of the line, you are also required to purchase a saltwater license in addition to the basic fishing license. Licenses go on sale from June 1, and expire on June 30 of the following year. For more info, the Wildlife and Fisheries website is: www.wlf.louisiana.gov

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