Batavia, NY asked in Contracts and Business Law for New York

Q: Do I have to pay someone for work done after I told him I was out of money and he had to stop work.

One of the conditions I stipulated when I hired him was that when I ran out of money, he had to stop work. Also, I wanted to use my Home Depot credit card for materials. He agreed. So when I ran out of funds, I asked him to stop work, but he continued working. He texted me that I owed him $650. Then later, he said it was $900, and now he is saying I owe him $1300! I asked him for receipts and proof of work, but he says he didn’t keep receipts and can’t provide anything, but that he had used materials that he already had. And the contract I insisted on has no $ figures on it. It just states what work I requested.

Do I owe him? And what should I say to him? He keeps texting me asking for money. I told him I don’t have any more. It’s why I made the condition that he had to stop work when he ran through the budget I had. I haven’t been answering his texts because I don’t know what to say to him. I am worried that I will say something and he will try to turn it around on me.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Little Neck, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The attorneys here who deal with commercial and business litigation would have the best insight here, but your question remains open for a week. Unfortunately, this has the makings of a difficult situation that could wind up in small claims. From the brief post, it looks like there might be conflicting versions of what was agreed to. It also looks like the underlying contract may not have been drafted on a level of detail that addresses the disagreements that have arisen here.

One option could include consulting with attorneys to sort things out, which could compound the expenses of the mess. Another option is to try to negotiate an amicable compromise that both sides could agree on. An attorney consult could offer more definitive guidance than this brief general response. Good luck

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