Canadian Contractor


Client complains about his “unregistered” cash-deal contractor who did substandard, unfinished work

You're kidding, Mr. Client? What could possibly have gone wrong?

We entered into an oral contract to renovate our house. Interior changes to the main floor would cost $14,000; the basement (from unfinished to finished) would cost $20,000. We found an unregistered person based on a friend’s recommendation. The condition was that they would start the work on the main floor first and then, if we liked, they could continue with the basement. There was no written agreement but only a mutual friend who is my colleague and also his accountant.

The initial period to complete the main floor was estimated at 10-15 days. Not only he did not finish the work in 5-1/2 months (during which we missed our festivals and also my wife had to live at that construction site at the time while she was going to her cancer treatment) but also the work done was not satisfactory. Yet I paid the contractor in full for the main floor, as agreed, in cash. I was not able to deal with the headache of dealing with him every day, and I thought I would take it as a lesson.

After learning the lesson in a hard way, I refused the contractor for my basement renovation. I told him that I would rather pay more money to someone else but I won’t give the basement to him.

And now he is threatening me to sue me if I don’t get the basement renovation done through him. His pretext is that he gave me every reasonable quote (compared to the market) for the main floor (this is not the case, the quote was at par with the market) in expectation that I would do the basement renovation through him where he could earn some money.

He has given me the below options:
1. Give him more money to cover the fictitious loss he took on the main floor…
2. OR he will sue me for breach of contract.
3. Or I can get the basement renovation done through him

Now, after the unfinished and unsatisfactory work, I don’t want to give him my basement renovation work. And neither am I going to pay him extra penny for such work and harassment. And in this regards I need your advice in case if he sue me.

Jigar Thakkar

Editor’s Note:  The key to this post is, of course: “We found an unregistered person (contractor) based on a friend’s recommendation.” The rest is sadly predictable. Sorry to hear about your troubles, Mr. Thakkar, and we especially hope your wife’s health is on the upswing. Our view is that your cash-deal contractor is likely bluffing when he claims that he will take you to court. He’s a cash deal guy, not paying his taxes – and there is no contract, and he didn’t finish the job anyway. He’s a lawbreaker seeking justice from the courts. Good luck with that. As for your end of it, hire a legit contractor for the basement. See if Mr. Legit can give you a good price to finish the work upstairs. It will cost you a fair bit more but you won’t have any more nonsense or stress or anger to deal with. That’s a good deal, right? Comments welcome below.


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1 Comment » for Client complains about his “unregistered” cash-deal contractor who did substandard, unfinished work
  1. Murray Bell says:

    I have persoanally had to take over 3 basement renovations that were done by inept contractors, none of which had any permits at all. In 2of the 3 cases we were able to complete them, and got them to 90% of the quality we would have done. The 3rd was gutted to the bare concrete. in most cases a year had gone by, no other contractor would touch them. I found fixing the problem, and getting the final, heartfelt ‘thank you’ was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had as a contractor. Very nice, trusting ‘Canadian’ families…

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