failure to pay for work

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Question

Country: United States of America
State: Minnesota

I did some contract landscape work for a client who will not pay me the final invoice on the work that I did, which consisted of creating and planting several flower beds around a newly constructed home, in which they don't live are trying to sell. When there was misunderstanding about the final cost of the whole project, and miscommunication between husband and wife, the final decision was they would pay me the difference owed after they sold the house. Weeks have gone by, and when I began calling them to find out what was going on and they weren't returning my calls, I emailed and said I wanted payment. They returned with a very nasty email threatening to sue me for every penny they paid me and more. They have paid me $4,100 approx. for the job thus far, and owe me a final payment of $538. There were no complaints about my work prior to my push for payment and I see no grounds for their suit. I want to place a lien on the property but want to ensure that I'm doing the right thing. Things I do know, I am not required to have a license b/c I make less than $15K per year doing this work. I work as a contractor doing completely different work (writing/editing) the rest of the year. Is there something I need to know that I don't know to ask about? I am new to the business and have not had to deal with this type of issue before.

Answer

Based on what you say here, you could probably file suit against them (or at least threaten to do so) in small claims court or in regular court; filing in small claims court is easier and requires no attorney...you could try to collect all of the costs and damages that you suffered due to their behavior...
References in periodicals archive ?
Ted Stevens when he explained his failure to pay for work done on his house.
She was also involved in a court case taken by a plumber over a claim for failure to pay for works carried out at her Oranmore, Co Galway, home.
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