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Builder left things and both the builder and the attorney asked for ransom to pay all the left over amount during refinance

We have entered into a building contractor and we had an agreement with builder to keep money aside for a punch list. but the builder came to know that we are refinancing from a "construction loan" over to "fixed mortgage" and threatened us to pay all the left over money without completing the work or will register a lien on the property.

At that stage we really wanted to get a better rate so we obliged but both the builder or his attorney would not answer our requests to fix the left over punch list itemes worth $20,000.

What are the next steps for us? can we sue the builder and his attorney for fraud?

Please advise..

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Submitted Wed, 12/16/2015 - 16:08

In order to truly evaluate your options, it would be necessary to review the contract that you had with your Contractor. Unless there is a clause that allows for acceleration of money due, this is very likely a consumer protection violation. Under Massachusetts law contractors that work on peoples' homes are held to very strict requirements by the Home Improvement Contractor Law and they may have violated the law by requiring accelerated payment.

It also sounds that potentially the contractor violated other Consumer Protection laws as well by blackmailing you into paying, and then refusing to complete the work. Failure to complete the work they were required to do is also a contract violation.

There does not appear on the face of it to be a fraud claim, but there are most likely contract and consumer protection claims here. If you have a valid consumer protection claim the first step is to engage an attorney to draft and send a 30-day demand letter for you. This is a requirement to preserve your consumer protection rights, including the possibility of multiple, double or triple, damages and attorney's fees. A lawyer can help write this to best preserve all the elements of your case moving forward. If the Contractor fails to respond you can sue them.

If you have any interest in pursuing this matter, please feel free to call my office or set up an appointment for a free consultation.

Attry. David Owens
Grolman, LLP

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