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MA Dispute with Home Improvement Contractor - No written contract

We have a dispute with an electrician we hired on a T+M basis. All agreements were verbal. As the project progressed, I discussed the hours spent and money owed at various stages. The project is now complete, and we received an itemized bill from the electrician that is 3x the hours of any of our other estimates. Some of the hours are fake(he billed 8 hours on a day when I was home all morning and never saw him, etc), and we have some light evidence to prove it. The electrician agrees that his hours are excessive, but says we need to pay it because we agreed to a T+M verbal contract. The amount is closet to $5000.

There is another wrinkle, which may/may not be relavent. I am not the owner, but I negotiated on behalf of the owner(informally), there was no agreement between the electrician and the owner of the property.

We are leaning toward not paying, and making the electrician sue or file a lien. What is the best option?

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Without a lot more information, I hesitate to advise on the best course of action.  It seems like your contractor will have difficulty enforcing any claim against you.  As discussed in this post regarding disputes with home improvement contractors, under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 142A, all home improvement contracts for services costing over $1000 should be written and include total price, payment schedule, and start and completion dates.  Given the price requirement, it may be that time and material contracts are not legal in Massachusetts.  Also (putting aside for a second that a violation of M.G.L. c. 142A is an automatic, per se violation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, M.G.L. c. 93A), when your contractor started fabricating hours, he definitely wandered into "unfair and deceptive" behavior (or fraudulent).  I think I would make the electrician a reasonable offer for his work and materials.  If he's not smart enough to take it, you may want to have an attorney draft a letter.  



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