Couple said home contractor canceled their project, but kept a cancellation fee

Spring is the time of year many of homeowners sign contracts for home improvement work, and place down payments on projects.

But what happens if the contractor consistently delays?

Andrew and Sheila Vance wanted their front step rebuilt at their Boone County Kentucky home, so they hired a local concrete contractor, paying $1,600 upfront, half the total cost.

They said he promised to do it before Christmas.

“We had beautiful weather last fall,” Sheila said.

But the holidays came and went and nothing happened. Then, two months later, they said, the contractor backed out entirely.

“He said he was going to have to cancel doing the job because he was ill, and he was going to refund our money entirely,” she said.

Contractor keeps $500 fee

The contractor sent them a money order to refund what they paid, but kept a cancellation fee.

“It was a refund minus a $500 dollar cancelation fee,” she said.

He even wrote that there was a penalty on the receipt.

But, according to the Vances, “it said in the contract if we cancel, he gets to keep $500.”

They understood that, but insist he was the one who canceled…not them.

There is a great lesson here for anyone planning a home improvement project this year.

What if the contractor says they can’t get to you and they postpone and postpone and postpone again?

A report in Rocket says:

  • Make sure the contract has a time frame for work.
  • It should specify a start and completion time.
  • It should say what happens if either one of you back out.

We contacted the concrete mason, who told us he will refund $250, half the cancellation fee, because he disagrees with who really canceled.
“All I want is the money you owe us,” Sheila said.

The Vances said next time, they will make sure they get a lot more specifics on cancellation penalties.

Remember: If a dispute comes up it all comes down to the contract.

So read it carefully before signing, so you don’t waste your money.


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