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I hired a paving contractor. They never did the job. Can I get my down payment back?

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I hired a paving contractor. They never did the job. Can I get my down payment back?
What next steps can I take to get a refund on a $300 advance I paid for a paving job that was never completed? It’s been almost a year since I paid the advance. I’ve tried to contact the person by phone and email.

I hired a paving contractor. They never did the job. Can I get my down payment back? - Mario Garcia

When you hire someone to perform a service at some time in the future, you’re making what the law calls a “future performance contract.” If the service provider doesn’t do the work they agreed to do at the time they agreed to do it, you can cancel the contract and ask for a refund. 

Certain special rules apply to future performance contracts. For instance, the service provider must provide you with a copy of the contract within 15 days of entering into it. If they don’t, you have up to one year to cancel.

The service provider has 15 days from when you notify them of the cancellation to provide you with the refund.

If you haven’t had any luck contacting the person by phone or email, you can try sending them a letter. The letter should cover these points:

  • a description of what was agreed to
  • details of the problem
  • what you’ve done to try to resolve the problem
  • what you want them to do to resolve the problem

If you still don’t get a satisfactory response from the service provider, you can file a complaint with a consumer protection agency. Consumer Protection BC can help resolve problems with future performance contracts. Another option is the Better Business Bureau, which receives complaints about local businesses.

Written June 9, 2019

We have a template letter that might help, to cancel a contract due to late delivery. Consumer Protection BC also provides a template letter to cancel a future performance contract.

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