Consumers Beware of Unscrupulous Contractors and Attorneys

Consumers beware! Did you know that anybody who is interested in being a general Concrete Contractor North Hills CA in Washington State and has the petty cash of $109.70 for a license and a bond fee of only $12,000.00, is able to work at this professional trade? A specialty contractor’s bond is only $6,000.00. No knowledge or testing required. Rip-offs are welcome.

This means Joe Blow, without any experience–or at best, minimal knowledge, may be hired to build your house. Then Mr. Blow will turn around and hire incompetent sub-contractor’s or specialty sub-contractors, breach the contract, file bankruptcy, be forgiven in court for the debts they owe at the homeowner’s expense and cause numerous liens on their property.

Then these wannabe contractors are able to recycle their crime and start another business under another name, over and over again. Guess what? It’s all legal in Washington State and they know this. This careless practice and fraudulent crime against homeowners and taxpayers are not tolerable in such states as California and Florida. This is another reason that there is so much construction going on in the State of Washington. It’s easy-pickings for contractor criminals.

The property owner has the burden of proof. They are the victims. Fraud has a different meaning in Washington State. In bankruptcy court, fraud is very hard to prove. If proven against the contractor, the homeowner has a slight chance of seeking a judgment, but collecting that is another challenge. All these crooks have to explain is they went over their heads in expense. The fact is they underestimate the job, usually on purpose. In their trade, the terminology is called “low-balling.” They take draws of money from what the property owner has paid, then fund other projects and don’t pay their supplier’s bills they have in the victim’s name. This results with liens on the property owner.

The contractor’s defense in court is explained on innocent ignorance, not intended fraud. They are getting away with this all the time. Except state courts refuse to call it a crime. These crooks are protected by law. Most have hidden assets and they claim that their earthly possessions are leased, such as homes, vehicles, equipment and everything. Their possessions can’t be pierced or claimed by victims in court. In most cases these are civil matters. They are dismissed in state courts. In other words, the victim is on their own–no crime, no punishment for contractor crooks. Hiring a lawyer for the great fight is up to the victim.

In my case, I’m embarrassed to say, I hired an incompetent lawyer who claimed she had all this experience. The truth is she had no knowledge of breach of contract or bankruptcy issues. The truth came out $34,000.00 later. I received nothing in return. She was hired from a law firm who are notorious in hiring recent law school graduates.

When I challenged her experience and billing practices, she turned arrogant and defensive and went to court and legally withdrew her representation, leaving me in legal chaos and potential counterclaims lawsuits. I did not no where to turn or what to do. I couldn’t believe it–only in Washington State can this happen! All that she did was submit motions and do tons of research that had “failure” written all over it. I realized research was necessary, but for her, research was everything and experience was nil. The judges were no better.

The ignorance, arrogance and incompetence of the general contractor, sub-contractors and lawyer took me for a grand total of over $100,000.00. I was left with no reprisal and had to hire a new lawyer to get me out of this legal and financial mess. What is right with this picture? I got nowhere with my complaints to the Washington State Bar Association and the Attorney General’s office. I am reminded of the presence of the Legislature and their priorities and misguided ethics. As a taxpayer and a registered voter, I feel I have some critical voice of how things are run in this great state. I have lived in Washington State all my fifty- three years. I can’t believe this state with all its beauty and graceful environment has gone so far south in its ideals.

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