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Contractor posed as an Engineer then failed to complete house and now wants to sue us for harrassment!! Help!

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Arresto Menor
Hi Atty,

I have a question regarding a contractor I hired to build a house. They took charge of all documentation on the house, and we're paid in advance. The contract stated a period of 6 months, which started in January 2011, however as of September 2011 the house was still unfinished, despite the contract being fully paid.

In all communication (including on the signed contract, receipts etc) the contractor has refered to themselves as Engr. xxxx xxxxx. They had also taken care of all permits, and processing of water etc. As they had slowed down on building the house, we decided to do the final requirements such as the meralco and Occupancy permits ourselves and when we went to the Building Office to get a copy of the building permit (because the contractor had not given us a copy) we found that the engineer who had signed everything was not the same person. We approached the PRC who have given us a certificate stating they have no record of our contractor being an Engineer.

The contractor told us that they had run out of money and couldn't finish the house, leaving about 250,000peso of work to be done (which we paid out of our own pocket to another contractor to finish - we have receipts). We asked the original contractor to return this money and they refused, instead claiming that I was harrassing them and that they were filing cases against me for harrassment. Further, we have found materials used on the property which were substandard compared to the material specifications which were signed. Again the contractor refuses to compensate us as they claim that the material specifications were only for the building permit, and dont mean anything, even through they have been signed and notorized by both parties.

We have sent them a demand letter which went unanswered. Can we file a case of Estafa against them, on the basis they represented themselves as a Engineer when they are not and failed to complete a contract, despite us meeting our obligations causing us a loss of around 400k peso??

Can they counter sue us for harrassment?? All we have done is ask them to finish the house, or refund us the money we have had to spend on fixing it. Only by text, email and a written demand letter which was sent by recorded registered post. We have never visited their house or tried to obstruct their business. Just asked for our money back!

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the representation as an engineer can be considered estafa through other deceits.

they can file a case of unjust vexation, whether it will prosper depends on what you said in those texts.

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