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Payment for Unfinished Job

I asked you a question earlier in the week and you responded right away (which i appreciate). Here is the question in a more precise and clear way:

Approximately 3 years ago I remodeled parts of my house and during the construction process I decided to do over the alarm system. (i.e.: rewiring the whole alarm system and update the security system). I contacted a frum Jewish person to do the job (the alarm wiring). He started the job and asked us to pay for the whole thing up front so that he can have money to get the supplies.

Being that both myself and the owner of the alarm company are both frum people I didn’t think twice before giving him the full amount and was sure that he would complete the job. After he said he “finished” the job he was hired to do (rewire the alarm system in my house) we realized that there was one thing that was never connected and when we contacted him to come down and fix it. He said that he lost the wire in the wall and it shouldn’t be a problem to fix and he just needs to find the time to come down and fix it. I kept on contacting and asking him nicely over the course of the 3 years to please come down and complete his services since I had paid for the full job but he didn’t complete it.

After about 2.5 years of asking nicely when he sent his bi-monthly bill to us asking for money to pay central station (the system is connected to central station which notifies the police and fire department in case of a burglary and emergency) so that they can keep up the security connection. I told him that this was going to be my last payment I would be making to him until he comes to fix our intercom that was never connected. He sent back an invoice saying that he understands how upset we are and he can’t do anything about it and this would be our last bill from him and at the end of the month our connection with central station will end through him and that we should seek another security provider to stay connected with central station and to fix the problem which he never completed.

Now for the question: is the alarm guy obligated to reimburse me the amount of money that it would cost for me to now go and find someone else to fix it and for the problems that it will cause?? (finding the wire,Opening walls and closing them back up).Thank you very much for timely response.
Hatzlacha and Have a Happy Purim


The person you hired is considered a “kablan” – he was paid for doing a job, and not paid as a hired laborer who receives his salary by the hour.

Because the job was not completed, and you did not receive the security system that you asked for, it follows that you are not obligated to pay the full sum that you made up in advance. The sum that was made up was for the completed job, and not for half the job.

You therefore have the right to ask somebody else to complete the job. Of course, completing the job should not be as pricey as doing the entire job, and the difference is the amount that you “benefit” from the original work done (and the amount that he deserves in payment).

After having the job completed, you can therefore request that the original contractor (the person who did the job) pay you the amount you needed to pay for having the job completed.

Best wishes.

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