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Thread: Liens and legal issues

  1. #71
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
    Posts
    3,510
    Quote Originally Posted by electrofelon View Post
    I don't see how that could be. As I haven't been paid I still own all the materials. If they don't want me to finish and pay me for anything, I'll take my stuff and leave.
    The law in most states is that if you install things like we do in this trade, as soon as you do it becomes part of the building and the property of the owner. If he hasn't paid you for it you have to take him to court and let a judge decide who's telling the truth. You can't use "self help" and go in and remove things. Doing so would be considered vandalism or burglary. You can't have anything in your contract that would allow such conduct either because your customer can't sign away his legal rights.

    The only time you could get away with this is if you had material and tools stored on the customers premises. Then I believe you retain ownership during a dispute and have the right to go in and reclaim them, probably with a court order and police supervision.

    -Hal

  2. #72
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE Nebraska
    Posts
    36,144
    Quote Originally Posted by hbiss View Post
    The law in most states is that if you install things like we do in this trade, as soon as you do it becomes part of the building and the property of the owner. If he hasn't paid you for it you have to take him to court and let a judge decide who's telling the truth. You can't use "self help" and go in and remove things. Doing so would be considered vandalism or burglary. You can't have anything in your contract that would allow such conduct either because your customer can't sign away his legal rights.

    The only time you could get away with this is if you had material and tools stored on the customers premises. Then I believe you retain ownership during a dispute and have the right to go in and reclaim them, probably with a court order and police supervision.

    -Hal
    Kind of what I was trying to say earlier. And materials not yet installed are not a part of real estate yet. Once you fasten it, bury it, etc. it becomes a part of the real estate.

    If you are selling a service, say maybe security system, phone, internet, even fire alarm you can disable link to outside world, disable software, change access codes, or otherwise interrupt the service being provided. Unfortunately most of us here just install electrical items but don't sell the electrical service, internet service, etc.

    You could sell and install PLC and wiring and have PLC linked via internet so you have remote access to help remotely service/update software type issues. Failure to pay, you could easily remotely disable that software and when customer complains it doesn't work tell them you will be happy to fix it once you are paid what is still owed to you, but you can't just go in and physically remove what is now a part of their property.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  3. #73
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
    Posts
    3,510
    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post

    If you are selling a service, say maybe security system, phone, internet, even fire alarm you can disable link to outside world, disable software, change access codes, or otherwise interrupt the service being provided.

    You could sell and install PLC and wiring and have PLC linked via internet so you have remote access to help remotely service/update software type issues. Failure to pay, you could easily remotely disable that software and when customer complains it doesn't work tell them you will be happy to fix it once you are paid what is still owed to you, but you can't just go in and physically remove what is now a part of their property.
    Well, not really. If you are a POCO, internet, cable, phone or cell phone company that charges monthly for the service then, yes you are allowed to discontinue the service for non-payment.

    However accessing equipment like computers, phone systems or alarm systems, even those that you just installed, for illicit reasons can get you charged with computer tampering, computer trespass and unauthorized use of a computer and as much as a first degree felony as well as a federal crime.

    It's real tempting, when you have remote access to your customer's equipment to try something like that. DON'T! If you are in a dispute with a customer and they find that you altered their system you just gave them a gift. Attorneys aren't stupid and the first thing their attorney will do is press for criminal charges and his client just won.

    -Hal

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