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Where do you begin if you have a dispute with land or substandard building works? If you bought goods or services and the builder has run off with your hard earned money? Can the local police help you? Do you hire a law firm? 

I am in the middle of such a dispute where a nearby builder took the money and just walked away from a relatively simple job. I should mention there was a signed contract in place which he supplied and we added our own protection including late penalties. The payments requested at each completed stage meant he got all but 34k baht far too early (due to a misunderstanding with my wife). I initially only wanted to pay 30%  up front. There is now considerably more than 34k baht work to rectify the roof, install 4 large doors and frames and re-render properly inside and out! During his time on site he and his team (which left him after 2 weeks for some unknown reason) he was afforded nice hospitality in the form of refreshments. I sought lawyers in Udon Thani but as 3 different firms failed to respond I have now instructed Siam Legal. Most of the advice I have received from Thai contacts are to just let him walk away with my money. That is not going to happen with me! 

On a related note let me know of any builders and digger, tractor owners requiring a job in Udon Thani. The work is in Kut Mak Fai. Let me know what is the expected going rate for these services per day? Thank you everyone here 🙂

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42 minutes ago, Andya18 said:

where a nearby builder took the money and just walked away

I was more innocent before I came to Thailand. Now, less so with regards to payment transactions here.

 

Couldn't you take the contract to the police station? It has his information on it so they could visit his address due to the incomplete contract. Or at least see what they have to say? Does your wife a friend that is a cop?

 

Also, it's easy to say now but perhaps review the interpretation of details within the contract and payments with your partner a few times at the beginning as there was not only a misunderstanding but also an actual contract in writing. 

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Depends on how much you spent and how much inferior work they did is how you need to weight going further. FYI. Every new home the workers have many ways to cut corners that puts a lot of money into their pockets. Example: Should be all concrete but they line it with dirt then rock and then pour concrete. <deleted> doors where it should be mid quality and so on and so on. I have issues with my home but at this point I will just replace tile and minor repairs on my own. Defamation to prove it is more costly of an oh-oh.

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Land of scams. This happened to a friend of mine, he trusted a well known contractor to build a house for him, paid a big advance, they guy showed up with a plastic water tank and never came back again. 

The American guy was running short on money too, so he was really devastated by the incident. Before that he was really positive about Thailand, been there for last 20 years with wife. Now he left for the states for good.

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This is not the West where you can use a lawyer to recoup both your losses and the costs of the legal action. Here, the lawyer will be trying to charge you maximum also. So unless you want to get charged again, try and resolve the situation with the builder, if not, then you will need to write it off. 34k is less than what the lawyers will charge you. Actually the money involved is peanuts, if you chase it down you might get problems. Next time don't pay in advance.

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I've had dealings with several builders here in Thailand, and also several lawyers.

Some of the builders where bad, but some where good.

Unfortunately, none of the good ones are in the Udon area.....but when it comes to the lawyers, they all took the money and run.

Trust me, you would be better letting it go, before it costs you more money, plus your faith in humanity

 

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3 hours ago, Andya18 said:

Most of the advice I have received from Thai contacts are to just let him walk away with my money. That is not going to happen with me! 

 

Please keep us updated on your progress. It might be the builder returns the money or makes good his work.

 

If he does not then you could end up spending a significant sun of money in legal fees, at the end of which you may be unable to recoup any money at all as the builder might not have any assets whatsoever.

 

Let us know how you get on. It will certainly help others in the future.

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On 2/27/2021 at 9:13 PM, blackcab said:

It might be the builder returns the money

Thanks for giving me my first laugh for the day. You evidently don't sound very experienced when it comes to dealing with Thai builders. ha ha

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's the update and ALL replies were appreciated. The price Siam Legal asked for a quoted 5 hours work was 32k baht. After serving the builder the demand letter the builder phoned Siam Legal and said he has done nothing wrong and if I go ahead with court proceedings he will appoint a lawyer and fight it! My lawyer (a junior partner in the firm) advised me it might be better to seek a cheaper and more local lawyer to save on taking this to court. To add insult to injury the lawyer demanded an additional 32k baht for additional work! He advised me after 2.5hrs that there were 2.5hrs remaining for translating the demand letter and serving it but not that it would go over by another 5hrs! I also asked for the junior partner's credentials to practice law at the beginning prior to engaging the firm and rather than providing his license no. or details of the qualification he seemed offended by the question. I've heard nothing since after my complaint. Seems they are after the easy money. As for the building the quote to finish and repair is another 200k. To proceed to court will start at 250k and as one of you mentioned no guarantee any assets are in his name. An honest character would have buckled at receiving the letter. He's clearly a seadoned criminal. The additional late penalty fees now far exceed the total build cost so no court will award such an amount and damaged are decided by the court. Faith in humanity? I had very little to start with!

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Having had my own businesses I have had more than a few occasions where vendors I hired failed to live up to their promises.  I can recall one who ran up a $25,000 bill then failed to pay.  I checked with an attorney who said yes we can sue him.  It will cost you about $25,000 and you will get a judgement.  Then you can chase him to see if he still has $25,000 to give you back.  

In your instance even if you sue him, and win a judgement, it is unlikely that he will still have your money to give back and you will be out the legal fees.  The lawyers will be happy to take your money and give you promises that you can recover all the while stretching the process out to make it as expensive as possible.  

If he stole from you then you have a criminal matter.  However breach of contract is a civil matter and I am afraid you have not much recourse.  Lesson learned.  Never pay in advance.  With construction the least to do is performance draws where the builder gets a portion of his money as the job is being completed.  

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On 3/11/2021 at 3:32 PM, Andya18 said:

Here's the update and ALL replies were appreciated. The price Siam Legal asked for a quoted 5 hours work was 32k baht. After serving the builder the demand letter the builder phoned Siam Legal and said he has done nothing wrong and if I go ahead with court proceedings he will appoint a lawyer and fight it! My lawyer (a junior partner in the firm) advised me it might be better to seek a cheaper and more local lawyer to save on taking this to court. To add insult to injury the lawyer demanded an additional 32k baht for additional work! He advised me after 2.5hrs that there were 2.5hrs remaining for translating the demand letter and serving it but not that it would go over by another 5hrs! I also asked for the junior partner's credentials to practice law at the beginning prior to engaging the firm and rather than providing his license no. or details of the qualification he seemed offended by the question. I've heard nothing since after my complaint. Seems they are after the easy money. As for the building the quote to finish and repair is another 200k. To proceed to court will start at 250k and as one of you mentioned no guarantee any assets are in his name. An honest character would have buckled at receiving the letter. He's clearly a seadoned criminal. The additional late penalty fees now far exceed the total build cost so no court will award such an amount and damaged are decided by the court. Faith in humanity? I had very little to start with!

You didn't think that 6000 per hour is "a bit" over the top for Thailand? This quote does already sound like a scam.

Did the lawyer personally deliver the letter, or how could this take 5 (10?) hours?

 

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On 3/12/2021 at 4:30 AM, jackdd said:

You didn't think that 6000 per hour is "a bit" over the top for Thailand? This quote does already sound like a scam.

Did the lawyer personally deliver the letter, or how could this take 5 (10?) hours?

 

Lawyers in any country are the biggest con artist . Between realtors - car salesman - and lawyers I’d be hard pressed on who I would feed to the crocodiles first 😇

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