In the New Mexico, US do you have to pay someone for work if after completion you do not feel the work is worth the original amount agreed upon. For example a plumber who gives you a quote, finishes the job, but it is not done as good as you would have liked it to be or it wasn’t all that you originally thought it would be or if they took longer than originally indicated, do you have to pay them the full amount or can you hold some back? If you don’t pay the agreed amount what could they do?

  • Did the contract (quote) say when it would be completed by? Did it specify the standards that you wanted it completed to? Did they do exactly the work that was quoted (even if you "thought" it would be more)? In a very basic sense, if you didn't spell it out and in turn they didn't specify it to you in writing, then it probably isn't enforceable and you would be required to pay them the full amount that was quoted. What was on your quote/contract? – Ron Beyer Nov 12 '18 at 20:18

If they have done what the contract requires them to do (plumbing) then you must do what it requires you to do (pay them).

If they have not yet fulfilled their obligations, that is, the work is not yet complete, then you do not yet owe them the money (unless the contract provides for progress payments).

If they have breached the contract in a way that causes you damage (in a legal sense) then your owe them for the work and they owe you for the damage.

If you owe them money, they can sue you. If you claim damages, you can raise a counter claim in response to their suit.

With respect to your specific examples:

  • "not done as good as you would have liked" - if "as you would have liked" is a term of the contract then they have breached. However, if the contract is silent then if their work is in accordance with the codes and of a "workmanlike" quality then they haven't.
  • "wasn’t all that you originally thought it would be" - ditto although I am confused at how "plumbing" can be anything but plumbing - did you think you were getting music lessons?
  • "took longer than originally indicated" - unless there was a specific completion date in the contract, providing that the work was done within a reasonable time taking longer then indicated is not a breach.

Notwithstanding, in all cases, as well as proving the breach, you would need to prove the damage caused by the breach.

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  • The agreement was to fix pipes and repair walls and landscaping. The pipes are fixed but the holes in my walls, not so much, and it’s four days past the expected completion date. I can’t keep taking off work to supervise these people when they are showing up four hours late then they only work for two hours before calling it quites. I want to hire someone else but I don’t think the original company deserve the whole amount, especially if I need to pay someone else to do part of their work. – MrQs Nov 12 '18 at 23:56
  • @MrQs You need to talk to the plumber and come to an arrangement. Right now you have no grounds to terminate the contract. – Dale M Nov 13 '18 at 0:02

I don't know about New Mexico specifically, but in most states, the plumber could sue you in a court appropriate for the amount at issue. The plumber could also file a contractor's lien on the property.

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  • And the court will decide whether your reasons (incomplete work, failure to complete by agreed date, or whatever) are sufficient to reduce the amount owed. Of course, if the plumber files a lien, you have to sue him to get it removed, but the same principle applies – Tim Lymington Nov 12 '18 at 21:56

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