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Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  32 years of experience practicing law and a businessman.
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Interstate Small Claims My wife and I own a wedding business

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Interstate Small Claims

My wife and I own a wedding business in Florida. We require a nonrefundable $250 deposit to reserve a date for our services.

We have a client who lives in Pennsylvania. We exchanged e-mails over a period of several days/weeks figuring out exactly what services she wanted, the she booked our services (paid the nonrefundable deposit via personal check) then canceled about two months later.

I have several pages of e-mails between us. From my very first reply to her inquiry, I stated that we required a nonrefundable $250 deposit to reserve the date. This is stated throughout the e-mail chain wherever the deposit is discussed. I also sent her a copy of our frequently asked questions (which are also published on our website) that clearly explain the deposit is nonrefundable.

She is insisting we should refund her deposit based on the fact that "she didn't notice or read that part and didn't sign anything", and is threating to fill in PA small claims court.

Hi there. I totally understand your frustration over this situation which is essentially blackmail. You are totally right here and should not put up with this. Were she to sue you for this, you should go and defend and countersue for your damages..which are costs of traveling to defend....you will win these cases and will be allowed to keep the deposit and be awarded your damages. In all likelihood, as soon as you file your counterclaim, these folks will drop their original claim.

 

 

I hope this has given you the guidance you were seeking. I wish you the best of luck!

 

 

 

The information given here is not legal advice. As all states have different intricacies in their laws, the information given is general only. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for the quick reply. I will accept and pay momentarily. Just a couple of points of clarification:

  • So she can file suit in PA even through the defendant is in FL?
  • If so, and should this go to court, should my first defense be that this is out of the jurisdiction of the court, or should I just stick to the case at hand and my documentation of the fact that her deposit was nonrefundable?
  • Should I cite UETA in my defense? Is is valid in this case?
  • Can I counter-sue for both travel expenses and lost wages if I have to take off work? (I have a day job in addition to the wedding business with an easy to document hourly wage, and would likely have to take off work to travel to PA).

My pleasure...OK...let's see here...

 

1) She can file anywhere, and I would answer by seeking to have the case removed to Florida as the proper venue....The judge should grant that, but I just wanted you to be sure to defend even if the judge did not do so. Never can tell what a judge might do.

2) You will make the counterclaim of every defense...first, as you mention, that this is wrong venue and jurisdiction, and that notwithstanding that, ....

3) Yes, you should involke the UETA....it has partial applicability and you should take advantage of that.

4) You would certainly claim the lost wages....you have a decent probability of getting them awarded as damages, but I can't assure you of that.

 

 

I hope this has given you the guidance you were seeking. I wish you the best of luck!

 

 

 

The information given here is not legal advice. As all states have different intricacies in their laws, the information given is general only. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.

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