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Dear Customer, I would like to assist you with your legal question today.
The price you charge for labor is a matter of contract, if you contract a certain price for one job and another price for a different job there is no problem with having two separate contracts. What you cannot do is change the price of the same contract without the consent or agreement of the other party (although many times the price does in fact change during the course of a project with the consent of both parties).
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the new labor rate i'm asking about would be a one time thing for a unconventional task
There is no problem with a one time labor rate hike.
Again, remember, this is a matter of contract, if both parties agree to the amount, it is perfectly acceptable.
my customer has been a terrible one. we build custom cars. we've had his car for about a year. 5 months ago he disputed a bill. two days ago he paid it. we discussed storing the car until he had the funds again. we agreed thinking we could make up the money in the long run. yesterday he changed and said he was going to take the car. we firmly believe he is taking it to another shop. we have put up with a lot from this man, is there anything we can charge him with or anything we can do to recover some of the money we have/will lose?
Dear Customer, please give me a moment to research this issue, some states permit a mechanic to store a vehicle pending payment for services, some do not. As an initial aside, you may have a cause of action for breach of contract for the consumer's failure to pay for services rendered.
thank you for your help. i feel like im between a rock and a hard place.
I am sorry for the delay, it was difficult to find the code section. Here it is, West Virginia Code §38-11-3. I will copy and past it in full for you as the interpretation as to vehicle liens is important, particularly with regard to improvements on performance as it appears may apply to you (I unfortunately cannot interpret the statute as to how it would apply to you, but I hope that the statute will be clear enough to permit you to do so).
§38-11-3. Improver's, storer's or transporter's lien on personal property and animals.A person who, while in possession thereof, makes, alters, repairs, stores, transports or in any way enhances the value of an article of personal property, or boards, pastures, feeds, trains, improves or transports any animal shall have a lien upon such article or animal while lawfully in the possession thereof, for the charges agreed upon, or, if no charges be agreed upon, then for his just and reasonable charges for the work done or the board or storage or transportation furnished, to the extent and in the manner provided for in section fourteen of this article, and may retain possession thereof until such charges are paid. Such lien shall be good against the person who deposited the property with the lienor and against any other person by whose authority or with whose consent the property was deposited:Provided, That, notwithstanding the provisions of this section and section two of this article, if a person possessing an improver's lien on a motor vehicle releases that vehicle to a secured party taking possession after default, the secured party shall, upon redemption of the vehicle by the debtor or resale or other disposition by the secured party, pay to the improver the lesser of: (i) The actual cost of improvements as measured by the cost of inventory and labor; or (ii) fifteen hundred dollars: Provided,however, That improvements shall not include nonstock changes in the appearance or performance of the vehicle:Provided further, That if after satisfaction of any prior perfected lien, proceeds remain from the sale, redemption or other disposition of the vehicle by the secured party, such proceeds shall be used to satisfy any balance remaining on the improver's lien:And provided further,That nothing herein shall be construed as impairing or affecting the secured party's right to recover under any insurance policy covering the vehicle. If two or more articles of personal property are made, altered, repaired, stored, transported or enhanced in value as aforesaid, or two or more animals are boarded, pastured, fed, trained, improved or transported as aforesaid, under one contract or agreement, any one or more of such articles or animals may be held under the lien, hereinbefore mentioned, for all of the charges upon all such articles included in such contract or agreement.
§38-11-4. Lien of bailee of animals or vehicles. A person keeping a livery stable, or boarding stable for animals, or a garage or storage place for automobiles or other vehicles, or who boards, pastures, feeds or trains animals for hire, has a lien upon such animals or vehicles for the sum due him for the care, boarding, pasturage, feeding, or training of such animals, or the care, keeping or storage of such vehicles, even though such animals or vehicles are permitted to be taken out of the possession of the one claiming such lien, if the contract between the owner and the person claiming such lien for keeping, boarding, pasturage, feeding, training or storage, has not been terminated at the time such animal or vehicle is taken out of such possession: Provided, however, That any purchaser of such animal or vehicle, while out of the possession of the person claiming such lien, shall take such property free of such lien, unless he had actual notice at the time of such purchase that such animal or vehicle was being kept, stored, boarded, pastured, fed or trained by some person other than the owner thereof: Provided further, That the lien hereinbefore provided for in this section shall not be valid as against any person other than the owner of such animal or vehicle, whether such other person have notice of the claim of lien or not, for any charges incurred more than three months prior to the time when such person other than the owner acquired his interest in the animal or chattel, unless the animal or chattel was, at the time of the acquisition of such interest, actually in the possession of the person claiming such lien.
Again, my apologies for the lengthy post, but the portions related to automobiles may change the way in which you go about liening the vehicle at issue should that be appropriate in your circumstance.
(I realized my initial statement was poorly worded, I can assist you in interpreting the statute in general, I just cannot assist you in applying that statute to your specific facts, if you have any questions regarding the way in which the statute reads, please do not hesitate to ask, and my sincere apologies for any misunderstanding).
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