Consumer Protection Law
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Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer. My name isXXXXX would like to assist you today.
I am sorry to learn about your difficulties with this new water system.
If you are unable to receive satisfaction from the company for their failure to provide service as they have promised in their advertising to you "you will receive a reduced power bill" you may have a claim for fraud.
Thank you for taking my question. Very frustrated...the system cost me 7800 bucks and I financed it.
Are you still paying on it?
The advertising was in person to my wife and I during the sales pitch.
Where were you when they made the sales pitch? (at your home, county fair, or at their store, etc.)?
Yes...I also purchased an AC system and a Solar attic fan. Those items are finally work to my satisfaction
In my home
Okay, unfortunately, the recision rights (3 day cooling off period) that apply to door to door sales has already passed, but the fact that you were given a sales pitch in your home, where you were given the promise of a reduced power bill, but did not receive it, gains credibility as these types of sales tactics are not viewed favorably for the most part (not a legal analysis, just a general observation).
You likely have the right to withdraw from the contract based on a "fraudulent inducement" meaning you entered into the contract based on a material misrepresentation that you would receive a reduced power bill, when in fact you have experienced the opposite.
The elements for fraud are: (1) a statement that the defendant knows, or should have known, was false; (2) that the plaintiff reasonably relies upon; and (3) that the plaintiff suffers damages (usually loses money). If you can show all of these elements, you will have a claim for fraud that you can file in court and recover the money you have spent, as well as withdraw from the current contract.
The only weak point in these types of contracts is that merchants work hard to say "it saves money in most circumstances" as opposed to absolutes "you will save money", but the fact that the company tried to subsidize your power bill for 3 months seems to lend even more credibility to your position that they actually promised you a reduced power bill, not just the possibility of one.
Yes they did subsidize me while trying to fix the system...would that be them admitting to the proposed savings?
I would never go so far as to say that the defendant has admitted to their wrongdoing (unless they have actually done so), but it could certainly act as circumstantial evidence in support of the position that their product is marketed and designed to provide you with a reduced power bill, and their effort to subsidize your bill does seem to be in your favor.
(For future reference, there is an issue with excluding evidence of subsequent repairs in tort law, but this only applies to personal injury, so, if somebody trips over a dangerous stairway, and the defendant fixes the stairway before trial, the plaintiff cannot introduce the fact that the stairway was fixed as evidence - the company in your case does not get the benefit of that rule, paying you to subsidize your power bill does not protect anybody from future harm and the rule excluding this evidence does not apply).
What type of lawyer should I get or could I file this complaint myself?
What would something like this cost me to pursue. I have wasted enough money already.
For a claim of $7,500.00 you will be over the $5,000.00 small claims court jurisdiction. This means you have 2 options. Option 1, you can reduce your claimed damages to $5,000.00 and sue in small claims court where the procedure is simpler, and you are expected to appear without an attorney (it is much less costly). Option 2 is to file in civil court for the full amount, the procedure is slightly more complex, and most parties use an attorney (which may cost more than your potential recovery), the procedure takes longer (about 12-18 months in most cases, but it depends entirely on the trial court backlog). So: Small Claims is quicker and easier, but you cannot get a full recovery; Civil Court is more complex and will take longer, but you can pursue a full recovery (both suffer from the inherent uncertainty of litigation).
What would you recommend?
Unfortunately I can't give you a recommendation - we aren't allowed to practice law on the site. But really, even as a client I wouldn't be able to give you much more on this one. You can reduce your claim and go for a quick resolution in small claims (a lot less of a headache), or you can try for a full recovery in civil court, but you will have to deal with extended discovery, motion practice, and it will be much more time intensive, even if you decide to hire an attorney (which will cost you money).
Thank you so much for answering my question. I will go the small claims route and gather all my info and hope for the best. Where could i find information on filing in small claims court.
Give me a moment and let me get some information together for you (there are a few websites that are helpful).
By the way, which county are you in?
Here is the Florida Courts small claims self help website: http://www.flcourts.org/gen_public/family/self_help/smallclaims.shtml
Here are the Small Claims Rules of Court (read through the table of contents so that you are familiar with them, and you can then identify what you need as you go through the process): http://www.floridabar.org/TFB/TFBResources.nsf/0/5E3D51AF15EE8DCD85256B29004BFA62/$FILE/Small%20Claims.pdf
Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it.
My pleasure. I do wish you the best of luck with this matter. Here is the link to the Seminole Clerk of Courts (they do not have a very helpful website for small claims, but it will have the contact information: http://www.seminoleclerk.org/ If you have further questions please do not hesitate to let me know.
Will do...Thanks again
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