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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 33703
Experience:  Attorney for over 15 years, landlord 26 years
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I signed a contract with a company that does emergency and

Customer Question

I signed a contract with a company that does emergency and restoration services for some water damage from my water heater. The same day I cancelled the contract in writing to the contractor, as I felt he was not honest and in fact told me to lie to my Homeowners insurance company and tell them I had a flood, which I did not. The contractor came and got his fans the next day and now he sent me a bill for $1,500. I told him I was not going to pay because I cancelled the contract. He said he is going to put a lien on my property.
I would really like to talk to someone about this...
Thanks,
Erin Manion
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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What did the contract state about any termination or cancellation rights you might have had?

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Did the contractor do any work other than setting up his fans?

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What was the total cost of the agreed on contract and what was the contractor supposed to do?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The contract says List of Documents to be incorporated into the contract. Three Day notice of right to cancel. I also got the notice of right to cancel form.The contractor took out a shelf like structure that the water heater and furnace were sitting on and took off the water heater and furnace, then placed a new temp water heater on the ground. Then put fans to dry the area. The invoice is for fans only for $1,500.There was no agreed cost at the time I signed the contract.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 4 months ago.

Ok, if there was a 3 day right of cancellation and you did so within that period, then you would have legally terminated the contract. However, you would still be liable for the cost of any work that the contractor had done up to that point under the legal doctrine of "in quantum meruit" which means "as much as he is entitled to".

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So you can dispute that he did $1500 worth of work in setting up a few fans, removing a platform, taking out the water heater and furnace, and installing a temporary one. You can tell him that if he files a lien, you will sue him for "slander on title" since the bill is clearly inflated based on the amount of work that was done, as well as filing a formal complaint with the CA Contractors State Licensing Board for fraud.

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But you would owe him something for his work and efforts...as you can't expect him to perform all those tasks and work for free... it is just how much it is reasonably worth.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
On the Contractors website it said if you cancel a contract within the 3 day period, you do not owe for work done and if any work was paid for the contractor must return the money to you within 10 days?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
it also said unless it was caused by a natural disaster such as fire, earthquake etc.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 4 months ago.

I agree that that normally is the case, but in an emergency situation like a water leak, time is critical to prevent mold from starting so if he had waited the 3 days, it could have gotten a lot worse. The law recognizes that in emergency situations, it may not be realistic to just sit back and wait that 3 days..

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But if the contract specifically says that you have 3 days to cancel, then if he does file a lien and then try to sue and foreclose on it, then you can defend by showing that you were well within the 3 day cancellation period and it was the contractor's fault for not waiting that 3 days. You need to print out a copy of the contractor's website now while that is still posted on it to use for potential future evidence.

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So bot***** *****ne is that if they put that on their contract, I think when confronted by their own contact and their own policy, then a judge would have no choice but to rule in your favor.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
ok, Thank you for your help.
Expert:  barristerinky replied 4 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time..

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided as that is the only way I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister

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