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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3691
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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I thought I was just getting an estimate from a lawn company,

Customer Question

I thought I was just getting an estimate from a lawn company, then came home one day to find work had been done and they want payment now. They are taking a line that I said in email as "consent" (the line was "that amount sounds fine - does this include tax?" and was my LAST communication to them) - but they laid a different color mulch than I already had, did not knock on the door (sitter was home and thought our usual mowing company was here) and they also destroyed one of my established Rose of Sharons in the process. Do I have any recourse or do I owe them for the work?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Chris T., JD replied 1 year ago.

TexLawyer :

Good afternoon. I'll be assisting you with your question.

TexLawyer :

The question here appears to be whether or not a contract was formed by your statement "that amount sounds fine - does that include tax."

TexLawyer :

In order to form a contract, there must be an offer and acceptance of that offer. Here, they quoted you a price, and a judge would most likely find that you accepted that price when you said "that amount sounds fine." Arguably, you qualified your acceptance by asking about tax, but it would be hard to argue that their answer about the taxes would have impacted your acceptance since you said "that amount sounds fine."

TexLawyer :

In my opinion, most judges would find that to be sufficent for acceptance, and you probably formed a contract.

TexLawyer :

However, that is not where your situation ends, since they seem to have been negligent in their performance (didn't use the color you wanted, ruined a rose bush).

Customer:

This sucks is there any other information I could provide you with from the emails that might give more information? they sent followup emails (that I did not see before the work was done) telling me to set up an account on their website for payment, which I did not do.

TexLawyer :

Unless there is some clear indication that you or they withdrew from the contract before the work was performed, I can't see it changing things.

TexLawyer :

Keep in mind, though, that if they were negligent, you may have a cause of action agains them for the damage they caused.

Customer:

I didnt think it was a contract (I hear what you are saying about the damage, am not disregarding that)

TexLawyer :

That may be enough for them to agree to each go your separate ways with no money exchanged (you don't sue for the damage and they don't get paid). Of course, I don't know how much they charged you or how much the damage is, but that is an option.

Customer:

my wording was "So to completely do the weed barrier, mulch, and such would be... $100+ $130+ $40 + $62.50 + $187.50 = $520? That sounds fine to me.


What kind of maintenance am I looking at after the weed barrier and mulch are in place?" Apologies is there tax added to that amount or is that to correct estimate total?" I used the word estimate and they did not respond to my question about maintenance

TexLawyer :

I don't think that changes the fact that you accepted their offer when you said "that amount sounds fine." At that point, a contract is created. After that, you would have to clearly express your intent to withdraw.

TexLawyer :

The maintence is refering to an ongoing contract, which is a separate issue from the initial offer/acceptance.

Customer:

so in future how do I stay nice and polite when i think an amount is reasonable but do not form a contract??? I used it in what I thought mean "ok good im glad it's not 2 thousand dollars" geez. yeah im paying you im just totally pissed

Customer:

nm i guess thats beyond the scope of my original question

Customer:

great try to just be polite and people take a mile i will never hire anyone for anything again ever ever ever ever

TexLawyer :

I understand your frustration. The worst part of my job is having to deliver bad legal news, but I have to give honest answers. As far as what you can say, there really isn't any magic language, but it may be fair to say "that sounds fair, but let me consider it further" or something like that. You want to leave yourself some wiggle room.

Customer:

yeah i thought i was by saying "estimate" again

TexLawyer :

You mean you won't hire anyone after this question, right. :)

Customer:

yeah i already said i was paying this i hate the answer im getting but you did your job and i was clear about signing up for it

Customer:

unlike this clusterfark

Customer:

can i still report them to the bbb and tell everyone on facebook how much they suck

TexLawyer :

You may be able to at least offset some of the cost by using the damage they caused.

TexLawyer :

Sure. You can make your opinion about their business known as much as you want.

Customer:

at least there's that. all right thanks for your time. how to i finish this off so you get the $36

TexLawyer :

You use the set of faces below to "rate" the quality of my assistance.

Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3691
Experience: Experienced in both state and federal court.
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