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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10238
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I recently went to a small business owner to have a dress designed

Customer Question

I recently went to a small business owner to have a dress designed and made for my daughters prom. I provided half the cost up front approximately 3 to 4 weeks prior to the prom and was to provide the balance upon receipt of the finished design. Unfortunately, the dress was not complete with less than 24 hours on before prom. We did a final fitting around 1130 am that day and was to return for a final fit and to pickup the dress. In between that time I received a text message stating that they'd given up on completing the dress and that I should come to meet the husband for a refund at the store around 6 pm. I in turn ask about the dress and receive no feedback. So, I show up at the store to meet the husband who's been told to provide my refund. At this point my daughters prom is 24 hours away and we have no dress and they are refusing to provide the dress for me. After some bickering back and forth the wife shows up with the dress and a promise of a potential seamstress who will come to the store to complete the dress. First commitment was for 730 pm. A second request came for more time. Second commitment was for 830 pm. Someone showed up around 820 pm. Looked at the dress and decided that she wouldn't have time to complete that evening and asked to take it home to complete the following day. Which of course is prom day. I refused to take the chance and not have a dress completed after all of the previous false promises. End result I came home with the dress, stayed up over night and completed the dress so that she would have the dress for prom. I'd also, already left a deposit for a tuxedo and had a bow tie and pocket hanky made from a piece of the material. At any rate Prom was Friday. I returned to her shop on Monday to request my refund and she refuses to give me my deposit back. Do I have a leg to stand on should I take her to court?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
You have at least a claim in equity (these are "quasi contractual" remedies that courts use when there are problems in using strict rules of contractual interpretation).While the shop did provide at least some service, they did not provide all of the promised services, therefore you should be entitled to a partial refund, you can try to recover a partial refund through a small claims case for breach of contract and equitable causes of action for unjust enrichment.Before filing a civil action, I would recommend trying a dispute with the BBB (the BBB does not have any enforcement power, but it is fast, free to you, and can be effective in getting a result for some consumers, if it doesn't work, you haven't compromised your claim in any way), you can file a BBB complaint here: bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-startedShort of filing a lawsuit, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have pictures of the unfinished dress. A text message of her admitting that she handled things improperly. Does that stand for anything?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
Yes, this is all evidence of the partial performance. I would recommend the other remedies outside of litigation only as ways of trying to reduce your costs and expenses prior to pursuing a lawsuit (remember, you are not going to recover 100% of the purchase price, but a portion of it, so calculate the money you spend on pursuing a remedy based on a percentage of the purchase - I can't give you an absolute number - for example 50%, that is something that is going to be decided based on the specific facts - but keep in mind it is a fraction of the value, not the entire amount).

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