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Blake, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 43
Experience:  Counsel at Warningstar Intelligence
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I signed a contract new photocopier lease back in March

Customer Question

I signed a contract for a new photocopier lease back in March 2016. The company I signed with knew that I was having problems with my current copier provider and that I couldn't promise when I would be able to get out of that lease.I now want to cancel the lease I signed in March 2016. The company's name is***** have not delivered the machine. I was initially told that the contract doesn't take effect until the machine is delivered. But the provider is now telling me that I must take delivery of the machine or I will be charged a 50% restocking fee. Do I have any recourse here? The quality of their customer service has naturally dropped significantly now.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  legalgems replied 4 months ago.

Was there a time frame for delivery?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I told them that I couldn't give them a delivery date because I was fighting with the other company (Konica Minolta) to end the lease. But let me check the contract. One second...
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I will send you images of the contract ok?
Expert:  legalgems replied 4 months ago.

I'm not able to view specific legal documents; I can provide information as to under what circumstances the contract could be void if that helps.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Oh I see. I noticed the Add Files option so I assumed I could send a document.
Expert:  Blake replied 4 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am an attorney practicing in New York City and a graduate of the ***** ***** University Law School. I want to try to make sure that your question gets completely answered because this is an excellent question and something that is very important for you to be fully informed about.

First of all, as a general rule, if you refuse delivery of an item that you contracted for because the item is defective or because it was not delivered on time then you can be excused from the contract entirely. But this does not help you in your case if the item is neither defective nor delivered late.

In California vendors must provide adequate notice to you if they plan to charge a restocking fee. In this case, if the restocking fee is not properly mentioned in the contract you signed then cannot charge you a restocking fee. You should look through your contract to see if a restocking fee is mentioned - or better yet, have an attorney in your area look at it for you. There are many free legal clinics available in your state that specialize in consumer protection law. At the very least, you should do a google search for consumer protection clinics or pro bono consumer protection lawyers in your area. There is a good chance that you will find someone willing to represent you in this matter for free.

Here are several links to the your state's consumer protection resources, these include consumer protection hotlines and places to file complaints against businesses who you feel are treating you unfairly or illegally:

Finally, the fact that you signed a contract in which they simply promised to provide you a copier at some point - i.e. whenever you got out of your contract with your old supplier - may mean you have an illusory contract on your hands. An illusory contract is something that looks like a contract, but is not enforceable because one party has not really promised to do anything. You should mention this point to any attorney you end up working with because she will be in the best position to look at the actual terms of the document you signed and determine whether it is actually an illusory contract.

In any event, it is certainly worth standing up for yourself in this case - and better yet having an attorney stand up for you. Hang in there and there is a good chance that the company will back down. Most companies do not want to receive complaints against them with state consumer protection bureaus. Plus, since you feel they are providing poor customer service and treating you unfairly, you always have the option of leaving bad reviews on other websites, like this one:

Just hearing your story makes me think twice about ever doing business with them. Of course I am only getting your side of the story, but it seems pretty clear that they are trying to charge you a large restocking fee for an item they haven't even sent you.

In any case, I will encourage you one last time to seek an attorney before doing anything else. A strongly written letter from an attorney's office is often enough to put an end to these kind of demands, since they really don't have any damages at this point. Plus, never forget that if they want any money from you, they will have to go through the process of collecting it, which means they will need to get a judgment from a court and then have a sheriff enforce that judgment. That is a very costly and time consuming process, and there is no guarantee that they can even get a judgment based on the facts you provided. It is very unlikely that they will actually go through this kind of expense to recover an amount of money that is probably lower than their court costs would be. Plus, they would only be angering a potential customer.

Please let me know if there is anything you would like me to clarify in this answer. I hope this is helpful and I wish you all the best in this matter.


NOTE: Sometimes we receive your questions before we receive your additional "optional information." If this answer does not appear to consider your optional information, please let me know as I was probably not able to view it when your question was first received.

Expert:  Blake replied 4 months ago.

Hello again, I am just following up to make sure you are completely satisfied with the answer you received. If there is any way I can help you further on this please let me know.


NOTE: Sometimes we receive your questions before we receive your additional "optional information." If this answer does not appear to consider your optional information, please let me know as I was probably not able to view it when your question was first received.

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