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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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While I was out of the room technician had my wife approve

Customer Question

While I was out of the room technician had my wife approve and pay for the replacement on a kitchen faucet and two connector hoses. Work took less than one hour to complete. Returned to kitchen only to find out my wife had paid $1531.69 for this service call. I caught up to the technician as he was leaving and told him this was price gouging and he told me to call his boss and left. My wife was recovery from knee surgery at the time and taking medication. She had no idea what she was doing at the time she signed the paper work and wrote the check. After numerous phone calls I was able to contact a manager. Told him my position and that their charges were excessive. He insisted I give him what I thought was a fair price. I told him $400.00 he insisted his price was more than fair. At this point I told him I had stopped payment on the check. He immediately told me I was committing a crime of theft of services and that I could be arrested and jailed. At this point I told him out conversation was over and hung up. I have since written a letter to the company admitting I owe them something for their service and was will to negotiate a price with them or go to Court. I have not heard back from them.
I want to know am I within my rights not to pay them for such an outrageously high service bill even if my wife signed the contract and paid them with her check? I was the one who ordered the service with the company not my wife. As indicated above she recently had knee surgery and was taking pain medications at the time of this transaction. What are my options?
Retail cost on the parts are as follows:
Moen Kitchen Faucet $129.00
Connector Pipes $7.99 each $ 15.98
TOTAL $144.98
Actions I have taken:
1. Talked to technician
2. Called company numerous times of a period of 2 days
3. Stopped payment on the check
4. Talked to manager
5. Sent to company
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
Dear Customer, thank you for using our service. I would like to assist you today. Responses may have a short delay for review and research.
This type of service may fall under your state's "cooling off" laws (although I am somewhat worried that it may not - most of these types of services are deemed for "personal use" and therefore exempted from this otherwise "in-home purchase" (see: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0176-protections-home-purchases-cooling-rule).
You can try filing a dispute with the BBB (the BBB offers free dispute resolution for consumers, it is fast, and while they do not have enforcement authority, filing a claim will not preclude you from pursuing other options). You can file a BBB claim here: https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
You can also file a complaint with your Attorney General's Consumer Protection division, but based on what you have posted, the provider's service fees are high, but it does not appear that they hid or concealed any of their fees.
You can try suing them in small claims court, but again, the terms of their agreement are high, but they do not appear to be fraudulent. Your wife's medical condition does not constitute a barrier to her ability to contract (mental impairments only act as a defense to contract claims when the other party knows, or reasonably should have known, that the party they were contracting with lacked capacity to enter into the contract - was unable to comprehend the terms of the agreement - which is a fairly high standard to meet).
Short 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.