Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
To answer directly, yes, that would be a potential fraud charge. Since you intended to stop payment for services you received (whether or not you received all services is a different issue, since you received some services and were supposed to pay them, you were now barred from simply stopping payment), they are now entitled to seek collection, and claim that you knowingly engaged in 'check fraud' because you defrauded them from their payment. My apologies but it would be best to pay them what they allege and then argue about what they failed to do, as otherwise you are placed in a far worse legal position going forward.
Thank you for your patience.
You are most welcome. As far as 'intention', what counts here is your intent to cancel the check after you gave it to them. And if that was intended, it is very much fraud because you had no legal right to stop payment. Now, you could contact and demand a refund, or drop by with a new check that had the proper amount, but simply cancelling the first check without replacement or notice would violate the law. I do agree that if they failed to perform what they promised is fraudulent potentially, but improper behavior on both sides do not make it right, or somehow even it out. That is why I see this as ultimately a weakness on your end--whether or not they did all their work has to be proven, but whether or not you cancelled the check or not no longer has to be proven because you already did so.
What you need to do is send them a check for what you initially agreed to pay, then negotiate or argue either for additional charges or what wasn't repaired. Likewise you can then take them to small claims court for the difference. But if they refuse to cash your smaller check (and they can, as cashing it may be seen as 'waiver' of remainder of debt on their part), then give them a full check and then sue for the amount you felt you were overcharged.
My apologies but I do not speak via phone as it may violate my state bar requirements. I can help you here, or if you wish, I can communicate via Skype. Please advise on what options are best for you, thank you.
In that case I believe I answered your questions. Is there anything else you would like me to clarify? If not, kindly do not forget to positively rate so that I can obtain credit for my work. Thank you!