Consumer Protection Law

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Consumer Protection Law

I'm deciding whether or not to get a lawyer involved in a

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case involving a small business...
I'm deciding whether or not to get a lawyer involved in a case involving a small business. We had AC installed in a new home by a small business over a month ago. We still have not been given any paperwork with product or warranty information and the owner has kept promising us for the last 3 weeks that he would give it to us. He sets up a time to come to our come but then either doesn't show up or cancels the appointment last minute. The business doesn't have a physical location, only a P.O. Box so there is no where we can go. What should I do? Would sending a certified letter help?
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
6/22/2016
Consumer Protection Lawyer: CalAttorney2, Lawyer replied 1 year ago
CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10,244
Experience: I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.

For a matter such as this, (you are simply trying to get the warranty information), hiring a lawyer may be a little overly aggressive (too much money for what you need), but there is a series of steps you can take to deal with a business like this (you do not have to do all of these, or any of them, but it gives you a methodical way of going about dealing with a business dispute like this):

  • *First: start with your written correspondence (a certified letter as you suggest is fine). Keep your complaint in writing. If you speak to someone by phone, follow up promptly with a "confirmation letter" (see my note below).
  • *Second: (you can do this at the same time), if there is any billing dispute (so if there is a dispute over the amount charged for installation) and, if you paid by credit card (not debit card) you can open a dispute with your credit card carrier (follow the instructions with your credit card company). (Some banks do allow for charge disputes on your debit card - but not all, the laws are not the same and debit card purchases do not have the same protections, if you paid by debit card, contact your bank and see if they do have dispute resolution remedies).
  • *Third: open a dispute with the BBB. The BBB offers consumer dispute resolution that is fast, free to consumers, and is usually effective, they have no enforcement authority, but all BBB disputes result in a public report regarding resolution so businesses do respond to them. You can open a BBB dispute here: bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
  • *Fourth: if you believe that the company is acting fraudulently, you can report them to the state Attorney General. The AG's office does not prosecute individual claims (so they will not get your money back for you), but they will investigate and potentially take administrative and/or criminal action against the company.
  • *Finally: you can file a small claims action against them for breach of contract. Small claims actions take approximately 3-8 months to go to trial. There is no guarantee of success in these disputes, but filing a small claims action does open an opportunity to negotiate a resolution (in addition to the above opportunities and can lead to mediation - many courts offer mediation programs for their small claims docket).

Confirmation letters: Keep written records of all communications - so if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a follow up "confirmation letter" summarizing your conversation, who you spoke to, when, and any agreements you reached. Keep copies of your outgoing correspondence, as well as anything that you receive.

I wish you the best of luck with this dispute, and hopefully a speedy resolution.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I was thinking of taking this to small claims court and just getting the AC removed by the current company and installed by a different company but I don't know if it's worth the hassel. As far as this being a "breach of contract"- we don't even have a copy of the contract! We don't have ANY paperwork and it's been over a month since the AC was installed. I will definitely send a Certified letter and report business to the BBB. Thanks.
Consumer Protection Lawyer: CalAttorney2, Lawyer replied 1 year ago

An oral contract is enforceable similarly to a written contract. There are some differences between the two, but you can still sue for breach of contract.

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Consumer Protection Lawyer: CalAttorney2, Lawyer replied 1 year ago

You are welcome, and I do wish you the best with this matter.

Thank you for using our forum, and please do not forget to rate my service (the series of 5 stars next to the chat window) so that I can receive credit for assisting you.

If you would like to direct future questions to me specifically, you can do so by starting your new question with "For William B. Esq." and a moderator will notify me.

Thank you again, and again I wish you the best.

Bill

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CalAttorney2
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