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Joseph, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7280
Experience:  I have 15 years experience in the legal field, currently specializing in criminal and family law
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Is a verbal agreement binding in the state of michigan I

Customer Question

Is a verbal agreement binding in the state of michigan? I had a housecleaning service which came to clean our house. They did not clean and essentially wasted time. I asked them to leave and gave them a check because I was concerned for my and my young son's safety. I proceeded to then call their boss and cancel the check. She is now suing me for the money. We had a vebal agreement over the phone for cleaning services. They did not clean, is there any michigan law that is on my side?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Joseph replied 8 years ago.
A verbal agreement can be binding. A contract is created between two parties when there is an offer and an acceptance.

In your case, the offer was made when the cleaning service told you their fees. When you agreed to the amount, that was an acceptance and the creation of a binding contract.

In any contract, there must be a benefit to both parties and there must be performance by both parties. In your situation, the benefit to the service was money and the benefit to you was a clean house.

If the cleaning service performed properly, you were obligated to perform (pay the money) as well. However, if the service did not fulfill their obligations under the contract, then you didn't need to fulfill your obligation either.

It would be ideal if there was a written agreement, then you would both know what constitutes a breach of the contract and what your remedies are. Since this doesn't exist, it appears that it will need to be decided by the court.

Since mediation did not succeed, it appears a trial is necessary. The trial is your only opportunity to present your side of the case. Bring whatever testimony, witnesses or other items of evidence you have. Your burden will be to demonstrate that the cleaning service was not performing, you informed them of the non-performance, they failed/refused to correct the problem and you had no recourse but to fire them.

If you can do this, you will likely prevail. On the opposite side, if the service can somehow demonstrate that they were fulfilling their obligations and the only failure was on YOUR part, then they will likely prevail.

As you can see, a lot of this comes down to credibility. That is one reason I urge you to bring ALL supporting evidence with you to the trial.

I hope you found my answer helpful. If so, please click on the green ACCEPT for my answer. This is necessary for me to be paid for my work and so that I can get credit for assisting you. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Leaving a bonus and positive feedback is not required, but doing so is certainly appreciated! Thank you and good luck!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'm really looking for anything specific in the law that can back up my actions. The cleaning team was hostile toward my son and I. We were concerned for our safety, thus we handed them the check for them to leave.

I do not have any evidence that I can bring beside something concrete in the law that would stipulate that under these conditions it is reasonable not to submit payment for services that were not rendered.

I asked them to leave because they were clearly racking up time (it was a per hour agreement) My home has a by weekly cleaner that we were trying to replace due to the fact they were getting married and honeymooning and would be unavailable for the next couple months...

Is there any law in Michigan that stands by me?
Expert:  Joseph replied 8 years ago.
You are definitely not going to find a law directly on point with your situation, it is really a simple matter of contract law, if one party is not performing, the other has the right to rescind.

How old is your son? If he's old enough, he could come to court to support your allegations.

If you'd like, I'll do some research and see if I can find something to support your position, realizing it will NOT be directly on point.

Please let me know what you'd like to do.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hi Joseph,

My son is 9 months old. Unfort he can't help much but look very sweet. I's really appreciate if you could do some research and see if I can find something to support your position, realizing it will NOT be directly on point.

I think that will be very helpful. Thank you
Expert:  Joseph replied 8 years ago.
Yes, 9 months is definitely NOT old enough!! Though I'm sure he does look very sweet!

Please give me some time, I will do the research that you request.

There is no need to reply to this post, I'll get back to you with the information or any questions I may have.

Thank you for your patience!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
thanks, I'll await your reply
Expert:  Joseph replied 8 years ago.
I spent the past hour and a half searching through the Michigan statutes, your state certainly has a ton of laws dealing with livestock, hunting and the ecology!

I also found law on small claims actions (which this likely is), jurisdiction for small claims, service of process, counter-claims and the like. But I found nothing dealing with contracts between an individual and a small business. It may exist, but I didn't come across it after a fairly in-depth search. In case you're interesting in looking, here's the site I used,

In the absence of any law on point, I would again state that you need to rely on simple contract law:
- you had a verbal agreement
- the agreement called for them to perform certain cleaning services in exchange for payment
- they were unable/unwilling to perform to standard
- you cancelled the contract

All things considered, my best guess as to the outcome is that you will have to pay for the amount of service actually provided.

I hope this helps!
Expert:  Joseph replied 8 years ago.
Did you have any other questions for me? I'm happy to continue to provide any assistance you require. Otherwise, I'd ask that you click the green ACCEPT so that I may be credited for my efforts.

Thank you and good luck!