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I signed a personal services agreement on April 30 at the sellers

I signed a personal services...

I signed a personal services agreement on April 30 at the sellers place of business in MD. They were to provide me with 7 referral dates as part of the agreement. They spent 2 hrs interviewing me & taking down information to qualify me for their date matching program. it was high pressure in that I had to sign on to one of their programs their at the office. if I declined I would not have another change to enter into this program. I did in fact sign & paid by credit card $1400 for this program. Later that evening I began having 2nd thoughts about it & decided to call them & let them know I didn't want to start the program. They said there is no refund once you've signed the contract & states so in the agreement. My desire is to pay for the 2 hrs of interview & computer matching time as a fair pmt for getting out of the contract. I was supposed to go onto their website answer some additional criteria & then they would send me the 1st referral date. I did not do this because I wanted out of the contract. I believe they're incorporated in Florida. I was figuring 4 hrs @ $75 per hour would be a fair price for the service they rendered. Do I have a shot at not having to stay in this contract & pay for the service partially rendered? I am a 67 yr old senior citizen in case that would be helpful!

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Answered in 22 minutes by:
5/3/2013
TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4,430
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
Verified
Hi,

Thank you for your question.

Unfortunately, this sort of situation is completely controlled by the terms of written contract that you signed. If you sign a contract which states that the payment is non-refundable, then you are generally bound the by terms of that contract.

Since you have already paid them by credit card, the only way to get the money back would be to sue the company for it and claim that the contract was unconscionable and should not be enforced. You could also claim that they were taking advantage of your age (if that is a credible argument). If you actually had to litigate this however, it would cost you far more in attorneys fees than the $1400 you are trying to recoup.

Nevertheless, you could hire an attorney to send a simple demand letter for cancellation of the contract and return of the money, along with the threat of suit. Often this is enough to make a business change its mind and compromise with you, especially where there have not been any services rendered yet.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
ZDN
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Is this something I could take to small claims court & not hire a lawyer if I personally write a letter of rescension to negotiate for the partial services rendered.

Unfortunately note, a suit for rescission is a suit which an equitable declaration that a contract is not binding and an order to return the consideration provided. As such, it is outside the jurisdiction of the district court when it sits as a small claims court. You would have to file the claim in the general district court to seek this type of relief.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

How do i file this claim & would it be in MD or FL?

You would file it in Maryland, although the company may attempt to dismiss the case and move it to Florida if the contract has a term in it which calls for all disputes to be litigated in Florida (or in an arbitration).

The way to initiate a claim is to file a petition with the Maryland circuit court (I misstated earlier) in the same county as the business. A suit for rescission is not an ordinary run of the mill kind of lawsuit, so there may not be many forms out there to help you. However, the complaint will follow the general format you can see here: http://www.millerandzois.com/Sample-Uninsured-Motorist-Complaint-Circuit-Court.html
You would take out all the "Count"s and just replace them with Count 1 - Rescission and then state why you believe the contract should be rescinded.

Then you take this to the circuit court clerk and file it with the court, filling out the forms for service of process on the Defendant, and hiring a process server to do this.

It's not a simple matter at all.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Any idea on the cost to hire the process server?

They generally charge around $75-115.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

In the agreement they agree to arbitrate any disputes arising out of this agreement. The venue to be in Tampa, FL . and governed by the FL arbitration code.


 


I guess this means i would have to file this claim there?

Yes, if the contract states that then you will have to abide by it until there is a declaration by a court that it is not binding.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

So what would you do if you were me?

It's hard for me to say because I didn't go through the experience that led you to change your mind and don't understand all the facts.

I can tell you that you have a hard argument to win based on what you've told me. The high pressure sales tactics and your change of mind are generally not something a court is going to find adequate to let you out of the contract. The law allows it in circumstances that I've described (the contract is unconscionable, etc). But this is really something that a lawyer needs to handle to do correctly. Trying it on your own is likely only going to result in dismissal because the other side will simply file motions and cite case law and it will be very difficult for you to respond.

Further, your argument is based on an assumption that they put you under pressure and made you sign and you did not really know what you were getting into. This would undercut by you representing yourself and making sophisticated legal arguments.

That being said, I wouldn't give up. I'd send a certified letter and threaten them and see if they will negotiate with you.

Is there anything you feel like they misrepresented to you?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I guess not. How would I threaten them in the letter? Is there a time limtation to do this, like 3 days or something like that?

You are thinking about the 3-day Right to Rescission Rule. Many people get confused about that. It only applies to home sells contracts, construction contracts, and credit contracts.

Send it and threaten litigation, but give them 15 days to respond. Then every day they've received the letter, call them and ask if they have decided to give you a refund.
TexLaw
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4,430
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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TexLaw
TexLaw
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