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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102506
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I accept contract computer repair work from online portals.

Customer Question

I accept contract computer repair work from online portals. The online portal that I accept these work orders from is called OnForce. A company based in Massachusetts put out a work order for a computer repair job paying $75.00 for 1 hours work. I reside in Maryland. No one accepted the offer the company put forth so I proposed an offer of $300.00 flat rate. My offer was accepted by the company.
When I printed the paper work for the job, I noticed that it referenced $75.00 per hour up to maximum $300.00. I called the company to make sure that we were on the same page, $300.00 flat rate. We were not on the same page, the person that I spoke to cussed me out and hung up.
The problem starts here. On the online portal (OnForce) the company started proceedings to cancel the job from me and listed the reason for cancellation as “Extortion”. I called OnForce and told them of the misunderstanding between me and the client and of the client’s behavior. But I feel like I have been defamed. Any course of action here?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice and (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation. Here, you may indeed have a course of action in court, if you feel that this is worth your time and effort. Is this what you mean and are asking about?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What course of action?

Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state.

Here, this may be a cause of action for defamation. In Maryland, defamation is defined as : (1) a defamatory communication; (2) falsity of that communication; (3) fault of the party stating the falsity; and (4) harm to you. See Shapiro v. Massengill, 105 Md. App. 743, 772, 661 A.2d 202, 216-17, cert. denied, 341 Md. 28, 668 A.2d 36 (1995).

In fact, if the falsity is about your employment/work, then the "harm" element is presumed, and it is even easier to prove the action. Punitive damages may also be available.

However, this would not be in small claims court, and would have to be filed in Circuit or District court, which is a little more involved and an attorney is recommended. May I recommend the Maryland Bar referral program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

May can take this on a contingency basis, meaning they do not get paid unless you do. Usual set up is their take is 33% settlement, 40% win at trial, 45% at appeal; plus some office costs. Everything is negotiable.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

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Expert:  Ely replied 4 years ago.
Hello friend,

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