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Alex J. Esq.
Alex J. Esq., Attorney at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 16623
Experience:  Experienced Licensed Attorney
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I had a verbal agreement to pet sit lady for $50 dollars a

Customer Question

Hello! So I had a verbal agreement to pet sit for a lady for $50 dollars a day, in exchange for $50 a day. We went above and beyond, spent more time with the pets than asked, cleaned her house while she was away, and stayed with them during a storm and flash flood watch. She has an alarm in her house that logs anytime someone opened or shut a door, thus showing we were there every day. She is claiming we were neglectful due to the fact that on two nights, we left at 9:43 PM and returned the next day at 12:43 PM. She said 15 hours is too long for a dog to be inside. Though, ironically, she had asked us to come at dinner time, then come back the next morning. Let's say we did dinner at 5, and returned the next morning at 9, this is still 15 hours. I have text messages from teh entire time we were there, showing we were keeping good care of the pets. When she got home she sent me texts (that i have ALL saved) saying the house and pets looked great. Though, two days later, after dropping her keys back off, she said she would not pay due to the fact of the "neglect" of leaving her pets for 15 hours, the same amount of time that she recommended, just pushed 3 hours later. She owes us $500 and refuses to pay. She also said when she returned she noticed dishes were put away and thanked us. I have pictures from how the house looked when she left, where there were rotting dishes everywhere. We hand cleaned and then washed these in the dishwasher. She claims she tried using a pan that had grease and that was a fire hazard, and that there was a light that was on that the glass cover fell off and melted a very small part of a coffee maker. We were there when it happened and immediately removed the coffee pot and turned the light off. She claims this was a fire hazard that could have burnt her kitchen down. She also said we "trashed" her house, although I spent at least 4 hours cleaning it, leaving it much cleaner than before. I have documentation of this, and witnesses I called while I was cleaning the house discussing what all I should do to make it look extremely nice for when they returned. She also said when she left the trash can was empty, and when she returned she claimed it was completely full, when in reality it had one trash bag of her trash that we took out. She had done a huge load of towels before she left, and after we had to stay there one night because of a flash flood warning, and the fact she has chickens and a rabbit outside, as well as the fact dogs get scared during storms we stayed the night and I said I would wash our blankets and pillows we used. I have documentation of her saying "oh don't worry about laundry- just thank you for keeping the pets safe" she then said her neighbor looked into the window and saw piles of laundry, which is also untrue. I have photos of piles of her own laundry left over her house when she left the house to us. She said there was lent in the dryer which was also a fire hazard. Lastly, her dog had a glass medicine bottle that broke, we put the pills in a zip loc bag and cleaned the glass several times, as well as wiped the counter off several times. She claims that there was glass in her cats food and now she has to check her cats for glass ingestion. This is also completely false. She said we used the house to "party" and left it "trashed" when I spoke to her on the phone when she said she did not want to pay us, despite the fact she texted me when she first arrived everything looked great and everyone was safe. I have so many texts between us showing we were taking very good care of these animals. Photos of the house while we were there, showing it was clean. When she originally posted the ad asking for a pet sitter, she said someone could spend the night, then we said it would be easier for us to spend the night she said she would rather not have to clean the guest bedroom out. SHe never said we were not allowed to stay, just that she didn't want to have to clean up the room for us. We stayed over the day of the flood, and then a day after when it was still raining extremely hard, thinking it would be no issue. She never specified dont spend the night, and when we did, we slept on the couch in her den. We also hung out with these dogs for an entire day, and she claims we did not set the alarm that day, well that was because we were there. She even told us we could watch her tv. I have all this documented. She even let us know on the day she was supposed to arrive home her plane was delayed and she would have to come home a day later, and asked us to watch the pets for an extra day. We did not mess with her space, left her home cleaner than before, checked on the pets every day, which her alarm has records of, I have texts telling her how the pets were doing, taking photos of the pets. Now she refuses to pay and I do not know what to do. My boyfriend even had to miss work to pet sit, and we spent a lot of money on gas.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello. My name is***** am a US licensed attorney and I will be happy to answer your question.
I am sorry to hear about this unfortunate situation.
Please note, I cannot comment on your specific situation, as this services is only limited to general information and for any legal advice / legal service you should contact your local attorney.

What is the total amount of money that you think this pet owner owes you for your services?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She owes us $550. I am working on with an attorney in this but want other advice. She has come up with a list of reasons for why she won't pay, and sent this to my boss, an attorney, explaining why she won't pay. I am wondering if her reasons will possibly cause us to have to pay counter claims. Also, I am curious is a judge will she her reasons for not paying and side with her, or if it comes down to the contract, which said we will check on her pets 3x/day in exchange for $50/day. My boss said any judge will see through this and go back to the fact We fulfilled out side of the contract. She never stated any of the reasons why she is refusing to pay when we originally made the agreement as reasons she would not pay. She also is now claiming her protective tape on her couch came off and it was damaged. I have pictures of the couch when we first got there showing the tape was already coming off. She said we left her kitchen a mess, but I have photos of the kitchen when we first got there and it was a mess, I have messages from her when she returned saying how good the kitchen looked, etc.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

It is important that I inform you that I cannot provide you with any type of legal advice or legal service or tell you what to do or not to do in your specific case, as such legal advice / legal service can only be provided by your local attorney, upon a full review of your entire situation. This service is limited to legal professionals, such as myself, providing JustAnswer.com customers with general answers to customer's legal question. Do you understand above terms, agree with the above terms and would like me to proceed with my general answer ? (please only answer "Yes" or "No").

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow up.

Generally, if the services were performed for which verbal agreement was made, then the person who received the benefit of such services would have to make payment for the services according to the terms of the verbal agreement.

If the dog owner wants to make counter-claims, she can, however, the burden of proof would be on her to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the contracted party in fact caused any damages and if the contracting party has evidence that they did not, then it is very likely that the small claims court judge will see through any lies and false claims and would award the dog sitter the money to which the dog sitter is entitled for the services performed.

I wish you the best of luck!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** agreement is x agrees to pay y for doing these services, and then x says well I'm not paying for these reasons: a,b,c. does there need to be clear proof of x saying I will not pay because: a,b,c before services are rendered
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow.

Yes. both sides would have to provide clear proof in court when it comes to any claims, before a claim would be approved by the court.

I wish you the best of luck!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I mean our agreement was basically through Facebook it was to feed pets 3x/day. We have that proof. Now she is saying she won't pay because of list of reasons. None of these reasons were stated originally as things to not do or we would not get paid, none of these things were brought up until after she returned
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
For example: she said we could hang out there, now she says there was trash in her trash can and that proves we partied there or something. Would she have to provide proof of saying do not make a lot of trash for that to be an applicable reason to not pay
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow up.

No. Generally, the person who contracted for the pet sitting services would have to prove that the service provider has caused her some type of financial damages which should offset any amount owed for the services.

I wish you the best of luck!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What if she says they took tape off my couch that was supposed to protect it and has pictures of couch damage, but we have proof the tape was already coming off and couch was not damaged because of us
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We are scared she will try to make proof of things that was not our fault
Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow up.

Generally, the judge will hear both sides and the judge will make a decision based on the evidence, arguments and testimony presented by all parties.

Expert:  Alex J. Esq. replied 1 year ago.