Are we within our legal rights to withhold payment ifa product that was installed is faulty?

Our pool company discarded the $5000 liner that was on warranty, stating that there was no point in sending it in for warranty adjustment because in their opinion it was chemical damage and we would not receive anything. Then they installed a faulty liner which we informed them of 3 days after they completed the replacement. They are furious that I have not paid them for it yet . They have yet to come look at it or do anything about it.

Asked on July 16, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Iowa


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should be able to withhold payment for any work or product (or materials) that is not unacceptable, not usuable, or not what you contracted for. You would legitimately have to pay for any acceptable work done, even if that payment is "bundled in" with a payment for unacceptable work. If there is a disagreement about whether something is unacceptable or not, or perhaps whether it not quite as valuable as it ought to be (but still has some value; in which case, if you accept and make use of it, you'd need to at least pay commensurate w/its value), you may find yourself in litigation--simply because one party to a contract says that something is worthless does not mean that the other party has to agree. That does not mean to not do what  you feel is right or appropriate, but to be prepared that the pool company may not accept your conclusion. You may wish to consult with an attorney about your options and strategy; for a $5,000 lining as you mention, it would be worthwhile to do so.

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