Can a business demand an inflated amount for services they started when the rate was never presented to or agreed upon by both parties?

I met with a billing service to credential me. I kept asking about the rates and a contract. They started the services and avoided discussing rates with me. I am still waiting for completion of services but received a bill charging me $60/hr for over 20 hours alleged work. Both the amount of time and the hourly charge is grossly overestimated. I offered to pay the standard rate but the owner sent me a very unprofessional and rude email demanding full payment.

Asked on July 17, 2012 under General Practice, Arizona


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, of course they can demand it.  And they will claim that you had a verbal contract.  But the elements of contract - offer, acceptance, meeting of the minds - do not seem to exist here, so you have some negotiating power.  Additionally, you have a right to an itemized bill for the alleged services rendered. So send a letter by certified mail - do not correspond by email - asking for such an itemized bill.  Say nothing just yet about the alleged "contract." Once you have it and can dispute the charges then check around as to what is a fair amount for these type of services and make them an offer.  Good luck.

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