ShouldI wait for wait for receipts for items thatI brokebut and which I agreed to pay?

A couple items were damaged when helping customer unload truck, non-insured. I assured customer I will cover replacement/repair. Threatening with court because I can’t pay $900 day it happened. It’s only been a week. I’ve given him $200 and explained to him that I would need to work payment on the balance. We’ve agreed to nothing but the $200. He’s trying to get me to sign a letter of acknowlegement for damages. Harassing to a point. He’s produced no receipts for either the broken vase (he says wife says she paid $335 for it) or item being fixed (estimate for $363).

Asked on October 20, 2011 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You are generally under no legal obligation to pay for damages like this until and unless sued and the other side wins; and even if you had been under a legal obligation (e.g. you had provided some guaranty for your unloading work or services), you still have a right to have the losses proved before paying. If you don't believe the costs being quoted, you should probably do what you seem to be doing: ask for proof of the damages (e.g. receipts); send the customer a letter (a nice, professional one) in some fashion you can prove delivery (e.g. certified mail with delivery confirmation) asking for the proof of damages so you can evaluate the situation; if they won't provide any such, wait to see if they actually sue you. If you are sued, you can try to settle then; or go ahead with defending yourself in the legal action, in which case the customer will have to provide evidence at some point.

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