Am I obligated to reimburse a customer who is unhappy with her landscape service?

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Am I obligated to reimburse a customer who is unhappy with her landscape service?

I own a landscape company. Long story short, a customer is threatening to sue me if I do not reimburse her for plants that I planted and she had replaced by another company. She wants me to pay the other company’s bill. She is claiming that what I planted died. I have offered to replace the plants, but she does not want that. Am I obligated to pay what she is asking?

Asked on December 8, 2011 under Business Law, Ohio

Answers:

Paula McGill / Paula J. McGill, Attorney at Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have to weigh the strength of her claim with the risk of losing in court. What warranties were given to her about the plants? What obligations were in the contract?Why did the plants die, if they died at all?What will the other company say about the plants?Did she give you the opportunity to inspect the plants to determine why they died?These questions, among others, will determine if the court will (1) consider you in breach of the contract and (2) order you to pay all or part of what she demands. If you don't want the hassle of going to court or the expense of a lawyer, which is required if your company is a corporation or LLC, you might consider settling the matter for all or a portion of what she is asking. Also, to defend against problems like this in the future, you might consider retaining a lawyer to draft a contract that limits your liability for plants that die after x days and obligates the customer to notify you of the problem within y days.

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