Can a consumer cancel a check for deposit to a service company?

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Can a consumer cancel a check for deposit to a service company?

A homeowner cancelled a deposit check for ceiling repair and roof repair services. We are 2/3 the way

done with work when check was cancelled with no warning or notice. The customer says that we left mess at jobsite.

Asked on May 16, 2017 under Business Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the homeowner for breach of contract: they are obligated to pay you what they agreed to pay you for the work. Since they have materially (or in an important or significant way) breached the agreement by canceling the deposit, you may treat the contract as terminated by their breach while suing for all monies due under it. (The court might reduce that amount by any savings you realized by not having to pay for further materials or labor.) If your work was negligent or unprofessional, that could act as an offset vs. what they owe you, or even--if it was bad enough--mean you had  breached first (by doing such bad work) and they owe you nothing; but let them claim that in court and try to prove it. They would need to be able to prove the problems with your work by a "preponderance of the evidence" (or "more likely than not") for this to be successful defense to their obligation to pay as per the contract.


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