Can failing to pay for interior design services, including furniture and accessories, be considered as theft by deception?

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Can failing to pay for interior design services, including furniture and accessories, be considered as theft by deception?

A long time friend of the family employed my services as a designer to decorate and accessorize 2 multi-million dollar properties. He paid as billed initially but refuses to pay the balance of $98,000 saying that I charged too much. I have been advised that liens in KS only apply to construction not personal property and services.

Asked on July 20, 2011 Kansas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Some States have laws that if one receives product or services without ever making a payment for such, there is a prima facia case for a theft claim which is a crime.

In your situation, there has been payments for services and product. So I do not see the failure to pay the balance a criminal act. It sounds the person who owes you money has a cash flow problem at this point in time since there had been some prior payment.

It sounds that you need to speak with the person who owes you money to see if voluntary monthly payments can be made before considering legal action.

Most likely you cannot have a lien for what you provided the customer since you are not a licensed contractor in your State. You are an interior designer. If efforts for voluntary payment are not met to your satisfaction in the next month or so, then you should consult with an attorney about what to do. $98,000 is a lot of money to be left unpaid. Good luck.


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