Can I charge someone with theft of services?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I charge someone with theft of services?

I own a small maid company we had
cleaned this lady’s home. Carpets,
baseboards, kitchen etc. Nonetheless,
the job was completed, the client told
us everything was great and thanked us.
10 Hours later the next day we start
receiving statements that they were
going to cancel the check they paid us
with because they were not content
after they told us everything was
great. We tried to align with them and
resolve the issue they refused, kept
coming up with excuses, and etc. They
sent us pictures where the dates didn’t
match. Nonetheless services were
rendered and they ended up cancelling
the check throwing my account into
negative balance. Can I file a report
for theft of services without them
trying to state they were just simply
not happy with the services? After the
clearly stated they were content? I
have screen shots of our conversation,
pictures with wrong dates, and a
picture of the final check that states
final payment on it.

Asked on April 1, 2016 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

This is most likely a civil case--basically breach of contract (not paying what they agreed to pay)--and not a criminal case (theft, whether of services or otherwise). Theft of services is things like tapping into a cable line or someone'e internet illegally and taking, without knowledge or consent, someone else's services; however, disputing whether work was done to a satisfactory level and should be paid for is a contractual dispute. Your recourse is to sue them, such as in small claims court, for the money they owe you, based on breach of contract  and also "unjust enrichment" (they should not be allowed to benefit by having had you clean their home without paying for it).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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