Can you stop payment on a check for services rendered when a terrible job has been done?

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Can you stop payment on a check for services rendered when a terrible job has been done?

I am a car dealer and I have done tons of business with a body shop over the past few years. I picked up a car that he had painted the back door on. The car was parked inside the dark shop and was wet at the time of pick up. I handed him the check, after briefly glancing at the car. 20 minutes later back in my driveway I realized the white paint didn’t match the car at all. I drove right back to him, and tried to work it out with him. He got defensive, called me a cheap bastard, and refused to try to fix it. I stopped payment on the check. This is not an attempt to defraud. Can I be charged?

Asked on November 25, 2011 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Thank you forsubmitting your question.  Each state will vary when it comes to what an individual can do to resolve matters with payment for services when the customer is dissatisfied.  Also, along with the state’s individual laws, there may be a written or oral contract involved that will also describe how the transaction should be handled. 

Most states require that you notify the person or business that provided the services with your dissatisfaction, and that you made attempts to resolve your disappointment with the business or person and give them the opportunity to correct the mistake.  Additionally, to assist you if you should decide to take this matter to the courts, you should make sure that all of your communications with the business are in writing so that the judge does not have to decide which party to believe.  In most states, the courts will favor the business for providing a service. 

While you may not perceive this situation as an attempt to defraud, the court may disagree, and you may not have the option in your state to stop payment.  Usually you cannot stop payment on a check that has been given to a person or business for services rendered.  The court will likely view it that you accepted the quality of service when you gave the check to the other business.  To avoid further legal action against you, you may want to pay for the service and file a small claims action against the business to recover your money for the type of service you received.

If you should have further questions, you can always contact an attorney in your area to assist with recovery of the funds paid for this service. 

 


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