What to do if a client is asking for a refund because they don’t want to sign a permit for work legally requiring one?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

What to do if a client is asking for a refund because they don’t want to sign a permit for work legally requiring one?

Basically, I think he just wanted me to break the law. He paid 50 for the work to begin, signed agreement stating no refunds and wants a refund now because he didn’t realize work required a permit less than 20 and we are paying. I spent tons of time and money preparing job for him to just

Asked on July 2, 2018 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

He has no grounds to sue you: the law is very plain that you *cannot* contract or agree to break the law, so if a permit is required, your refusal to violate the law by not applying for one is NOT valid grounds to terminate the contract or escape the "no refund" clause. You can't be required to do that which is illegal. It is not theft because theft requires a criminal mens rea or intent, which you do not have. Furthermore, since the permit is so cheap and you are paying, there was no loss or harm to him, which means that the failure to advise him was not material (important or critical) and so would not support either breach of contract or fraud claims. In short, based on what you write, he does not have any valid claims against you for refusing to violate the law or not disclosing an unimportant factor, and he is bound to the no-refunds contract he signed.
You could reciprocate if he does sue: countersue him for "malicious use of process" or "abuse of process" (differents states use different terms for this cause of action), for abusing the legal process to try to extort money from you and seek sanctions against his attorney for knowingly bringing a frivolous lawsuit (lawyers can't bring lawsuits that they know are not supported by the facts and/or law).
Or, you may decide that even though you are in the right, that it makes more economic and emotional sense to try to settle for returning his entire deposit and moving on. If you can settle, get the settlement in writing before paying.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption