What makes for a small claims case?

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What makes for a small claims case?

I am an electrical contractor. I did a job for a customer at his rent house upgrading the electrical service. The bill came to $1300, plus tax. and the bill at the supply house came to $900 which the customer also agreed to pay. When it was all said and done the customer wrote a check for $700 and said that is all he is going to pay because somebody else said they would have done the job for that amount.

Asked on February 29, 2012 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the customer for breach of contract/account stated.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) would be the amount you are owed plus court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.  You can file your lawsuit in Small Claims Court because of the amount in question.  The maximum amount for which you can sue in Small Claims Court varies from state to state.  You can obtain the forms from Small Claims Court you will need to file your lawsuit.  There may be a Small Claims Court adviser who can help you complete the forms and explain court procedures.  File your lawsuit and serve the customer with it by using a process server.  You can find process servers listed under attorney services in the Yellow Pages or online.  It would be advisable to use a private process server instead of the marshal because the marshal will make a limited number of attempts to serve the summons and complaint (complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons) and if unsuccessful nothing will have been accomplished.  Don't try to serve by certified mail return receipt because the customer won't pick up the mail and nothing will have been accomplished.  The customer's argument that someone else could have done the job for less is irrelevant because you were hired to do the job and the customer is in breach of contract for failure to pay the total amount due.


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