Am I responsible to pay for unauthorized work?

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Am I responsible to pay for unauthorized work?

I had a pool guy come over to clean my pool one time for $150 and he said that he would check my pool system out, so I said okay. He ended up doing work on my pool filter without authorization, and wants an additional $400. So he is threatening to take me to court and put an lien on my house. Can he do this and what are my options?

Asked on November 29, 2012 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, if the work was unauthorized, legally, you do not need to pay for it. Practically, the issue may be whether or not you saying "ok" to his checking out the pool system constituted approval--presumably, you say no, while he believes it did. That means that if he sues you, it will come down to how is more credible to the court--him, in claiming that you authorized the work; or you, in saying that you did not. Assume therefore that there is at least a chance he will win the suit; given that, if the work he did had some value to you, it may be better to pay than defend the case, spending the time and money to do so.


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