How to get a refund for a product purchased and services not performed?

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How to get a refund for a product purchased and services not performed?

I had a guy come out and give me an estimate to put in some custom blinds on my patio. I paid in full, up front, over the phone with my moms credit card (this was my Christmas present). When his installer came out, he told me that what was promised could not be done. His solution was to “add 2×4 blocks” to the outer portion of my home and install the blinds to that. He started to do this but I guess he could tell that I didn’t have much faith in the idea. So, he told me that he was going to leave. I told him to have the owner call me so that we could figure something out. After hounding the guy for nearly 2 weeks, the owner told me that he never promised me what was actually promised to me. I asked for a refund but he refused. So, I had my mom cancel the credit card transaction. The credit card company did but only to come back later and state that the charge would be put back on because the owner told them that he had authorization, a purchase order for the blinds, and an affidavit from the installer stating I had told him to leave. Facts are, there is no contract – absolutely nothing with my signature. I never told the installer to leave; he decided on his own. When my mom went to pick up the blinds she was told that I had to sign something first. I’m very frustrated. Should I take this guy to small claims court?

Asked on February 24, 2011 under General Practice, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) A vendor or contractor can only charge for authorized work.

2) However, authorizations do not need to be in the form of a single, cohesive piece of writing--or even necessarily in writing at all. An oral or verbal agreement to do work is enforceable; an an oral agreement plus other evidence (such as getting the customer's credit card number) could certainly give rise to an obligation to pay.

3) If the issue is factual--the vendor says you told them to do work, you say you didn't--then it will come down to who has more evidence and who is more credible. Note, though, that the person suing generaly has the burden of proof, which means that the person suing has to affirmatively prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence--basically, the evidence has to be more than 50% in favor of the person suing.

4) Small claims court is fairly inexpensive. If there are several hundred dollars at stake, you can afford to take some time out for court, and you legitimately feel cheated, it may be worthwhile bringing a suit and seeing what you can prove. Note that if the court feels your suit is weak enough, there is a chance that, if you lose, you may have to pay the other party's court  or legal costs.


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