What to do if our business brought in a generator light tower to be serviced at a mechanic’s shop about 21 months ago but they still have not completed the service?

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What to do if our business brought in a generator light tower to be serviced at a mechanic’s shop about 21 months ago but they still have not completed the service?

We paid over $3,000 up front to get started. They still have not completed the service they were doing on it and still have it. Every time one of our workers shows up to check on it, they say the man that he needs to speak with is not there; he’ll check back in a couple days (but nothing ever happens). So, we sent a certified letter at the end of last month, stating that they either need to refund us our money and give us the light plant tower back or fix it. We were giving them 2 weeks to hear back and, if we didn’t, would be contacting the courts and this would become a legal issue.

Asked on August 26, 2014 under Business Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

From what you  write, it seems that you could sue them to recover some combination of the money you have paid them; the loses you have suffered from not having the light tower back (e.g. if you  had to buy or lease a replacement, the cost thereof; any business, work, or income you lost because you didn't have a light tower you needed); the value of the tower (if it's been lost or destroyed by them); and possibly, in some cases, additional compensation or attorneys fees.

You would sue thhem based on one or more of the the following:

1) Breach of contract--that is, not honoring their obligations or doing what they agreed to do.

2) Breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing--that is, violating the obligation imposed by law to deal with the other party to a contract fairly and honestly.

3) Fraud--if they lied to you about what they could or would do to get you to give them the business (this ground of action could support additional compensation or attorneys fees in some cases).

4) Conversion, which is a type of theft--if they re-sold or otherwise took the tower, or else took your deposit with no intention of ever doing work (this could also support additional compensation or fees in some situations).

You should consult with an attorney about your business's options. Note that if your business is a corporation or LLC, you *must* have an attorney to sue--non-lawyers cannot represent corporations or LLCs, so you could not file a suit "pro se" (on your own).

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