If a repair shop let me “borrow” some equipment to make a repair, can they later charge me for the use of the equipment?

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If a repair shop let me “borrow” some equipment to make a repair, can they later charge me for the use of the equipment?

A repair shop in the local area allowed me to use their equipment on their property site to repair my engine. Now, they are suing me for $982 in shop equipment costs. This was not stated in the initial agreement and I didn’t sign anything that would constitute this amount was due. Is this something he would win? Should I hire an attorney? Should I just pay it and move on?

Asked on June 19, 2011 under Business Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If there was no agreement beforehand to pay--and that includes no implied or implicit agreement--then you should probably not have to pay. For example, if there is a sign on the shop wall about the cost of renting equipment, or the proprietor mentioned that "you could use the equipment as long as you cover the cost," or something like that, that *may* be enough to find an agreement that you'd pay rental. But without either an explicit or implicit agreement, you would probably not be liable.

2) You may therefore have a good defense. Whether you should defend or else "pay it and move on" depends on how you value your time; whether you'd undertake the defense yourself or hire an attorney (if you hire a lawyer, you'd likely pas as much or more defending as paying); how much fighting will stress you; what your financial resources are. Another option is to try to settle for a lesser amount.


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