Whatis my obligation to pay an electrician ifI cancelledan appointment but he didn’t find out and showed up anyway?

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Whatis my obligation to pay an electrician ifI cancelledan appointment but he didn’t find out and showed up anyway?

To get a VA secured home loan I was asked to have electrical work done (I didn’t own the property at the time). I found an electrician on-line. I called him to schedule a meet at the house 2:00 pm. At 1:15 I was told that the VA waived the requirement. I called the electrician immediately but he didn’t pick up, so I left a message informing him he didn’t need to come. He lives about an hour away so he may have been on the road for 15 minutes. He called at 2:00 and said that he didn’t hear the call because he drives a loud truck. He said because he drove to the house he was charging the travel charge ($60) + 1 hour work ($130), and now a $30 late fee. He never entered the property.

Asked on February 28, 2011 under Business Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is not illegal or improper for a service person to charge a fee is a visit is cancelled too late. The best practice for the service person is to have this fee disclosed in advance, such as many doctors do on their website. However, even without a prior disclosure, it would be reasonable to charge a fee amounting to $220 in this case, since--if the travel is around one hour--he really spent at least two hours of his time on this (a $260 value). If you refuse to pay and he sues you, you *might* win if there was no prior disclosure of a cancellation fee, but under the circumstances of cancelling only 45 minutes before the appointment, there's also a good chance he'd win. It therefore is probably not worth it for you to contest this, since you could end up having to pay anyway after spending the time and money on court.


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