What do I owe a customer who ordered 6 custom garments of which she received 4 and paid for 2 but is unhappy with them?

UPDATED: Jan 4, 2011

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What do I owe a customer who ordered 6 custom garments of which she received 4 and paid for 2 but is unhappy with them?

I met a woman from NY while working in CA(where I live). She ordered 6 custom pieces. In verbal and written email communication was the fact that she was responsible for fabric costs. The approximate completion date came and went. We discussed that I would be sending out 2 pieces by another date. I sent 2 pieces out with a few spots of poor workmanship, but in total working order. She was unhappy with them. I said that I would make new ones, but no reply. 2 weeks passed, she then asked for fabrics back. By that time I had completed 2 more, sent with no charge. She is unhappy and now wants me to pay for fabrics. What are my rights?

Asked on January 4, 2011 under Business Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

This is an oral contract for good and services at best confirmed in an e-mail writing between the parties.  Her claim is that you breached the contract by not delivering the pieces by the agreed upon completion date.  Based upon that breach she wants to rescind the contract and she wants you to pay for the fabric she paid for because you did not deliver the good on time. You are claiming that the contract was modified to allow you additional time to complete the goods and that she agreed - albeit passively - to the modification of the contract by not responding to your e-mail.  Is she unhappy with all of the custom pieces?  On what basis?  Can they be fixed in any way?  You should be permitted to make good on the pieces and her objections should not be unreasonable.  But I think that the best thing that you can do is to try and negotiate the matter and be done with this all.  Arguably she has received 4 custom pieces for the price of two.  Two she objected to and two she did not.  You should have the fabric remaining for two peices.  Return the remaining fabric. Now for the pieces made.  If she is unhappy with the first two pieces ask her to return them and offer to pay for that fabric.  If she is happy with the last two pieces then apply the payment from the first two pieces and call it even.  This is merely a suggestion.  You do not have to take it.  Good luck.

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