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Client signed and accepted an estimate for a flagstone patio in 4 months ago. She had other work done on her property, and has "decided against it." Now she wants her deposit back. No formal contract was signed, just the estimate through Quickbooks, and at the bottom is a line that says "Accepted" where the client signs and dates. I already told her I cannot return the deposit because I already purchased the stone. She said she wants to see the receipt and wants the stone. Obviously, I am not going to give into her, but do I have to return the deposit? Thanks in advance!
 

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Thom
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You should either return the money or provide her with the stone. Your failure to provide a contract spelling out your expectations has put you in a week position.
 

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My guess is you don't want to give her the receipt because the deposit was for more than the receipt and you don't have the money to give her...

If you are not getting the job, and are using the reason for not returning that deposit was because it was used to purchase materials what other reason could you possible have for not giving it to her?

Reality is, without a CONTRACT, you can't even charge her for your time and storage...

You don't have standing to keep the deposit... You just paid for a very expensive class at the school of hard-knocks...

 

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My guess is you don't want to give her the receipt because the deposit was for more than the receipt and you don't have the money to give her...




why does that matter?..if you pay $3000 for materials and take a $5000 deposit..then that is your mark..it makes no difference.

but he should provide her the materials then.

Agreed about no formal signed agreement however he does have her acceptance..so dependent on his locale and laws he may be entitled to something.

if the OP blew the dough and dint purchase nothing, then oh BOY.
 

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Champion Thread Derailer
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Unless she was made aware upfront that any deposit would be non-refundable (e.g., contract signed), you are responsible for returning it to her, or providing the materials purchased for the job (which would hopefully have the same value as her deposit).

Sorry to hear about your problem with the situation, and I sure hope it works out well.
 

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Hair Splitter
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You need to give her the stone and the remaining deposit back. As it has been said you have no contract that defines this circumstance. You could try to also invoice for the time spent, but if they refuse to pay, just give them the remaining money.

If this is the homeowner, bravo for collecting enough evidence to stick it to the under experienced vulnerable contractor. :thumbsup:
 

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why does that matter?..if you pay $3000 for materials and take a $5000 deposit..then that is your mark..it makes no difference.

but he should provide her the materials then.

Agreed about no formal signed agreement however he does have her acceptance..so dependent on his locale and laws he may be entitled to something.

if the OP blew the dough and dint purchase nothing, then oh BOY.
Without a contract, she can say anything... signing an estimate would get him bupkiss in court even with a check... and whatever he could get wouldn't be worth the time and aggravation...

Just a hunch, and I could be wrong but somehow I don't think we'll get much more info that will change the reality... :whistling"
 

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Have Trowel, Do travel
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keep it
 

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With or without a contract the ethical thing to do is give her the stone and the rest of the deposit back
you could maybe charge her a small admin fee to cover your time but anything more is robbery legal or not
its not robbery..its business and all types do it form photographers, wedding bands, real estate agents, etc.

it is referred to as and LCD and the courts favor them when structured properly.

you don't know if this job was scheduled, then rescheduled, then postponed then cancelled..this HO is due
Meanwhile, other projects may have been lost due to that scheduling..it is a realized undetermined amount and this contractor would be due damages..here it being the deposit.

however the lack of verbiage in contract/estimate may have screwed him..that is MAY have.

if this is the HO going uindercover, just know the universe is not as big as it appears,has eyes and ears and sh it has a way of coming back atcha 3 fold.
 

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its not robbery..its business and all types do it form photographers, wedding bands, real estate agents, etc.

it is referred to as and LCD and the courts favor them when structured properly.

you don't know if this job was scheduled, then rescheduled, then postponed then cancelled..this HO is due
Meanwhile, other projects may have been lost due to that scheduling..it is a realized undetermined amount and this contractor would be due damages..here it being the deposit.

however the lack of verbiage in contract/estimate may have screwed him..that is MAY have.

if this is the HO going uindercover, just know the universe is not as big as it appears,has eyes and ears and sh it has a way of coming back atcha 3 fold.
Sorry James, but I have to disagree... without signed contract spelling out the terms, she can say anything she wants which is why the courts would favor the consumer even though she gave a check... She could easily say, he told me he would get me a contract, but promised if I signed his estimate that I could get on his schedule...

This is why ambiguity is afforded to the consumer... the judge has no idea who is telling the truth and the first question he is going to ask is where is the contract?... When he says there is none except for a signed estimate and cashed check, he is going to have a lot of explaining to do of which most will fall on deaf ears...

The OP doesn't have a contract or provided a reason for the delay... The question I would ask is why would you have product on hand for four months just sitting around? If the delay was due to the customer, I would have been on the phone every week documenting such, and giving a drop dead start date... at a minimum, during that four months, got a contract in place...

You'll note we haven't heard back from the OP, even though he's been watching... that's a hint right there... he is probably not willing to show the date of the materials purchase on the receipt, it was less then the deposit, which is not a bad thing unless you don't have a contract, and let four months lapse...

He's looking to open a can of worms trying to keep the material or deposit IMHO especially if it ends up in court...
 

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its not robbery..its business and all types do it form photographers, wedding bands, real estate agents, etc.

it is referred to as and LCD and the courts favor them when structured properly.

you don't know if this job was scheduled, then rescheduled, then postponed then cancelled..this HO is due
Meanwhile, other projects may have been lost due to that scheduling..it is a realized undetermined amount and this contractor would be due damages..here it being the deposit.

however the lack of verbiage in contract/estimate may have screwed him..that is MAY have.

if this is the HO going uindercover, just know the universe is not as big as it appears,has eyes and ears and sh it has a way of coming back atcha 3 fold.
I agree it is business but it is un-ethical, a lot of big companies do it and it is something I cant stand.

I believe in treat people as you would like to be treated yourself

The fact is we dont know the full story so we should not realy judge

It could be that she has found a cheaper contractor which I then think is un-ethical on her part

It could be she has fell on hard times and can no longer afford to have the work done

Someone in the family may have fallen ill and her priorities have changed

For the later 2 I would happily refund the deposit after deducting my expenses
 

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Sorry James, but I have to disagree... without signed contract spelling out the terms, she can say anything she wants which is why the courts would favor the consumer even though she gave a check... She could easily say, he told me he would get me a contract, but promised if I signed his estimate that I could get on his schedule...

This is why ambiguity is afforded to the consumer... the judge has no idea who is telling the truth and the first question he is going to ask is where is the contract?... When he says there is none except for a signed estimate and cashed check, he is going to have a lot of explaining to do of which most will fall on deaf ears...

The OP doesn't have a contract or provided a reason for the delay... The question I would ask is why would you have product on hand for four months just sitting around? If the delay was due to the customer, I would have been on the phone every week documenting such, and giving a drop dead start date... at a minimum, during that four months, got a contract in place...

You'll note we haven't heard back from the OP, even though he's been watching... that's a hint right there... he is probably not willing to show the date of the materials purchase on the receipt, it was less then the deposit, which is not a bad thing unless you don't have a contract, and let four months lapse...

He's looking to open a can of worms trying to keep the material or deposit IMHO especially if it ends up in court...
What are you disagreeing with?did you read or just feel like disagreeing and writing as fact on something you really dont know about.?
You're not an attorney dont know his local laws.

He may be due nothing.he may be liable to issue back or he may just have to refund portion.

Contract law isnt so cut and dry and varies region to region.

Its all assumptions.

I stated not having thing like this spelled out could lead it to doom..but you don't know
Verbal agreements still have weight in many districts

She could sue him.if he doesnt have it what does she expect to collect?
 

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I agree it is business but it is un-ethical, a lot of big companies do it and it is something I cant stand.

I believe in treat people as you would like to be treated yourself

The fact is we dont know the full story so we should not realy judge

It could be that she has found a cheaper contractor which I then think is un-ethical on her part

It could be she has fell on hard times and can no longer afford to have the work done

Someone in the family may have fallen ill and her priorities have changed

For the later 2 I would happily refund the deposit after deducting my expenses
Time to step off the pedestal.

If you booked the work and as result lost other projects because you couldn't meet the schedule due ths job you have lost regardless of the reasoning.


LCDs cover that.
Business is business.

You cant afford it anymore?then you never could have .You now cover my loss which can be undeterminable.
My contract has required cancellation by state law and also stated after 3 day rescind right that deposits will be refunded less 15%admin fees.
15% of the contract.not deposit.
It also states except when project has begun.

Work has begun once materials are ordered purchased delivered or any of the 3.the project is now underway.

I will not bare someone else's burden games or issues.im fair but not in biz to lose money because of what you or someone else thinks is unethical.
 

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I'm a Mac
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The consumer is entitled to something for their money, to eliminate any unethical scrupulous business practices the best 'something' is materials as it's tangible.

It's hard to comment beyond that without knowing values of deposit or materials costs.

But I would recommend if the deposit covers the materials and then some, get the materials available for her. I'm not saying deliver it, just have them available and she can pick them up from your location. There is no law saying you have to refund materials, that's something Sears and other retailers came up with and it's wrong, it's not the law.

Buyer beware.
 

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You need to give her the stone and the remaining deposit back. As it has been said you have no contract that defines this circumstance. You could try to also invoice for the time spent, but if they refuse to pay, just give them the remaining money.

If this is the homeowner
, bravo for collecting enough evidence to stick it to the under experienced vulnerable contractor. :thumbsup:
Most likely.
 

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Time to step off the pedestal.

If you booked the work and as result lost other projects because you couldn't meet the schedule due ths job you have lost regardless of the reasoning.


LCDs cover that.
Business is business.

You cant afford it anymore?then you never could have .You now cover my loss which can be undeterminable.
My contract has required cancellation by state law and also stated after 3 day rescind right that deposits will be refunded less 15%admin fees.
15% of the contract.not deposit.
It also states except when project has begun.

Work has begun once materials are ordered purchased delivered or any of the 3.the project is now underway.

I will not bare someone else's burden games or issues.im fair but not in biz to lose money because of what you or someone else thinks is unethical.
Its different points of view that make you see things from another perspective.
I am too soft with things like this and reading your view may make me take a stronger stand with issues like this in the future.
This forum is good for doing that:thumbsup:
 
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