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Demand letter from customer

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#1
What is the name of your state? Maryland

I have a small home improvement contractor company, about one year ago I provided a free estimate to a customer. The customer requested to sign the contract previous to the installation date, I signed the contract to provide only services, installation of materials supplied by the customer, I didn't charge any payment in any moment which was estimate to be paid in full after installation complete according to the contract that we signed. A few days before the installation date scheduled in the contract I received an email from the customer requesting to change the installation date because he couldn't get the materials on time. I answered by email that will be fine to postpone the installation, but we didn't signed any new contract or amendment. Two days before the installation the customer called me asking questions about the material and he said he was taking the material to his house which was supposed to be in his house at least 72 hours before the installation for acclimation according to manufacture recommendation. For all these reasons I decided to send him an email canceling the installation one day before as his requested date in his email (not as in contract). After a few days I received a complain from the local County Office of Consumer Protection filled by the customer, the customer was requesting some amount of money stating that he lost his time and he had to hire another contractor who gave him a higher estimate than me, I answered the investigator and he closed the case considering all the evidences that I provided. Not happy with the county decision the customer filled another complain at this time to the Better Business Bureau requesting a different amount of money, after a few days I received answer from BBB that also closed the case considering my evidences.
Now, after almost one year I received a demand letter from a legal office filled by this customer requesting the difference amount between my contract and the contractor that he had to pay(about $500.00). The demand states the customer will explore all of his legal options, including reimbursement of any additional expenses he may incur.
Can this be considered harassment? Who should I look to help me in this situation considering I can't expend thousands with attorney?
 


LdiJ

Senior Member
#2
What is the name of your state? Maryland

I have a small home improvement contractor company, about one year ago I provided a free estimate to a customer. The customer requested to sign the contract previous to the installation date, I signed the contract to provide only services, installation of materials supplied by the customer, I didn't charge any payment in any moment which was estimate to be paid in full after installation complete according to the contract that we signed. A few days before the installation date scheduled in the contract I received an email from the customer requesting to change the installation date because he couldn't get the materials on time. I answered by email that will be fine to postpone the installation, but we didn't signed any new contract or amendment. Two days before the installation the customer called me asking questions about the material and he said he was taking the material to his house which was supposed to be in his house at least 72 hours before the installation for acclimation according to manufacture recommendation. For all these reasons I decided to send him an email canceling the installation one day before as his requested date in his email (not as in contract). After a few days I received a complain from the local County Office of Consumer Protection filled by the customer, the customer was requesting some amount of money stating that he lost his time and he had to hire another contractor who gave him a higher estimate than me, I answered the investigator and he closed the case considering all the evidences that I provided. Not happy with the county decision the customer filled another complain at this time to the Better Business Bureau requesting a different amount of money, after a few days I received answer from BBB that also closed the case considering my evidences.
Now, after almost one year I received a demand letter from a legal office filled by this customer requesting the difference amount between my contract and the contractor that he had to pay(about $500.00). The demand states the customer will explore all of his legal options, including reimbursement of any additional expenses he may incur.
Can this be considered harassment? Who should I look to help me in this situation considering I can't expend thousands with attorney?
$500.00 is a small claims court case. If he really thought that he could collect anything from you he would have already filed a small claims court. This is just one last ditch effort to get you to pay the difference in my opinion. Maryland small claims court does allow someone to hire an attorney if they like, but its apparently discouraged from what I just read.
 
#4
I'm not an attorney but I would say that a statement that the customer will explore all legal options is not harassment but a statement of intent.
Let him do his exploring then see if he follows through. Until he puts his claim in writing in the form of a civil complaint there's not much for you to do.
 
#5
What is the name of your state? Maryland

I have a small home improvement contractor company, about one year ago I provided a free estimate to a customer. The customer requested to sign the contract previous to the installation date, I signed the contract to provide only services, installation of materials supplied by the customer, I didn't charge any payment in any moment which was estimate to be paid in full after installation complete according to the contract that we signed. A few days before the installation date scheduled in the contract I received an email from the customer requesting to change the installation date because he couldn't get the materials on time. I answered by email that will be fine to postpone the installation, but we didn't signed any new contract or amendment. Two days before the installation the customer called me asking questions about the material and he said he was taking the material to his house which was supposed to be in his house at least 72 hours before the installation for acclimation according to manufacture recommendation. For all these reasons I decided to send him an email canceling the installation one day before as his requested date in his email (not as in contract). After a few days I received a complain from the local County Office of Consumer Protection filled by the customer, the customer was requesting some amount of money stating that he lost his time and he had to hire another contractor who gave him a higher estimate than me, I answered the investigator and he closed the case considering all the evidences that I provided. Not happy with the county decision the customer filled another complain at this time to the Better Business Bureau requesting a different amount of money, after a few days I received answer from BBB that also closed the case considering my evidences.
Now, after almost one year I received a demand letter from a legal office filled by this customer requesting the difference amount between my contract and the contractor that he had to pay(about $500.00). The demand states the customer will explore all of his legal options, including reimbursement of any additional expenses he may incur.
Can this be considered harassment? Who should I look to help me in this situation considering I can't expend thousands with attorney?
Your obligations are within the contract, however you are required to follow the specifications on the products used. If the specifications require the product to be in the home for three days, then you have a defense to the contract claim. In addition the extensions do not appear to be completed for consideration, which is another defense that can be asserted. The homeowner is possibly liable for the profit you would have received had the job been compelted. The problem with a case of this size relates to the cost of the litigation in light of the potential damage amount.
 
#6
Although this is an older thread (please make note of posting dates, Richard) and the issue may already have been addressed and resolved, you could have an attorney in your area draft a letter to the customer advising the customer that you lost time and money as a result of the customer's changes in the original contract terms and cancellation and you are considering legal action.

That might stop the customer's (what I see as) unreasonable demands.

Good luck.


(Richard Marvel, please contact administrators of this site to have your credentials verified. Advertising on the forum is prohibited. Thanks.)
 
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