Can I be charged for a service that was not provided and never given a price quote for?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be charged for a service that was not provided and never given a price quote for?

I have seen a local group to get my business taxes done for me in previous years. Then about 2 months ago, I approached the group again to do my taxes and my normal accountant had left the group, so I was assigned a new accountant. I met with her in person about 6 weeks ago. Note In previous years, my taxes were done on paper and I was given a price up front. This year, I was adamant and I said that I wanted my taxes done on paper forms, and I would file them with my

husband and would like the pricing up front. The new accountant took my information and said,

Asked on May 6, 2019 under Business Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is the legal answer and the practical one.
Legally, if you did not tell them to do what they did, and/or they did not do what you asked them to, you are not responsible for paying the bill: there would have been no agreement or contract (whether a written one or oral/unwritten) between the two you as to you paying for the services they actually performed, and without an agreement, there is no obligation to pay.
Practically, you can't stop them from seeking the money from you.You can write them a letter asking them to cease, but if they don't, you really can't back it up or force them to stop unless you were willing to file a lawsuit against them and seek a court order forcing them to stop, which can be an expensive proposition. All you can do is, if they or a collections service on their behalf, sues you for the money, is defend the lawsuit in court, on the grounds that you never agreed to pay for what they did. For $500, even if you wanted the taxes done on paper, you may be better off letting them file for you and paying the money rather than having to potentially deal with being sued, even if only in small claims court, then find a different tax preparer next year.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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