Is it possible to sue someone/company after not reimbursing money that the owner promised?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it possible to sue someone/company after not reimbursing money that the owner promised?

Long story short, I took my phone in to try to get fixed due to water damage. I asked the owner what were the chances of it getting fixed. He replied, it was an 80% to 20% chance that it wouldn’t work but if it didn’t, he would reimburse me. So we ended there because it sounded like a really good deal since we had nothing to loose. For a week straight, I went going in every day to try to talk to them about

my phone and everyday they gave me the run around saying they were going to keep trying different things. So once the week hit, I went in demanding to talk to the owner to get my reimbursement due

to them telling me that they couldn’t fix my phone. The manager didn’t want to talk to me, so the tech ended up telling me that he’s busy and to call Monday. I feel like he’s not going to pay me back. Is there a possible case if he doesn’t?

Asked on January 7, 2017 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

An agreement to only charge you if the repairs worked (that is, to reimburse the fee if it doesn't work) is enforceable, even if it was an oral (unwritten) agreement, so if the owner violates that agreement by not repaying you, you could sue him for breach of contract to get your money back. Suing in small claims court as your own attorney or pro se, to save on legal fees is a very good option.
The above said, it must be borne in mind that while an oral agreement is legally enforceable, proving that it existed or what its terms were can be challenging if the other side disoutes your version of what was said, since there is no documentation of the agreement.

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