What are our rights if we took a lawnmower in to see what was wrong with it and asked for an estimate but never got one until the work was done?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are our rights if we took a lawnmower in to see what was wrong with it and asked for an estimate but never got one until the work was done?

We told them to let us know what was wrong with it before doing anything. I called 3 different times and asked for an estimate before they ordered or did anything. I went there 1 of the times and asked in person what the estimate was and only got a

Asked on August 18, 2017 under Business Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Legally, they cannot charge you for work which you never authorized or told them to do--they need your agreement or consent to the work. Practically, unless you have some written exchange (even emails or text messages) showing that you had told them to not do the work until you received an estimate and approved it, it will become a "he said, she said" situation in court if you refuse to pay and they sue you: it could go either way, depending on who the judge believes. (While, if they sue you, as the plaintiff or person suing, the "burden of proof," or obligation to prove their case, is on them, the standard of proof in a civil matter, "preponderance of the evidence," is barely more than 50-50; they would need to be just fractionally more persuasive or credible than you. So it is essentially or nearly the judge simply deciding who he thinks if more credible, if they were to sue you for the money.)
If you have something in writing, you would be in good shape to not pay, since you can easily prove that lack of authorization. But if it was all oral (non-written), you may wish to try to settle for something mutually agreeable ($300-$400?) rather than risk litigation (and go through  the time/trouble of it).

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