What are my options regarding non-payment for services performed?

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What are my options regarding non-payment for services performed?

I fixed a laptop for a customer for an agreed upon price of $100 over 60 days ago and cannot seem to get paid for the service. I continue to have possession of the laptop, I know the customer needs it for school as her desktop is also needing fixed, but she continues to avoid my calls, texts, and emails. W have set up several times and places to meet for exchange and she either cancels or doesn’t even show up. What are my options at this point?

Asked on February 27, 2012 under Business Law, Missouri

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could file a lawsuit in Small Claims Court against the customer for breach of contract (account stated).  Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover in your lawsuit) would be the amount you are owed plus court costs.  Court costs would include the court filing fee and process server fee.  It would be advisable to use a private process server instead of the marshal or service by certified mail return receipt.  If you use the marshal to serve the summons and complaint (complaint is the lawsuit attached to the summons), the marshal will make a limited number of attempts to serve the defendant and if unsuccessful will keep the amount you paid for service of process.  If you serve by certified mail return receipt, the defendant won't pick up the mail and nothing will be accomplished.  You can find private process servers listed under attorney services in the Yellow Pages or online.  If your agreement/work order provides for storage fees, you could also claim reasonable storage fees in addition to the one hundred dollars you are owed.

There aren't any attorneys in Small Claims Court and you would represent yourself.  There may be a Small Claims Court advisor who can assist you in completing the forms for filing your lawsuit and explain the court procedures if you have any questions. 


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