Legal Question in Business Law in Massachusetts

Did auto repairs for cust. Also wanted decals applied, we always sublet out that job and they know that. Sublet co. used the decals sent with van. This co. always sends decals with vans. Cust did not like one of the decals and returned it for a re-do of one tiny strip. We did not know at the time the cust. sent a new decal kit inside van. We assumed the decal co. would use their own materials. Four months later we get a call from cust stating we need to pay the 500. for the decals that we used. Contacted the sublet co. he told us he opened the box and used one decal and sent the box back with van. This is our customer, I realize that, so they have no direct contact with the decaler. However, there was no information to us regarding the decals, any charges, we've never rec. an invoice, nothing had been signed or agreed to by me. Just got a small claims notice. Still have not rec. any kind of invoice, so we don't even know what they paid for this item. Only got verbal information- after 4 months. We have explained to them that we do not have the box, they have this merchandise to which they expect me to pay for. So they are charging for a box of goods that they took back. During the past few months, after a few phone calls, they still have not provided a legit invoice or agreement, or sent us the box of decals. The sublet comp. refused to do anything about it either. What are our options?

Asked on 8/22/13, 10:44 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

James Thomas Kinder Law Office of James Thomas Kinder

At this point, I think your best option, and most cost effective option, is to draft an answer to the Small Claims Complaint, and file it with the Court, and have it served on the Plainitff. In your answer, you should set forth the information you submitted in your question.

However, as a practical matter, you now pose the risk of sullying relationships with both your customer and your subblet Co. You may try contacting the Customer and making an offer to just make the matter go away. Your time spent in answering the complaint and going to court [ which, depending on how many cases are scheduled to be heard that day, could be hours] may be worth more to you than the time and energy wasted in defending against this. Of course, when you get into small claims, they will ask if you are interested in Mediating this matter prior to going to trial.

It appears as though there may be a misunderstanding on the part of many parties here. If you can resolve it short of having to appear in court, that will go along way towards preserving the business relationsships now at risk.

I hope this helped in some way.

Best of luck to you.

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Answered on 9/19/13, 11:26 am

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