East Northport, NY asked in Consumer Law and Contracts for New York

Q: What can be done if a company ignores the terms and conditions of a service contract?

I am disputing a bill for the installation of a new water heater in our home.

We had a service agreement with the oil delivery company and I believe that the service agreement covered the cost of the installation.

There is a section in the "General Terms and Conditions" of the service agreement titled "Arbitration of Disputes" and it reads:

"Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this contract or any breach thereof shall be settled by binding arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association in accordance with its Consumer Arbitration Rules." "Notwithstanding the forgoing, any controversy or claim may be submitted by either Buyer or Seller to a small claims court having jurisdiction of the controversy or claim."

However, I recently received a "Consumer Credit Transaction" summons, from the company's attorneys, which was filed in a District court in Hauppauge, NY.

Can they just ignore the terms and conditions of the service agreement with impunity?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Toshinori Isoai
Toshinori Isoai
  • New City, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Regardless of the arbitration clause or your opinion, you will need to "answer" the summons to avoid default judgement. You can bring up the contractual dispute clause in the answer (and later in the proceeding), but you need to respond first. If you are going to defend yourself as a pro se litigant, you can find a sample answer form on nycourts.gov. You want to act quickly since you won't have a lot of time to answer, serve the plaintiff's lawyer and file it with the court. Wish you the best.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.