Q: Is this legal?
I recently hired a small cleaning service to deep clean my home and paid a $213 deposit. No contract was signed. The Monday prior to my Thursday appointment my family tested positive for covid. I contacted the business immediately. The owner has said that since she can’t find another appointment to fill my spot my deposit is nonrefundable and nontransferable to a later date and is also unwilling to clean the house on our original due to us having covid (understandably). Is this legal?
A: Is it illegal as in the cleaning service can be charged with a crime? No. It's a dispute over the terms of a verbal contract. You say you were never told the deposit was non refundable. They say you were. With nothing in writing, this is a "he said, she said" situation with no absolutely correct answer. If they have a web site, social media page, or other advertisement which either mentions this or fails to mention this, that's some additional evidence for one side or the other. Keep trying to work something out. It's not illegal for a service business to require a deposit which is not refundable if a service appointment is cancelled. There are no COVID consumer protection laws here which would make this illegal. Is it unreasonable? Depends upon your perspective. One would think that once it has been several weeks since your family contracted COVID, the business would be willing to perform the service. However, there is nothing "illegal" if they refuse. Court costs for small claims are around $190-230, so is this worth fighting over in court? Even if you win a judgment, you may never collect.
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.