San Antonio, TX asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Civil Litigation for Texas

Q: can I with hold payment from a company, if they refuse to give me an itemized bill when requested for a service?

I had a water mitigation company come out tear down a very small portion of my ceiling, and had a few fans and 2 dehumidifiers running for four and half days, they are charging me $8K+ for the work, which I believe is outrageous, so I have repeatedly asked for an Itemized invoice, they have claimed to not be able to do so, and one point said they could but never sent it, they have gone through my insurance, to which insurance paid out a lil over $6k, but I have to pay a deductable of $5,100. I believe they are lying in their invoice both to me and the insurance.

1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Unless your agreement with the water restoration company specifies that payment is conditioned upon receipt of a detailed itemized invoice, an itemized invoice is not a condition precedent to your obligation to pay for the service rendered.

In most situations like yours involving small water restoration jobs, detailed estimates or records of work aren't made or kept because the labor cost to create them would be disproportionate to the overall cost of the work. Companies are simply asked to perform a service and then are entitled to be paid the customary and usual price for that work in the county in which such work was performed.

The cost to rent a dehumidifier or fan is about $75/day if you pick it up and return it yourself. So that's maybe $300-375 per unit, plus delivery.

With respect to other work, you would need to get another water restoration company to offer an opinion based on before and after photographs as to the customary and usual price for the work necessary in your particular circumstances to challenge the overall cost. Your insurance adjuster is probably going to have a pretty good idea of what legitimate charges are for the services provided based upon his adjustment of your claim.

Long story short, probably not worth paying an attorney $500+/hour to dispute such a small bill if the insurance company paid $6K over your deductible for the services.

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