In some cases, businesses and customers can develop different expectations about of the cost for goods or services. This can be the product of a simple misunderstanding about the terms and conditions.
The best way to avoid this type of dispute, is to do not allow any money to change hands or work to begin before there is a written agreement, signed by both parties.
Within the agreement, make sure there is a clear cost for all services, potential variables on delivery, date of completion, and an objective statement for what services will be provided. Most disputes are based on a misunderstanding on what work was going to be done and what the cost would be.
For example, if the company is providing roofing services, the agreement should specify what type of shingle would be provided. If the contract just says "roof replacement," your shingle expectation may be different from the customer's expectation. This protects both sides and sets a verifiable expectation of services.
As with all Agreements, the best practice is to have the terms reviewed with legal counsel.
There are some contracts in Ohio that allow consumers to revoke within three days of signing. These types of contracts include: Prepaid Entertainment Contracts and Home Solicitation Sales Contracts. (Defined below).
In both cases, the business owner must give the exact statutory written notice of the customer’s ability to cancel the contract. If the business does not comply with the strict written notice requirements, the customer can revoke at any time until proper notice is given. Further, if there is a dispute, the business could be held liable for the entire amount the customer paid, penalties, court costs, and attorneys' fees
Prepaid Entertainment : A contract under which the customer pays for or becomes obligated to pay for a service prior to receipt of those services. Some examples include: dance lessons, social referral services, martial arts training, health spa, or exercise membership. ORC Ann. 1345.41 (2005)
Home Solicitation Sale : A sale of consumer goods or services in which the seller or its agent solicits a consumer at their residence. This includes solicitations in response to an invitation by the consumer. ORC 1345.21(A).
There are some exceptions within these requirements. The rules and exceptions should be thoroughly evaluated before making any legally binding decisions.
Elliott Stapleton Attorney with CMRS Law