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Letter of intent to sue in small claims?


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I run a small service business in california

 

I had a former customer return last week asking for credit on her account. I had told her she had no more credit. She was upset. She asked about purchasing more service for 2 weeks. I quoted on her and she got upset again. She asked me what she owes me for the 1 service session, and i told her $50. She says she will go get it. She leaves gets in her car, and instead drives off

 

Today i receive a certified letter from herself with intent to sue me for $400. She doesn't state what the $400 is specifically for. She basically says i owe her because i changed the terms of our verbal agreement. 

 

The last time i seen this customer was 2 years ago. She disappeared, never asked for a leave of absence, never asked me to credit her account, never notified me she will be absent, never contacted me for 2 years. She basically quit. In my business, customers pay for a specific time and day for their service. I have a 24hr cancellation policy. If it gets abused consisting of constant cancellations, they will be charged a session, if they don't show, they will be charged a session. No notifications, they will be charged a session. 

 

She comes back 2 years later believing she should have credit. When a customer wants to take time off, i will authorize it if notified, and i will have them fill out a form. She doesn't have one. Never notified me. She just flat out quit

 

She originally purchased 20 sessions for 800. Showed up for 2 and quit. She is a time waster and cost me money. I turned away  potential customers because she failed to show up when someone else would of been there. 

 

This letter from her threatened to ruin my credit, threatened to get a judgement against me. I don't know if this is just a spoof scare tactic letter to get me to send her 400 or what

 

Instead i had my attorney send her a letter today. Hopefully this turns her away

 

What if she decides to move forward and sue?

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For this small amount, it will simply be a case where she presents her case, you present your case, and then the judge decides. It is kinda like Judge Judy without the attitude from the judge. In fact, a case like this is ripe for court TV.

If she does win, then you pay her the $400 and be done with it. It will not hit your credit report because the judgement will be satisfied before then. This case hinges on what the contract terms were. Also, if she owes you $50 (or whatever) according to the contract, you can file a counter claim against her.

I think the lawyers letter will scare her away.

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Trainer,

I tend to agree generally with Who, that your exposure to damages is minimal. I would say that fact that you have only a verbal contract could be a problem, should you ever go to court. You should be aware that based on your own addmission:

"She originally purchased 20 sessions for 800. Showed up for 2 and quit. She is a time waster and cost me money. I turned away potential customers because she failed to show up when someone else would of been there."

This means that she only used $80 (or 2 seesions) of the $800 that she paid. Currently you have been paid $720 dollars that you have not spent any time with this client. Having a verbal contract versus a written contract maybe more difficult to outline all the rules an notifications you mention in your post above as to why you should get to keep money for services you have not rendered.

Best of Luck

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