A client paid me a deposit to do custom cabinet work. I am almost finished and spent the day installing when i ran into a snag with trim work, but nothing that cant be fixed. She has now decided to cancel and has locked my tools up demanding deposit back to release my items. Is this legal?
You could file for a criminal warrant for theft but the judge may consider this a civil dispute and deny the warrant. You can also file a lawsuit in Magistrate Court but that process can take 70-80 days and may cost you about $120. So, as a practical matter, you may decide to refund the deposit and get your tools back. And, in the future, not leave any tools on a customer's premises. Also, for any amount in excess of $500 or for a contract that you may use with all of your customers, I advise that you always have a written contract drafted by a lawyer in order to protect yourself. Best wishes.
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