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In California, does a verbal service contract , amount between $500 and $1000, require any sort of written document.

Forest Ranch, CA |

A telephone solicitation and agreement is for a monthly service covering 1 year. There are installation charges, some hardware charges, and also additional hardware/removal charges as well as some form of service performance criteria. The telephone solicitation is allegedly recorded. How does either party prove their understanding of the agreement terms, if not with a written document.

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Filed under: Civil rights
Attorney answers 3

Best Answer
Posted

Please see the DCA article linked below section VI.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you Pamela. From your recommended Department of Consumer Affairs: Contracts: Legal Guide K-9 Consumer's Rights to Cancel Home Solicitation Contracts September 2010 Virtually any consumer transaction in the amount of $25 or more which takes place in the buyer's home or away from "appropriate trade premises" can be canceled by the buyer, without penalty or obligation, if the consumer gives a proper notice within three business days . In a transaction covered by the Act, the seller's contract with the buyer (or the buyer's offer to purchase) must be in writing, and must be in the same language as is principally used in the sales presentation (for example, Spanish). The document must be dated and signed by the buyer, and must state on the first page the name and address of the seller and the date on which the buyer signed the document. The document must contain a conspicuous, statutorily-prescribed notice of the buyer's right to cancel, which must be near the space for the buyer's signature. The seller must give the buyer duplicate, completed, "Notice of Cancellation" forms which the buyer can fill in, sign, and use to notify the seller of the buyer's decision to cancel the transaction. Any waiver by the buyer of the Act's provisions, or any confession of judgment, is void and unenforceable The buyer may cancel the contract or offer without giving any reason until midnight of the third business day after the day on which the buyer signed the document However, if the seller has not complied with all of the requirements described in italic type at III. above, the buyer may cancel the contract or offer at any time until three business days after the seller has complied with all of those requirements. 30 This might be days, weeks or even months later. If the buyer has a right to cancel under some other law, the cancellation period may also be extended. Sales by Telephonic Sellers: If the sale involves the purchase of services, the seller must send the buyer the notice of confirmation, and the notice of cancellation forms, immediately following the telephonic agreement to purchase the services.

Posted

Most likely. You don't indicate the type of service being provided, but most likely, the Home Solicitation Sales Act applies to your situation, as Attorney Koslyn suggests.

If not, then the ordinary methods of proving an oral contract apply. It would be the plaintiff's burden to prove the terms of the contract (offer, acceptance and consideration) as well as the customer's breach and resulting damages. The plaintiff can prove his/her/its case with oral testimony as well as with documentary evidence.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

Posted

The posting does not specify what the services are or the amount of money involved. Some services are required by California law to be specified in a written contract. Telephone solicitations do have limits and there are rights of rescission.

A contract for services that is not to be completed within one year must also have a written contract to be enforced. See Cal. Civil Code, Section 1624, subdivision (a)(1). I would probably not advise a client to agree to a contract without it being in writing for this long of a term, as so much can happen and people forget or change their mind over a year. I agree with the concern that you express in your last sentence.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you. The verbal agreement was through a 3rd party solicitor (AllConnect) for installment of a TV satellite Dish service in our new residence. Not having received any written confirmation from AllConnect or Dish, I do not know what the specifics were to be. A contractor installed the satellite dish, for which we paid. I was then informed I owned an amount that I do not think I would ever agree to: $45/month for basic service with only 1 PBS Channel. PBS stations are my only tv show interest (I have streaming services i.e. netflix). These TV satellite providers must be scamming tens of millions. Dish points to AllConnect and AllConnect has not returned my calls with any information.

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