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A mechanics Lein for services not authorized by me?? New York

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  • A mechanics Lein for services not authorized by me?? New York

    I just moved into my new home and was bombarded with phone calls from a company claiming that they have done work for the previous owners and would be in my area to spray my trees and shrubs for elimination of bugs, etc... I made the appointment but then cancelled 24 hrs before they were schduled to come perform the service. I have a baby and did not want the chemicals present in my yard while she is in the crawling stages..also explained to the company that we would be chopping down a few trees and we would call them once we were settled in, as this service was not a priority for us at the time. I jotted down the name of the person we spoke to and thought it was the end of it.
    I came home from work the next day to find that they had performed the service, stuck yellow signs in my yard indicating chemicals present and and invoice in my mail box for $85. I immediately called them and told them that I had a problem paying the bill because the service was cancelled by me the day before. The girl told me I would have to call back and speak to Jay. My husband called back and Jay said that it was their error and that he would take care of the invoice. We though it was over then also.

    A few weeks later constant phone messages from this company trying to collect their money. We responded and spoke to Jay again who again said, his error, they will take care of the invoice.

    On July 31,2007 at 8:10pm I get a phone call from Jay and a few other men in this company screaming and asking me if I know who his cousin that lives on my block is, because he is going to send him to collect the $85 due to them. Threatening me,ssaying that I don't know who he is, etc....
    We then had a heated arguement to which I stood my ground on not paying for services not authorized by me, as far as I'm concerned, he was trespassing. Once he was done screaming at me, he passed the phone to another gentleman who continued where he left off . I argued with a Micheal,a Jay and a Franco..they just kept tossing the phone around.

    I did not give permission for his company to spray chemicals in my yard. He claimed I never cancelled, nor spoke to him!!!! Now he threatened to put a mechanics lein on my house. Can this be done by him?
    If I paid the $85 would this be the last I hear from him or will he continue to drop invoices in my mailbox and try to shake me down for more money and claim that I made made appointments? Will this $85 turn into a huge sum of money every so often? He calls from private #s, has only a PO box which he claims is to protect him & his employees from crazy people like me!
    He then agreed to just split the bill with me. But when I asked for another invoice indicating the new amount he did not see a reason to send me one? I do not want to short pay an $85 bill only to get a phone call claiming I never had this conversation with him. This is how he operates, obviously!
    But can a mechanics lein be placed on my home ?? I'm sure they would need some type of proff that i autorized services..I did not sign anything.

    ~vanessa

  • #2
    I would call the police. It is harrasment, and trespassing, and endangering a child, since they were told NO CHEMICALS, CRAWLING CHILD PRESENT! I would go to the police station, with all the forms, and the billing (it may have an address to where to send the payment to), and let them know about them tresspassing, endangering your child, and harrasment, and threats to send someone to your house. Call your phone company and let them know of the calls you have been recieving, they will tell you to dial * and then 2 numbers after you hang up from these calls. This will send a message to the phone company, and THEY HAVE THE NUMBER!! After the 3rd call I believe, maybe less since the threats have been made, and the police are involved, they will call that number and let them know that these harrasing calls have been traced, and the phone company will press charges if they do not cease immediately! Well, at least our local phone company offers this. Call yours, they can in the least offer to make your phone where it will not recieve calls unless they unblock the number. Get caller I.D if you do not have it please. Save each and ever phone message on the machine for the police to listen to, they need to hear this. Oh, and you can tell them that no judge would allow a lein on a house for a bill that is 85.00 and you want to know which grade school they are from, because these are obviously not very bright men!! Listen, this is not a legitimate business, you don't even know if they sprayed, they could just have signs. They are acting like a business. Ask to see their liscences for spraying a pesticide! They are probably some 18 or younger year old boys trying to make a buck by strong arming you. It is also called blackmail what they are doing, and that is punishable by jail time and large amounts of money to be given to you for emotional distress. Call the police, you do not know them, and you do not know what they are capable of!!! Call now!!!!
    Last edited by turbowray; 08-03-2007, 07:35 PM.

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    • #3
      Hi ..thank you so much for your reply.
      I did call the police that night and they told me that it was not aggravated harrasment because the guy didn't directly say that he would come and hurt me. Sending his cousin over, apparently was not good enough for the cops ...I argued with him too...LOL ...now I know why people get killed 2 hrs after the cops leave !! In anycase, I found out about a neighbor notification law that requires anyone spraying pesticides to give written warning to the neighbors surrounding the house as the chemicals would affect them also in some way. I HIGHLY doubt that these guys got that written consent from my neighbors. I have to ask my neigbors tonight and if they didn't then I have a little more ammunition! I'm putting in a complaint with the dept of consumer affairs .

      SHould I just pay them and see if this happens again...because that is what I am really concerned about...that they might just go ahead and proceed to pull this scam with me claiming that I made appointments and taking it upon themselves to try to collect $$$ ....
      So I just call a lawyer on this one instance....so confused and upset
      My guess is that they won't do anything further but I can never be too sure on that. They were really nasty on the phone!

      Comment


      • #4
        Send them a letter stating your position succinctly: you canceled the service, they apparently sprayed anyway, and they admitted that it was their error. Tell them that you are not going to pay and that their continuing harassment over their own error is not going to make you pay an amount you clearly do not owe. Do not go on and on. Just say what you need to say. Make sure to say that you never want them to treat your lawn again.

        Send the letter certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep a photo copy of the letter and a proof of mailing from the post office.

        I would be surprised if they send a problem account like this to a collection agency, but if they do, notify the collection immediately that you contest the obligation and provide them with a copy of the letter. They will have to send the matter back to the lawn care company and stop their efforts.

        I also suggest that you report the company to the local Better Business Bureau. Don't threaten, just do it.

        In the end, if they keep calling, I would suggest considering offering them half as a last resort? Why half? Because that makes it unattractive for them to continue bothering you just to get another $42.50 when they could get $42.50 and on the other hand it makes it seem like it was a lot of work just to get the half that they did get.

        Good luck.
        David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
        Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by dkstaub View Post
          Send them a letter stating your position succinctly: you canceled the service, they apparently sprayed anyway, and they admitted that it was their error. Tell them that you are not going to pay and that their continuing harassment over their own error is not going to make you pay an amount you clearly do not owe. Do not go on and on. Just say what you need to say. Make sure to say that you never want them to treat your lawn again.

          Send the letter certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep a photo copy of the letter and a proof of mailing from the post office.

          I would be surprised if they send a problem account like this to a collection agency, but if they do, notify the collection immediately that you contest the obligation and provide them with a copy of the letter. They will have to send the matter back to the lawn care company and stop their efforts.

          I also suggest that you report the company to the local Better Business Bureau. Don't threaten, just do it.

          In the end, if they keep calling, I would suggest considering offering them half as a last resort? Why half? Because that makes it unattractive for them to continue bothering you just to get another $42.50 when they could get $42.50 and on the other hand it makes it seem like it was a lot of work just to get the half that they did get.

          Good luck.
          I was under the impression that the op only had a p.o box, but I could be wrong. I know they won't let out their number?? Where would the op send the payment I wonder? I am probably wrong on this, hope the op comes back!

          Comment


          • #6
            DO NOT pay one red cent on that bill! You have no responsibility what so ever to pay for a service you did not want and gave them ample notice that you did not want it.

            Follow through on the advise with the certified letter. Also the BBB needs to have a complaint on file from you, do this don't just threaten to.

            Make sure and include a copy of their invoice with your certified letter.

            In that letter also state;

            That they are on official notice that they are to cease calling you. That any further calls to your home will be harassment that you will take immediate action against them for.

            Just curious but how did they get your phone number and/or name to know who to call? When you moved in the house did you keep the phone number from the previous owners? Or did someone violate your right to privacy and disclose your personal information to these jerks?

            Even in a bill collection situation, (his by the way even includes if you legitimately owed the bill which you don't.) once you make a written order that they are not to contact you by phone they must stop or you can lodge a complaint against them for harassment. This is per the FTC THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT.

            http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.htm

            805. Communication in connection with debt collection [15 USC 1692c]

            (c) CEASING COMMUNICATION.

            If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except --

            (1) to advise the consumer that the debt collector's further efforts are being terminated;

            (2) to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specified remedies which are ordinarily invoked by such debt collector or creditor; or

            (3) where applicable, to notify the consumer that the debt collector or creditor intends to invoke a specified remedy.

            If such notice from the consumer is made by mail, notification shall be complete upon receipt.

            806. Harassment or abuse [15 USC 1692d]

            A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:

            (1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.

            (2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.

            (3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 603(f) or 604(3)1 of this Act.

            (4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.

            (5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.

            (6) Except as provided in section 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity.


            If you were to go to that Fair Debt Collecting web site you would also learn that they can not legally threaten to do anything aside from: Suing you in a court of law to obtain a judgment against you OR turn the debt in for collections and/or report the outstanding debt to a credit reporting agency. That is what they can do by law and therefore that is all they can threaten to do.

            NO, THEY CAN NOT PUT A LIEN ON YOUR HOUSE, MECHANICS (I really had to laugh at that one) OR OTHERWISE, not even if it is a mobile home. Unless you put your house up as collateral to satisfy the debt. To threaten to do so is also ILLEGAL as they are misrepresenting what they can do to satisfy the debt.

            Bear in mind this is all in relation to a debt you actually owe. The FTC takes a very DIM view for those who bill for something that one does not owe, least of all illegally threatened for such.

            Do you know about the federal no call list? If you haven't already signed up for this it is a free service and puts a stop to all telemarketing calls to your number.

            If you are already signed up for the no call list you just hit the jackpot!

            They were in violation of the no call rules when they made that initial call.
            The only telemarketers allowed to call once you are listed are those businesses that you have a previous relationship with. This would NOT include the "bug buster outfit" as you have not "done" business with them. They attempted to force their business on you which you declined when you canceled the service order.

            If they continue to call you, in spite of your efforts to stop them, screen all your calls with an answering machine, I believe you said you have caller ID but they call from a private number. Is that right? If you do have caller ID you can have your phone set to receive only calls that disclose the numbers or have calls sent through a privacy director that you can choose to accept or not.

            If they continue to bill you I would contact an attorney and ask for a legal opinion concerning your responsibility for this canceled service bill. If they tell you that you are not obligated to pay it I would ask them what the charges would be to have the law firm draft and sent them a letter outlining the facts for you. Personally I would rather pay the money to an attorney to help stop the harassment before I would consider paying one cent on it.

            If they are ignorant enough to continue calling you after you have given them written notice not to you need to contact the FTC and report them. Don't just threaten to DO IT!
            Last edited by BnThrDnTht; 08-08-2007, 11:53 PM.

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