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  • Theft of service?

    Ok i have an odd scenario i ran across and want other Texas LEO opinions. Here is the cliff notes:

    This took place at an automotive repair facility. The customer approved the work for his vehicle. The customer paid for the work via credit card. The customer then decided that he is unhappy with the work and calls his credit card company to dispute the charge. The credit card company does not pay the auto repair facility. The auto repair facility is out $1000.

    I know this can be a civil issue. However would this also fall under theft of service? There was a service provided and the customer withdrew payment.

    Im trying to figure out if a criminal offense occurred. The customer approved the work and the shop has his signature to prove that. Also the customer signed the credit card receipt authorizing payment.

  • #2
    § 31.04. THEFT OF SERVICE. (a) A person commits theft of
    service if, with intent to avoid payment for service that he knows
    is provided only for compensation:

    (4) he intentionally or knowingly secures the
    performance of the service by agreeing to provide compensation and,
    after the service is rendered, fails to make payment after
    receiving notice demanding payment.

    (b) For purposes of this section, intent to avoid payment is
    presumed if:
    (1) the actor absconded without paying for the service
    or expressly refused to pay for the service in circumstances where
    payment is ordinarily made immediately upon rendering of the
    service, as in hotels, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks,
    restaurants, and comparable establishments;
    (2) the actor failed to make payment under a service
    agreement within 10 days after receiving notice demanding payment;

    Technically under the code the customer can be charged. If I was the customer I would have tried to work with the management to resolve the problem. If I was unable to resolve the problem with the shop then I would file a complaint with the BBB and seek civil remedy.
    If you got soft eyes, you can see the whole thing. If you got hard eyes - you staring at the same tree missing the forest.

    Detective William "Bunk" Moreland from The Wire

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Tmg View Post
      I know this can be a civil issue.
      It IS a civil issue.

      Why are you trying to make a criminal case?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by beavo451 View Post

        Why are you trying to make a criminal case?
        The work was approved before it was completed. The Customer picked up the vehicle and paid. The customer then stopped payment due to him not being satisfied.

        So basically the customer is avoiding payment for a service.

        Comment


        • #5
          Still a civil issue...

          Ok, I see you are a LEO? Did this shop call you?
          "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by irishlad2nv View Post
            Still a civil issue...

            Next, have you attempted to call the Police on this and is so, what did they advise?
            Why would i call the police???

            This is being debated in my PD. even supervisors cant agree on it.

            Comment


            • #7
              This is what prosecutors are paid for. Debating stuff like this.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by zigziggityzoo View Post
                This is what prosecutors are paid for. Debating stuff like this.
                This is true. However im in tolerant (Tarrant) county.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can you prove the auto shop did a good job? He cancelled the payment for a reason. Maybe he was right. That's why it's civil.
                  Originally posted by ISPY4U2
                  Tex, if I'm ever in the Lone Star state, which is unlikely unless I'm being held prisoner against my will by separatist extremists, remind me to buy you a beer. You make more sense every post.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tex4720 View Post
                    Can you prove the auto shop did a good job? He cancelled the payment for a reason. Maybe he was right. That's why it's civil.
                    Valid point and another officer made that point. That point was countered with "if a restaurant gave you crappy food, does that mean you dont have to pay"?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Seems like a theft to me.
                      For the cops out there: You are an adult. If you want to write someone, write them. If you don't want to write someone, then don't write them.

                      "Jeff, you are the best cop on this board"-Anonymous Post

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tmg View Post
                        Why would i call the police???

                        This is being debated in my PD. even supervisors cant agree on it.
                        That was before I saw your profile, which is kind of vague...FYI..

                        Either way, to me it's civil and good suggestion. Leave it to a DA to decide to prosecute.
                        "An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tmg View Post
                          Valid point and another officer made that point. That point was countered with "if a restaurant gave you crappy food, does that mean you dont have to pay"?
                          Good point.

                          But you're probably wasting your time if the prosecutor may just throw it out anyway. If you can contact a DA directly you could ask them. I've noticed that even pretty black and white laws like robbery have a way of becoming gray areas once the DA gets involved.
                          "No one can make you feel like a turd without your permission." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            On this specific issue, without all the facts of the case, I would treat it as a civil issue.

                            Coming from someone who has been shafted by mechanics in the past, I know how un-honest they can be!!

                            I paid for a part that was never installed on my vehicle a few years back and had to fight like crazy to get them to admit it.

                            I approved the work they were suppose to do and I knew the cost of it. I paid them for a service that they half-*****#@ in the first place and never completed.

                            My point is, if you would walk in the auto shop and arrest the mechanic who was suppose to perform work on a vehicle, but failed to do it right or didnt at all, by all means arrest the customer who obviously feels wronged..

                            Was it the right thing to do, probably not! Does it fit what the spirit of the law intended for a criminal charge, probably not..
                            "If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by K9krazy21 View Post
                              On this specific issue, without all the facts of the case, I would treat it as a civil issue.

                              Coming from someone who has been shafted by mechanics in the past, I know how un-honest they can be!!

                              I paid for a part that was never installed on my vehicle a few years back and had to fight like crazy to get them to admit it.

                              I approved the work they were suppose to do and I knew the cost of it. I paid them for a service that they half-*****#@ in the first place and never completed.

                              My point is, if you would walk in the auto shop and arrest the mechanic who was suppose to perform work on a vehicle, but failed to do it right or didnt at all, by all means arrest the customer who obviously feels wronged..

                              Was it the right thing to do, probably not! Does it fit what the spirit of the law intended for a criminal charge, probably not..
                              Yo! Where are you at now?
                              I yell "PIKACHU" before I tase someone.

                              Comment

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