Needs To Contract An Understanding In Contracts

| Working | May 7, 2015

(I recently finished an extensive project to install several computer systems for a new business. Afterwards, the owner paid me half of the agreed upon money with a check marked ‘full payment’. This is our conversation.)

Me: *handing it back* “I think you made a mistake. This is half of what we agreed to.”

Owner: *cheerfully* “Well, you see, the project ran over-budget, and since we were paying you so well we decided to just take the excess out of your paycheck.”

Me: *stunned* “That’s not how this works. We signed a contract for an agreed sum and you’re trying to rip me off for half of it.”

Owner: *laughing* “Oh, that silly thing! Yeah, I forgot to mention, my wife looked at it and said it was all wrong and that she could fix it easy.”

(He pulls out the contract from a drawer, where I can immediately see about a dozen ‘corrections’ made in pen and pencil, cutting my pay in half as well as including a clause for unlimited on-call repair work for the next 15 years.)

Me: “No. You owe me [total amount], which is due by the end of the week, and I clearly stated when I took this job I would only offer a two-year warranty for repairs.”

Owner: “You can’t do that! You already signed the contract!”

(I ended up going to small-claims court over this, where the judge openly mocked the business owner and his insistence that his ‘corrections’ to the contract were all perfectly valid and legal. The case was very quickly ruled in my favor.)

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