SMALL CLAIMS COURT: SERVICES RENDERED
“… For Services Rendered”
Sorry, we are not talking about For Services Rendered play by Somerset Maugham. “For services rendered” is a more formal way of saying “for work done”.
A service is the intangible and insubstantial equivalent of an economic good. It cannot be touched, gripped, handled, looked at, smelled, tasted or heard. A service cannot be turned over from the service provider to the service consumer nor returned from the service consumer to the service provider. Solely, the service delivery can be commissioned to a service provider who must generate and render the service at the request of a service consumer.
Some explanations about Services Rendered claims in Small Claims Court
Each service is unique. It is one-time generated, rendered and consumed and can never be exactly repeated as the point in time, location, circumstances, conditions, current configurations and/or assigned resources are different for the next delivery, even if the same service consumer requests the same service. Just a simple example: the taxi service which transports the service consumer from his home to the opera is different from the taxi service which transports the same service consumer from the opera to his home – another point in time, the other direction, maybe another route, probably another taxi driver and cab.
Almost every discussion regarding “buyer-seller/service provider” transactions are based on the premise that consumer rights need to be protected in any possible way. It is not an unfair practice, but what is largely overlooked is the notion that sellers/service providers also have rights, risks and costs.
- You were sewing curtains for a week from sunrise to sunset keeping in mind every detail that you’ve agreed upon with your client but when you installed the draperies she said it was not the ones that she dreamt about and refused to pay.
- You published an ad from a mortgage broker in your glossy paper full colour magazine but the broker didn’t want to pay because he didn’t get any calls.
- You wrote 200 pages of texts for your customer’s website but after 8 months your invoice is still unpaid. The examples are endless.
Please do not forget that claims for Services Rendered bellow $500 will not be heard in a Small Claims Court, as the court costs would outweigh the cost of the claim.
The main types of Services Rendered claims in Small Claims Court are:
- Unpaid accounts for services rendered
- Unpaid loans
- Unpaid rent
- No customer satisfaction for the quality of services rendered
Services Rendered Related Proceedings in Small Claims Court
You might want to file a claim for Services Rendered related matters in Small Claims Court if the damages you will request are not more than $25,000. The number of steps in a Small Claims Court proceedings varies from case to case.
Time Limits: There may be a time limit on how long you can wait before making a claim in Small Claims Court, which is set out in the Limitations Act. Under the law, the time you have to sue may run out. The deadlines vary depending on the circumstances of the case, and the type of case or claim. Check the time limits for your type of case. If you aren’t sure about whether you are still in time to make a claim, talk to CP Paralegal Services.
The following steps will have to be taken for your Services Rendered related case in Small Claims Court:
- Completing the Plaintiff’s Claim form: you will be required to write in the plaintiff’s claim form a short, clear summary of the events that took place and the reasons you think you are entitled to judgment against the defendant.
- Deciding which Small Claims Court office to go to
- Preparing all documents and evidences that can support your case
- Filing the claim
- Paying Small Claims Court fees
- Serving the Plaintiff’s Claim after you have filed the claim with the court: you must prove that the defendant was properly served with the claim. You do this by filing an Affidavit of Service form.
If you have filed a claim and the defendant has not filed a Defence within 20 days, you can ask the court clerk to note the defendant in default. You do this by filing a Request to Clerk form. When a defendant has been noted in default you can ask the court to order them to pay money to you. This can be done by:
- Asking the court clerk to sign default judgment for a specified sum of money for that you must fill out and file a Default Judgment form; or
- Asking a judge to order default judgment. To do this, you file a Notice of Motion and Supporting Affidavit form. Explain the facts supporting your motion.
If it is a defended small court procedure, both parties should go for a settlement conference – a meeting with the parties and a judge to try to find an answer to the case that all parties can agree to. It must be held no later than 90 days after the first Defence is filed. There is a special rule for claims that are less than $2,500. The parties can agree to have a judge decide the case at the settlement conference. To agree to this, the parties must fill out a Consent form. The judge would decide the case at the settlement conference only if the parties could not reach a settlement. If the judge decides the case at the settlement conference, the case ends and there is no trial. At the trial each party tells their side of the story and the judge makes a decision.
What You Need to Consider BEFORE making Services Rendered related claim in Small Claims Court:
- Ask yourself if a lawsuit that you are going to start will be worth it.
- You will need the correct legal name of the person or business and a current residential or business address.
- Information you need to have to support your Small Claims Court case: You will have to prove your case. Consider what witnesses and/or documents you have to support you: any written evidence, copies of documents, photographs and other that you intend to use to support your claim must be attached to the Plaintiff’s Claim form.
- Time you have to spend: Can you take days off at work to file your claim, deliver documents, and attend in court for a trial? Are you willing to spend hours and hours for: 1) researching all guides on filing your claim; 2) researching all applicable Small Claims Court procedures and steps; 3) visiting Law Help Ontario at Small Claims Court – Pro Bono Law Ontario Duty Counsel are free lawyers that offer limited services to the public at the Toronto Small Claims Court; or 4) reading legislation on-line, for example the Limitations Act?
- Consider other options to resolve the issue: To keep your costs low, you might want to try to reach an agreement out of court. This is called settlement. You may consider mediation, which is a less formal method of resolving a dispute through a neutral third party. Mediation can be less time-consuming, more flexible, and less expensive than proceeding in court. It can also help you find your own solution to the dispute and preserve your relationship with the person/business. CP Paralegal Services is always ready to provide you with mediation services.
- Consider having help from CP Paralegal Services: keep in mind, court staff cannot provide you with legal advice or help you to complete all necessary forms. Do not relay on information from relatives and friends, unless they are lawyers or paralegals.
How CP Paralegal Services Can Help You with Services Rendered Related Case in Small Claims Court
The list of reasons to make a claim for Services Rendered related matter in Small Claims Court can be endless. Although, you do not need a lawyer or paralegal when you go to Small Claims Court, to have a knowledgeable and experienced party to defend your case is a good idea. Remember, CP Paralegal Services is always ready to help you with your Services Rendered related matter. We think that the information above that we have gathered especially for you, has assured you that dealing with Small Claims Court claim is complicated and often is overwhelming even for professionals.
There are 3 reasons why you may consider asking CP Paralegal Services for assistance:
- At CP Paralegal Services, we have experience and knowledge; we know how to deal with your Services Rendered related case in Small Claims Court.
- CP Paralegal Services will develop the best possible strategy of your defence.
- We make sure that all evidences are well-organized for your Services Rendered related case and all time limits are considered.
Do not make a mistake! Save your time, money and nerves!
Let CP Paralegal Services do their job while you are doing yours!
Do not forget that the other party is able to respond to your claim and may give evidence that will affect the judge’s view of your Services Rendered related case. The particular details and proceedings for Services Rendered related cases are very technical, tricky and complicated and, more likely, you will need professional assistance.