What Is a Service Call No-Show Penalty in California Law?

By Mary Jane Freeman
In California, customers can sue a repair technician who is late or misses a scheduled appointment.

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Worse than experiencing a power outage or plugged-up toilet is waiting on a repairman to show up. This is because businesses often require consumers to be available during a specific window of time, some as lengthy as 12 hours, which often means the consumer must take off work or reschedule important tasks to accommodate the appointment. In California, if a business fails to show up for an agreed-upon appointment with a customer, state law allows the customer to hold the business accountable by pursuing a "no show" penalty.

Four-Hour Window

Under California law, when a company with 25 or more employees makes an appointment with a customer to deliver purchased merchandise or make a repair, the wait time cannot be more than four hours. For example, if a customer purchases a sofa from the local furniture store on Monday and delivery is scheduled for later that day, the delivery window cannot be between noon and 9 p.m., but between noon and 4 p.m. or 2 and 6 p.m. is okay. Relying on this law, customers can demand a four-hour window if a business attempts to schedule a lengthier one.

Accountability

If a business fails to make the scheduled delivery or complete a repair within the four-hour window, the customer can sue the business in smalls claims court for lost wages, expenses or other actual damages the customer incurred because of the delay, up to $600. This remedy is only available if the delay or missed appointment was not the result of unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances outside of the business's control or the customer was not present at the scheduled time.

About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.

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