Can I ignore a bill from a laywer who offered a free consultation?

hiii_98 asked:

I was lawyer shopping and one of the lawyers I met with told me i could speak to him on a free consultation. We spoke for about 40 minutes and then he told me if i decided to hire him to bring a check to his office and to sign a retainer agreement. The business deal i was going to hire him for never panned out and I never returned to his office. Now 3 months later i get a bill from him for the consultation fee and actually 3 hours of work he did on my case.

My question is since i never hired him in the first place nor signed a retainer, what should I do with this $300.00 bill I have in front of me? He does not have my social or any other information and I never ever agreed to hire him nor asked him to do any work on my case. I somewhat feel cheated and scammed, but I dont want my credit ruined in anyway. Can i ignore the bill and tell him to get bent?
sorry i’m new to yahoo answers and did not know how to add more detail. I have been calling the laywer and he has not responded to my inquires. So i called the Wisconsin Bar and filed a complaint, they said an investigator will be contacting his office within the next 2 weeks. Without any signed paperwork, or social security number, can the attorney submit me to a credit bureau and can that bureau actually affect my credit score? If not, ***** this scammer. :) Thank you all for your very very helpful answers.

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6 Responses to “Can I ignore a bill from a laywer who offered a free consultation?”

  1. Tim on February 10th, 2009 1:42 am

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    I assume you never signed any papwerwork?

    I would ignore it, but I would contact the lawyer and remind him of the free consultation and you never authorized anything past that point.

    Who knows. Maybe it is a paperwork error.

  2. crazyem on February 12th, 2009 8:43 pm

    Create a video blog…instantly.

    Was there a clause? Was it a free consultation if you decided to then hire him? This sounds shady whether there was or not. It doesn’t make sense that he would try to bill you. So unless he showed you some sort of proof that the free consult was only free with something else, he doesn’t have a right to charge you. Unfortunately, you may need the assistance of another lawyer to get you out of this mess.

  3. CarinaPapa on February 14th, 2009 1:31 pm

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    If there is no contract, and you did not sign any document authorizing him to work on your behalf for a set hourly rate or for a contingency fee, then I suspect that he’s trying to clear up some old accounting matters and didn’t realize that the only contact with you was on a free consultation.

    If you didn’t bring a check or sign a retainer agreement, he has no standing to represent you or charge you for work on your behalf. If he kicks up a stink, talk to the local bar association about filing a complaint.

  4. My Final Answer on February 15th, 2009 6:48 am

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    You said you went lawyer shopping and the one you contacted said free consultation. Have you gone back through the shopping program and locate the lawyer? Does it say on the ad free consultation? If it does, you don’t have to pay so as long as you keep the ad. If it doesn’t, file a complaint with the state bar association and explain the problem. You’ll have something on record and may not have to pay.

  5. Luke D on February 17th, 2009 7:35 am

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    Why are you running scared? Just because he’s an attorney doesn’t make him the almighty.

    Call the lawyer and tell him what you just said. It’s probably an accounting error that won’t get corrected until you bring it to his attention. GEEEEEEZZZ

  6. San on February 18th, 2009 9:20 pm

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    I guess you should contact him and clear things out, and hope that you have not signed any paper, he cant put that information on your credit report, even if he does you can dispute it.

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