Can I refuse to pay the dogwalker who took off with my house keys?

Question

Can I withhold partial payment on a final bill for dogwalking services? I fired the provider and he never returned my house keys. It cost $95 to have my lock changed. What are my options?

Answer

You should certainly deduct $95 for the changed lock and any other costs incurred -- for example, if you fired him because your dog was neglected and it cost $100 for a vet to attend to the dog's slights. Enclose a note explaining why you are deducting the money.

You might also consider trading in your dog for a cat or two; most of them prefer to walk themselves, allowing you to avoid this mess from the getgo.

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