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Phone installer ordered to pay

John Colson

An Aspen telephone installer was ordered Wednesday to pay one of his clients more than $900 after the client filed suit over a phone system that was paid for but never installed.

Walt Suebert of Henry’s Audio Video Specialists Ltd. was ordered to pay $918.88 to Todd Heimel of Heimel Pomeroy Interior Design after Pitkin County Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely ruled that both men were partially at fault in the small claims case.

The men had a somewhat heated exchange on the second-floor landing of the Pitkin County Courthouse after the trial.

“He said he’d call me,” Heimel said after Suebert had left. “That means he isn’t going to pay me.”

According to Heimel, his former partner, Carrie Pomeroy, had called Henry’s to order a phone system for a short-lived business she and Heimel were trying to start in late 1999. They apparently paid a deposit of more than $1,500 in advance of the installation, then a second deposit of $650 or so when Heimel canceled the first order and requested a phone system with greater capacity for outside lines.

So, Suebert said, he sent back the first order, ordered a second one and was ready to install it in February 2000 when Heimel canceled the second order as well.

Suebert claimed Heimel’s other partner, Steve Garcia, “was not friendly to me” and that during a phone conversation Garcia had referred to “me, my mother and a sexual act,” a charge that Heimel denied.

Heimel claimed Suebert overcharged for a “restocking fee,” equaling one-third of the deposit amounts, to cover the costs of sending the two systems back. Heimel also said Suebert’s bill for labor on the project, $450, was “padded.”

The judge, seeking middle ground, ruled that the restocking fee should have been only 15 percent, calling that the “industry standard,” and that the labor charges should stand. The decision means that, out of the original deposits, Suebert owes Heimel $805, plus court costs of $68 and a $45 charge for a private investigator to find Suebert and serve him with court papers.

If Suebert does not pay the money, he could be charged with contempt of court.

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