Editor's Note: Hundreds of Ann Landers' loyal readers have requested that newspapers continue to publish her columns. These letters originally appeared in 1999.
Dear Ann Landers: Here's a comment on your Gem of the Day, "People who live in glass houses may as well answer the doorbell. Callers know you're there."
My parents, who were Dutch, owned a summer cottage on the seashore. The Dutch are very family oriented, especially when one of them owns a cottage on the seashore, and my parents were tired of uninvited drop-ins.
One Sunday, when they saw a carload of people arriving, they ducked behind the sofa and didn't answer the door. The visitors, thinking no one was home, decided to have a picnic on the lawn. Since the cottage had many windows, my parents spent the entire day crouched behind the sofa. — Arlington, Va.
Dear Arlington: Serves 'em right. People who don't have the guts to protect their privacy deserve what they get. They should have said, "Sorry, we have plans for today. Next time you want to visit, phone, and we'll make a date."
Dear Ann Landers: Two years ago, I hired an attorney to represent me in a legal matter. He told me it would cost $3,000. I gave him $1,000, and we agreed that I would make monthly payments of $100 until it was all paid off.
Imagine my surprise when, after my case was over, I received a bill for $6,795. When I called the attorney and asked about the statement, all he said was, "Well, that is what it costs." According to him, I still owe him $3,500.
I realize it was stupid of me not to have a signed contract specifying what the bill would be. However, this attorney, knowing our verbal agreement, never once contacted me to let me know the bill would be so exorbitant. Is there anything I can do, or must I pay the entire fee? I don't feel he deserves it, but I don't want to wreck my credit rating. What should I do? — Legally Entangled
Dear Entangled: If this attorney agreed to charge you $3,000 and did not incur any extraordinary expenses during the proceedings, you may have a case. Contact the state bar association or the state disciplinary commission, and ask them to look into this matter for you. It will cost you nothing to report it. Good luck — and next time, be sure to get agreements in writing, even when you are dealing with attorneys.
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.