In an action involving a plumber who was not paid for work that the homeowner alleged was not completed, the plumber originally filed a criminal complaint with the local municipal court alleging theft of services for failure of the homeowner to make such payment. 

In this matter of Jacobs v Mark Lindsay and Son Plumbing & Heating, the appellate court ruled that it is an “unconscionable commercial practice” to use the local police department as the plumber’s “debt collection agency,” instead of simply filing a civil suit against the homeowner. 

The court in part awarded damages against the plumber for failure to present the homeowner with a written contract specifying the work to be performed and the time in which it would be completed.  Treble damages, counsel fees and costs were also awarded to the homeowner for the abuse of process in filing the criminal action by the plumber.