Can a business charge a fee for an estimate after they decline the job?

We approached a local shed building company for the possibility of installing a shed in our yard. They informed us that they charge $125 for a site visit in order to make an accurate estimate of costs and we agreed to it. After the visit, they informed us that they were not interested in the job, and they still want the estimate fee for “travel cost.” Odd situation – contract not fulfilled from my perspective.

Thanks for your help!

Asked on November 11, 2015 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, they cannot charge you the fee unless they actually gave you an estimate, which estimate you had the option of accepting (i.e. they can't give you an "estimate" which they have no intention of honoring). Otherwise, they are in breach of contract (did not honor their obligationt to provide an estmate) and so cannot recover the fee from you.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.