What to do about a contractor’s bid work that wasn’t necessary?

We had a rooter/plumber look at our sewer line from our home to the street with a video camera (we were not present but our property manager was) and he stated the entire line needed to be replaced for at least $10,000. I got a 2nd estimate from another plumber (licensed) and he did the work for $6,855. The 2nd plumber does not do video inspections of sewer lines but since his estimate was better and he seemed more professional, we went with him. However, when he dug a trench and began the process of replacing the old line, he said it was fine and did not need to be replaced.

Asked on October 18, 2011 under General Practice, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is not clear which bid you are talking about. If it is the first rooter/plumber bid, then even if it was for unnecessary work or was excessive, since you did not take it, there was no loss to you and therefore not cause of action.

If you're talking about the bid from the second plumber, who began the work but then discoved the line did not need to be replaced, the issue is what was said to you prior to your agreeing to have them do the work. You say he does not do video inspections...if he never lied or misrepresented about his inspection or the source of his knowledge, but, for example, gave you a bid based on what you told him or the inspection by the first plumber and you agreed to the bid on that basis, then he probably did nothing legally wrong (even if he later turned out to be mistaken): he disclosed the basis for his bid to you and you accepted it. If he did lie in some significant way, that, though, may give you grounds for  a lawsuit, based on the misrepresentation.

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