What to do if I recently had a lawn company seed my lawn and the estimate was for $1,800 but after the work was completed the final bill was $10,000?

He gave us an estimate was for his seeding program. We never signed anything. He never discussed price with us during the job. Can he do this?

Asked on February 11, 2015 under Business Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you authorized additional work, which is what the additional charges are for, he cannot do this. Assuming you did not authorize additional work:

If the estimate was a firm price quotation, he could be absolutely bound by its terms--$1,800 maximum.

If the estimate were not a firm quotation or proposal, but was only a good faith estimate, then he could likely charge somewhat more--good faith estimates are not required to be accurate to the dollar--but only a *reasonable* additional amount, based on the work as done being somewhat more time consumming or costly than he, in good faith, reasonably thought when he made the estimate. So, if he provided a good faith estimate for $1,800, charing you $2,000 would be perfectly reasonable, and up to around $2,500 or so defensible--but charging more than five times the quoted amount is not defensible at all. You should not be liable contractually, since that amount is so far beyond what you might have  contemplated that there would be no "meeting of the minds," which is required for an enforceable agreement; and quoting $1,800 while charging $10,000 would likely be fraud or consumer fraud, and potentially entitle you to compensation.


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