What happens ifa repair company charges me more thanI told them thatI could afford to pay?

I told a repair shop that I couldn’t spend over $600 getting my sewing machine fixed. After 3 months of waiting they told me that it cost $738. Do I have to pay it all?

Asked on December 2, 2011 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It depends on what exactly you told them in authorizing the work:

If you said that they should only do the work if it could be done for less than $600, then a good argument could be made that in doing they work, they accepted your terms that they could only bill up to $600 for it. In that event, you would not be liable for any amounts over that.

On the other hand, if  you told them that you'd appreciate it if they could go keep it to $600 or less, but told them to go ahead without making it explicit that they could only do the work for up to $600, then you might be liable for the balance.

Bear in mind that if you and they disagree about what was said, you could find yourself in litigation, which could cost you far more than the extra $138; it may be worthwhile to pay, or try to settle in the middle.

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