Whats the best next step regarding an estimate that was not honored?

I hired a contracted worker to do some work and they gave me a estimate $2500 -$3500. With nothing changing, she came back and said the estimate has doubled because the work is taking longer than she expected $5000-$8000. I gave her a retainer of $1200 which she just cashed. The project is not only at risk, she is also not on time per our agreement. We do have a signed agreement with both signatures and dates. At this point I want my $1200.00 for breach of contract.

Asked on September 2, 2014 under Business Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you have a signed contract which lists costs and/or dates of completion, and the contractor is in violation of one or both terms, you could sue for breach of contract. Depending on the exact circumstances, you may be entitled to the return of your deposit or to other compensation (called "damages"), such as payment for delays or costs you incurred due to the delays. While the circumstances affect the exact remedy you could get, as a rough guide, if the work is barely begun, you should be able to cancel the contract and get your deposit; if the work is well underway, you may be able to hold her to completing it for the amount indicated in the contract and/or get compensation for the inconvenience and cost caused by delays.


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