Can I get a refund?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I get a refund?

I paid 15k for engineered house plans. I told the designer/ salesman, my budget was 400k. He gave the plans and it actually costs 650k. I want a refund. I did give him my needs and wants, but doesn’t he have fiduciary obligation to stay close to budget, instead of 65 over? I paid from an invoice and I signed a retainer contract.

Asked on August 23, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It's not a fiduciary obligation per se, though it is something similar: any contract (including the agreement, whether written or unwritten/oral, according to which they agreed to produce plans for you and you agreed to pay for them) includes what is known as a "covenant of good faith and fair dealing," which is an obligation, imposed by law, to not take steps to deprive the other side of the benefit of the contract. Producing something so far over the budget you told them and unusable by you could be seen as violating that covenant. It would provide grounds to sue for the return of your money (or if you have not paid yet, if they sue you for the funds, you could raise their violation of the covenant as a defense to having to pay. A violation of this covenant is treated like  a breach of a contractual term.

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