What to do about a change order that brought our project over budget?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What to do about a change order that brought our project over budget?

My wife and I recently built a house. During the build process we were told that we needed 12-15 loads of fill dirt because some of our soil was unsuitable for the septic. We have emails saying it would be within budget. That was 4 months ago. We just now received a bill for $2,200 because they

Asked on November 4, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If they told you in writing that there would be no additional charge, they have to abide by that: in that case, there was no agreement on your part, and hence no contractual obligation to pay more, because they told you, and you agreed to, having the extra soil for no extra charge. They cannot after the fact legally change that agreement without your consent.
That said, if they are determined to get the money, assume they will sue you. If they sue you, even in small claims court, you'll miss at least one, possibly more, days from work in responding to it; and while based on what you write, you have a good defense to having to pay, court is never 100% guaranteed--there is always the chance that a judge will interpret the situation and law in an unexpected way. You may wish to see if you could settle with them for some amount you are willing to pay, to avoid the hassle and uncertainty of litigation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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