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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.


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