What to do if an electrician is charging for an estimate?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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What to do if an electrician is charging for an estimate?

I called an electrician to fix my vacuum cleaner. He came to my house and told me the motor was broken. He then told me it would cost $400 to fix. He then left. He was in my house for 5 minutes. He mailed me a bill the next week for $60 for the estimate. He never told me that there was a fee for estimates. I didn’t agree to anything nor did I sign anything. He said he will send my bill to a collection agency if I don’t pay.

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You do not owe for an estimate unless you were made aware of the charge up front and agreed to it.

You have two options:

1) if you can afford the $60, you might pay, since it will save you the time and cost of taking action as well as spare you from having to deal with collections. It is unfair to have to pay it, but it is sometimes the most practical response.

2) if you can't--or simply refuse to pay--let the electrician know that because he did not inform you of the cost for an estimate in advance, you do not owe it; and if he tries to collect or sends the bill to a collection agency, you will sue him for consumer fraud, report him to the better business bureau, and possibly report him to whatever board or agency licenses electricians in your state; then be ready to follow through with these steps if necessary. If contacted by a collections agency, dispute the debt in writing and let them know that it is fraudulent and you are taking action against the electrician.

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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