What to do if I had an estimate done to repair my chimney and was given a written proposal of $1,800 but now the company wants to increase the price?

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What to do if I had an estimate done to repair my chimney and was given a written proposal of $1,800 but now the company wants to increase the price?

It was signed and agreed to by both parties. I paid them a 50% deposit of $900 to have the work scheduled to be done, today. When they showed up to do the work I was told they will need to do it at another time as they feel the estimate was way wrong. They stated that if they did it at the price that was given they would be doing it for less than free. Said they will be in contact later on this with details and to try and reschedule. The person who came out to do the estimate took pictures of the chimney and saw everything first hand so there were no surprises; they knew what the job was. Can I hold them to this contract?

Asked on May 1, 2013 under Business Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

For a definitive answer, you'd have to bring the written agreement to an attorney to review with you, since written agreements are governed by their exact lanaguage and terms. That said, as a general matter, a written agreement to perform work for a given price is enforceable and you can take legal action to force them to honor the agreement. The exception would be if something changed beyond the contractor's control to increase costs--e.g. a raiload or trucking strike made getting the materials more expensive; a tree limb struck your chimney and caused additional damage after the estimate; etc.--since they are not responsible for acts or events beyond their control. However, if they simply made a mistake and quoted you too low a price, that is not legal grounds to escape their written agreement; nor is it legal grounds to escape the agreement that they would lose money on the work.


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