If I got a lower quote to fix something and they use someone who costs more am I obligated to pay?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If I got a lower quote to fix something and they use someone who costs more am I obligated to pay?

I hit a concrete mailbox and knocked it over. I got a bbb rated company to quote
150.00 to fix the mailbox. The person went with a company that is charging
850.00 am I obligated to pay that full price?

Asked on December 19, 2017 under Accident Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The person whose property you damaged or destroyed is entitled to the "reasonable" cost to replace or repair it, an amount that is generally neither the lowest nor the highest price. If you have a quote that is essentially 1/6th his, that suggests (but does not by itself 100% prove) that his price was unreasonable. If he insists on you paying more than you believe is appropriate, you could refuse to pay; he could then sue you (e.g. in small claims court) and could get an order for you to pay the amount that he can prove is reasonable; you could present your own evidence as to why it is not reasonable. A reasonable guess is that he might get around $450 - $600, a court finding that his price was unrealistically high, but not requiring him to do with the lowest price--in my experience, small claims judges like to "split the difference" in many cases and find something between the competing claims. If it is worth it to you to potentially lose a day to court and have to go through litigation to save around $300, give or take, on average, then maybe offer him $400 or $450 towards the price and if he won't take it, let him sue you and see how it plays out.

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