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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. of experience in employment law, real estate and business law, family law, criminal defense and immigration.
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My wife and I own a home on Cape Cod and contracted with a

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My wife and I own a home on Cape Cod and contracted with a landscaper to trim some trees and bushes and to regrade a section of our property for grass. We agreed to an estimate of $4,225 and paid a deposit of 50% or $2,129. A second payment of $720 was paid the following week for delivery of mulch, which we spread ourselves. The first part of the project went well -- the trimming of the trees and bushes. But as soon as the regrading was to begin, the Cape experienced several days of torrential rains. This flooded our yard making it next to impossible for the regrading to take place. Nevertheless the landscaper showed up with his Bob Cat and began sloshing around the property, sinking into the mud, damaging the underlying irrigation system and adjacent trees and bushes. I had to intercede and ask him to stop and delay the project until the grounds dried out. A week later the project was completed and I received an invoice that was more than 250% higher than the quoted estimate! We were never consulted about this and the landscaper never discussed cost or time overruns. He simply claims it took him more time than expected and he demands payment from us. Our contract does not address cost overruns or limit upside expense. It simply states a quoted amount to do the job. We have registered our serious concerns with the contractor and told him we are shocked and deeply disappointed by this sudden increase in cost ... without any prior conversation. What are my options? Thank you.

Hi, and Welcome, My name isXXXXX am a licensed, practicing Attorney and would like to help,



You asked,


"What are my options ?"




We ask for an estimate when we want work done because (1) We want to see if it fits into our budget; (2) If we can afford it; and (3) We want to make an informed decision. We are also reasonable so that if the final bill comes in at $4,325, we are not going to think that it is a big deal and it still fits within out budget.


However, when a workman gives you an estimate, you approve the work and justifiably rely on the final bill not deviating too far from the original estimate, then gives you a final bill which is 250% more than the initial estimate, you know that there was never an agreement for this amount or anything near it.


You do not have to pay anything more than the initial estimate plus about another $100 because that is how estimates usually go. If the landscaper miscalculated the amount of time it would take him, or miscalculated the amount of work involved in the landscaping, that is not your concern. When an individual holds himself out to be an expert in a designated field, you have the right to justifiably rely on his estimate and that the final bill will come in around that number. This sounds almost as if this is part of a scam - Give the customer a low estimate, start the job, then knock them out with more than double your estimate. Well, you can tell him that is not the way you work and that is not the way the law operates, especially the Consumer Protection Law. Do not let him intimidate or scare you. There is no way that he can justify such a difference between his estimate and his final bill. Tell him what you will pay him, give him a check and he can do what he pleases with it because you do not owe him any where near what he is demanding and you have the law on your side,





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