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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 100465
Experience:  Lawyer
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We had a contractor who also is a family friend install a

Customer Question

We had a contractor who also is a family friend install a generator at our home (the generator was purchased separately). The initial install quote was $2500 (verbal) – during stages of the install I asked him to update me on where we were on the cost at least 10 times. Since I received no update I believed we were on target. We received a bill for $9400 in the end. Needless to say we are no longer friends and this has caused quite a lot of frustration.
He told me to pay anything after a few weeks so i offered to pay $3500 ($1000 more than verbal quote) and he said it had to be $4500 or his trades would put a lien on our house.
Could you please give me some direction in this matter.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear this.

When did he substantially complete the work?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
July of this year
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There was never a contract signed or a written quote given because I trusted he knew what was required in the installation.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

I am not able to telephone you because the rules of my law society don't allow for me to speak on the telephone with you because you're not my client.

If the work was substantially completed in July it is too late for anyone to register a lien on title. The lien have to be registered on title within 45 days of the work having been substantially completed. This is an empty threat.

You can tell your friend that that you are not prepared to pay anymore money because you don't owe any more money. You can tell your friend that had there been a written quote the law is that the cost could not go further than 10% above the quote so you are only willing to pay 10% more and otherwise are very happy to have a court decide.

Your friend will have to sue you and it will be in small claims court and you can easily self represent. In fact, if you find you need some help as you go through the process you can always post on the site again and I can assist you further.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Does it matter that he put the invoice of August 10th, 2015?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also wondering if I should pay him as I feel he may take legal action if he does not receive what he considers is full payment - is there a release I could have him sign?
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

It does not matter when the invoice was issued. For the lien, it's based on when the work is substantially completed.

If you want to offer him enough money so that he may not sue you then you should get him to sign a release. If you decide that you want to pay him what you had agreed to pay him and nothing more and then see if he sues then you can do that. He may not agree to sign any release.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
is there a specific release resource online that you would recommend
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

No I don't unfortunately.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry - just to clarify - had there been a written quote the final cost would only be able to exceed that figure by 10% - in this case where a verbal quote has been provided the same rules apply - as a verbal contract ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also wondering if this conversation will be emailed to me ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Would someone please answer my questions
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry for the delay. But it is quite late in the evening and I am a single mother of four kids.

There is no one else that can answer except for me as no other expert would consider interrupting this post.

No, the same rule does not apply for verbal contracts but the same logic applies and since you didn't require a written quote because you trusted this person he should recognize that. He must know the law about written contracts and quotes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry - my apologies - I thought I was messaging an office environment - last stupid question - and this is not me trying to avoid payment but - are the rules surrounding verbal agreements looser than written contracts and could you give me an example or two of the differences if they exist ?
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

These are not stupid questions at all. In terms of the site, we are all practising lawyers on this Canada Law list and we answer from our offices and from our homes. In the site's office is actually somewhere in the US.

All contracts are binding whether they are verbal or written. It is just that under the consumer protection act there is a special provision states that for written quotes the price cannot be more than 10% higher than what was quoted.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
does that mean a verbal quote can be any % above ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry - does that mean the cost can be unlimited regardless of the quote in a verbal situation ?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You can probably understand the feeling of getting blindsided with a bill almost four times the agreed upon cost
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

No it it does it all mean that he can charge more. It just means that a court has to decide based on what the evidence is about the price.

If you have a written quote then the governmental branch that deals with enforcing the act, the consumer protection branch, could actually help you without a court having to become involved. At that point as well, there would not be any question as to the price because of the limitation of the ten percent.

But, as I said verbal contracts are binding and if there is an agreement about a price then the contractor has to stick to that price unless you agree that the price can be higher.

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