Thank you for your patience;
so only contracts greater than $1,000 need to be in writing (but of course the homeowner should always insist any amount is in writing). sample contract here
The contractor can only collect 33% of the price up front; there are no restrictions on the amount that the job may deviate from the quote in the statute.
If the contractor purposefully gave a low bid that is a violation of the consumer protection laws preventing Deceptive Practices.
Any complaints can be filed here
All statutes are here
Generally red flags are raised when a contractor bids without seeing the job- because it's impossible to know what it entails.
Normally the contractor can only charge additional amounts based on unexpected issues (for example, if interior work is being done, or roofing, and dry rot was not discoverable until a wall was removed). If a due diligence inspection would reveal the mortar (as presumably is the case) then that should be included with the original quote.
An agreement must contain four essential elements to be regarded as a contract. If any one of them is missing, the agreement will not be legally binding.
3. Intention (meeting of the minds)
4. Consideration (fair value exchanged)
For breach of a contract, there is a material breach (goes to the very heart of the matter) and an immaterial breach (money damages will help compensate the plaintiff).
In cases of material breach, the party not in breach may revoke their acceptance, so goods/payment are returned.
For immaterial breach, the plaintiff is compensated by the defendant paying for the damages (ie cost of repair).
The main thing the court will look at is whether one could tell the mortar needed replaced by a visual; if so, then that would be included as a term of the contract; if not, then it would be an unanticipated add on. The way these type of cases are generally won is by getting a professional third party opinion, or having an attorney write a letter stating that they will hire a third party to do the repairs and sue for damages (difference between contracted price and price paid to third party).