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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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Did you see my question? A contractor quoted $450 to fix my

Customer Question

Did you see my question? A contractor quoted $450 to fix my brick entry way steps (motor disintegrated on a couple of dozen..He neveer checked the ones out that were in place. I had pulled some of the bad ones out for safety. He came again, said he'd stick to original quote, then on day of service, said it was worse than expected, and would cost me $850. Is there a certain overage to the estimate that a contractor is allowed to charge a consumer?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to assisting you today.

I am sorry to learn about this doubling in price for your home improvement contract. Unfortunately Massachusetts (while being one of the more protective states for consumers) does not have a statutory limitation on how much a project can exceed the initial estimate by.

However, if the contractor performed the work before they got your permission to proceed at the increased price, they cannot enforce the new cost. (in which case you could consider a small claims case for breach of contract to settle the dispute)

But, if the contractor let you know that the cost was going to be higher (even if it was in the morning when they were getting ready to start work), and you agreed to the increased expense, then they can hold you responsible for the new amount.

(That doesn't mean you cannot try to negotiate something with them, many businesses work on a basis of trying to keep positive consumer reviews and similar public relations goals, so they may be willing to adjust their position out of recognition that their statements to you were misleading at best).

You can try filing a claim with the BBB: in both cases - the BBB acts as a mediation service of sorts for consumer disputes and is free to consumers to utilize. They have no enforcement powers, but for minor disputes such as this, they can be effective (particularly since all BBB disputes become part of the public BBB ranking for the business)