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Can anyone help: quoted £40k for some work, they're now billing for £90k. Can they do this?

(40 Posts)
Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 13:26:41

My DH got a quote for some work to be done that was meant to be between £35,000 and £40,000. Two weeks ago the company verbally said it was on track to still be that amount.

They've emailed him today with the final bill and it is nearly £100,000. To say we're in shock is an understatement. I feel sick.

They say they there was a part of the bill filed in an old system, so they had only just become aware that it was so high.

Does anyone know where we stand legally? Can a company just increase an amount like this without any warning?


Duckdeamon Sat 07-Nov-15 13:28:01

Do you have a written specification? Has the project stayed the same?

DoreenLethal Sat 07-Nov-15 13:29:44

No, that is the point of a quote.

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 13:30:50

I wouldn't say it was a specification. It was an outline of the work to be done, broken down into estimates for the main areas of work. (E.g. Rebuild x £20k, upgrade y £10k etc).

mcdog Sat 07-Nov-15 13:30:55

Was it a quote or an estimate??

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 13:31:58

It was a quote.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Sat 07-Nov-15 13:33:13

This is complex.

An estimate is just that, and not binding in any way.

A written quote, with sufficient detail and a contract, is binding. Any additional costs should be dealt with as explained in the contract (some will get prior approval, some set a limit and get approval after that, etc)

A verbal quote is not usually binding but would usually be followed by a binding contract including the total cost, so it doesn't matter.

What does your quote comprise of, and what does your contract say?

PissPotPourri Sat 07-Nov-15 13:35:24

I believe that any further expenses incurred on quoted work should be discussed and okayed, in writing so that both parties are covered. At no point should charges be higher than a quote unless extra work has been added to the specification by the customer and agreed as above.

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 13:38:41

There was no formal contract. It was a written quote that set out the main areas of work and individual quotes for these.

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 13:41:07

We'd used them before and they're the most respected company in this field. Can't believe we've put ourselves in this situation.

DoreenLethal Sat 07-Nov-15 13:42:56

When they say 'part of the bill was in an old filing system' - that is not your concern and if all the quotes for areas of the work add up to your £40k then how on earth would you be aware that they hadn't priced it up properly?

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 13:44:54

Sorry, I haven't been clear. They didn't know at the beginning that it would cost that much extra, that is how much the have overrun by. They have a system where they material costs, hours worked etc.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sat 07-Nov-15 13:46:29

If it's a written quote then no they can't increase it like that. Id get the work done, pay the 40k you agreed and tell them to go fuck themselves for the rest.

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 13:52:54

That's what I want to do, but I'm worried they'll take us to court.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sat 07-Nov-15 13:54:55

I would be down CAB next week and get advice.

You'll know then for sure if you're in the right and then if so let them take you to court. How close are they to finishing? If they get an idea you might not pay they might walk off the job so be vp careful.

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 13:55:52

They've almost finished, so not too worried about that thankfully.

AnthonyBlanche Sat 07-Nov-15 14:03:21

What kind of work OP? I assume building / property renovation? If the original estimate you were given was only £40K I'd be contacting the company doing the work to ask why cost has more than doubled without them warning you. If you were given a fixed quote of £40K I would go back and point this out to the company.

anotherdayanothersquabble Sat 07-Nov-15 14:13:44

Pay them based on the quote. Send a copy of the quote, the bill and a letter stating that you asked them to go ahead with the work in good faith based on the quotation and at no time did they highlight any risk of over run in terms of time or materials. State that you did not budget for the job to be double the original estimate and would not have proceeded if you had been made aware. Unfortunately you cannot be held responsible for their failure to provide an accurate quotation, failure to flag the increase in costs or the failure to control the costs. If they can prove that you have agreed to the additional costs, you will consider what action you can take but in the absence of such proof you are not liable for the additional charges. You hope this will not impact the previously good relationship you have had. Best regards

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 14:13:51

We've spoken to them on the phone and they are going to bring in someone to assess what would be a fair compromise. They have definitely spent more on materials than they planned, so I guess it's only fair that we pay that.

Feel slightly less panicky than I did before. They seem like they realised we wouldn't agree to the full amount.

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 14:14:55

Thanks everyone. You've all helped loads.

mumofthemonsters808 Sat 07-Nov-15 14:18:46

It's very unusual for the Builders to present a final bill that is double the initial price, usually there are lots of conversations about additional costs and running over budget. All the building firms I have used have always wanted part payment as the project progresses. It is in the interests of the building firm to not rely upon the final payment of such a hefty bill, especially when itis double the initial quote.Is there more to this story ??

Iwasworried Sat 07-Nov-15 14:19:00

When they found unexpected circumstances each ssubstantial added costs they should have consulted either you at each point. Use should also have been given a written contact to sign setting out how the company would approach any additional charges.
Without either of these things they don't sound a very professional outfit I'm afraid.

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 14:20:10

I don't understand when you say is there more to the story? Like what?

We've already paid £20k.

Iwasworried Sat 07-Nov-15 14:20:54

^^ with substantial added costs... Autocorrect!

Also as mumof says, it's v unusual for a building project of this scale not to require part payment halfway through.

Boofhead Sat 07-Nov-15 14:21:14

I think the point is they weren't keeping check on the budget. They thought it was on track two weeks ago, they've then checked their old system and realised it's much higher.

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