Legal Question in Construction Law in Nebraska

Billing Dispute

Had a basement remodeled. Contractor quoted me a price per sheet of paneling. When the final bill came, he had charged me almost $20 more per sheet than he originally told me. Can he do this? I was only aware of the one quote he told me and was never told of an increase.

Asked on 3/27/07, 12:07 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Duke Drouillard Drouillard Law, LLC

Re: Billing Dispute

It probably would have been better customer relations for him to advise you of the difference in price. If total price was not guaranteed by your contractor, then both of you were probably operating on the basis of an estimate. As long as the estimate is in good faith, minor fluctuations in price are normal. You might call the contractor and ask him, nicely, if he would explain the difference in price to you. He may have made a mistake in his bill, prices may have gone up, or he may have made a mistake on the estimate. If the total price of the project didn't change by more than 10%, then this is a fairly common occurrence. You can avoid this by asking for a guaranteed price next time, but there are two problems with that approach. First, contractor will usually factor in some margin for error into his guaranteed price. Second, contractor may be tempted to cut corners in order to keep his guaranteed price. If the contractor did good work and you are happy with the results, I would just ask him courteously about the price difference. He might discount the difference just as a matter of goodwill in hopes that you might send him referrals.

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Answered on 3/27/07, 3:16 pm

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