CCOften, if you consult a contractor to do any sort of work, you will be provided at the outset with either an estimate, or a quote.  The two are very different.

If you have been given and have accepted a quote, a contract is created.  The contractor can only charge the quoted amount for the work done.

If you have been provided with an estimate on the other hand, a contract is not created.  Two essential elements of a contract are that:

  1. the terms are certain; and
  2. there is an intention to create a legally binding relationship.

A quote fulfills both of the above elements, whilst an estimate fulfills neither.

Often people are lured into a contract by a favourable estimate, only to later be charged a higher amount.  If this has happened to you there are a number of possible remedies, but they are not based on the contract.

The first remedy is in misrepresentation, or misleading and deceptive conduct.  If you have been lured into a contract by a misrepresentation, then you can apply to have the contract set aside.  If however, you have received the benefit of the contract, you will still have to pay the reasonable amount for the work done, but nothing in excess of that.

The second remedy is the equitable remedy of estoppel.  Estoppel is a rule of law that says that if one party makes a representation, and it is relied on by another party to their detriment, the first party cannot act in a manner contrary to the representation.

For an estoppel to arise, the representation made must be sufficiently clear and certain.  A party is unlikely to be estopped unless there can be little dispute about the effect of the representation.

If you have a query relating to invoices, quotes or estimates, please contact Everingham Solomons, because Helping You is Our Business.

Click here for more information on Clint Coles.