The price I paid was much higher than the estimate, I feel conned!

Generally speaking an estimate does not amount to an offer and is not legally binding, although if the final price is significantly higher than the estimate you can claim a breach of the statutory ‘reasonable cost’ term. You should be clear about getting a quote rather than en estimate, as this will then become the final price as agreed as per contract. However if it turns out that more work is needed as required by law or regulations (e.g. a fire escape to be installed , or adjustments made due to building control requirements), the supplier will be able to recover these additional costs from you. If however, they are outrageous, you can legitimately argue they could and should have been reasonably foreseen by the supplier, and bring a case for misrepresentation.

How can I resolve the situation?

What about contracts for services?

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9 comments… add one
  • William Galton 6 March, 3:36 pm

    We have recently appointed a painter. They have completed some of the work, and now that it’s nearing completion they have announced an increase in their labour/time costs of 30%. This increase seems high to me and whilst what they originally provided was ‘called’ an estimate their terms and what this meant were not clearly detailed – i.e. in the event of any changes and percentage of variance. Is there a standard percentage increase beyond which I’m perfectly within my rights to call the supplier on what they’re now saying. Thanks – William

  • kathy 28 May, 4:18 pm

    help: I have just signed an estimate for £199 for loft insulation. I would like to know if this is legally binding. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks Kathy

  • Viv 5 December, 1:31 am

    Would like to know if once a builder has agreed that a specific sum is paid, can he ask for all the payment to be made before the work is completed, and as he has received £21,100.00 out of the £26,000.00 what can I do when he says that if I do not pay him the balance he is walking off the job?. He has removed the skip and intends taking down the scaffolds, and all the material on site, and has changed the agreement.


  • Julie hendry 10 December, 6:51 pm

    I had a quote for some granite work tops. I told the company their quote exceeded my budget. They gave me a small discount and I proceeded even though it was still more than my budget. After fitting the invoice left had a grand total 500 pounds more. They added vat, nothing was said that the price excluded vat. I feel this was deliberate especially as I had told them my budget. I intend to pay the original price, where do I stand. Thanks

  • Patricia Forbes 8 October, 2:00 pm

    I have an account with E.On & they sent me a bill for 1,640. When I joined e.on they said I would need a standing order of approx £60.00 a month for my electricity. I was shocked to receive this out standing amount. I queried it & they immediately took £600.00 off the bill. They are now calling me to say I sill owe £1.000 (or there a bouts) I feel very angry about this as when I opened the account, they told me of the direct debit amount that I should pay, which I have been doing so. Now they say they miss calculated it. I am a pensioner & have a tight budget & now feel very unhappy as had they given me the RIGHT direct debit amount I would not have this huge outstanding bill. Please can you advise me.

  • Donna Freeman 4 April, 6:39 pm

    I am in the process of having £40,000 of building work done at home. There have been several ‘extras’ that have needed attending to and we were happy for the builder to do these. Stupidly – and naively – we did not ask for costs along the way because we trusted the builder and his initial quote was quite competitive with others we sought. Now, we have just been given a bill for £12,000 (!) for “additional costs” – I am shocked and devasted by this bill. It’s far more than we ever thought it would be – I was expecting a few thousand, perhaps £5,000 at most, but £12,000 is shocking. I have spoken to the builder and advised how I feel. I totally understand that the work carried out was essential (needed new flat roof to garage, unsupported walls needed lintels etc.) but even so, I feel that he should have had an obligation to tell us along the way that we were incurring such a huge bill. I had no idea! We are now having to increase our mortgage to pay this bill and I’m not sleeping with the stress. I’ve now lost all trust in the builders and don’t want them in my house – it’s a horrible situation.
    I don’t want to be dishonest and cheat them out of money by refusing to pay, but are they under obligation to me to ‘protect’ me if you like from my naivety about the cost? Should they have told me along the way – I did ask a couple of times what the additional costs would be but nothing was forthcoming. I feel conned.
    Any advice would be welcome.

  • Tomasz 10 December, 6:34 pm

    I needed a plumber to fit a gas hob when I called one company they said £65 per half an hour and it should be done in 30 min so I agreed and paid for it when he came to do the job he finished in 90 minutes and charged my card £265 and he gave me a new estimate for £265 now they refuse to give money back as they saying it was a quote per half an hour
    Any suggestion?

  • idrees 31 January, 10:19 pm


    I need urgent advice on a situation which has occurred, I had an agreement with builders to complete a project on my property, the property is partially completed now the builder had stopped working and is demanding more money however i have paid the full amount. In addition to this i have paid half via bank transfer and half cash, but now the builder is threatening to take me to court by saying i haven’t paid the cash sum when i have, in the process of this i did not make any receipts for the cash payment.

    Please can i have urgent advice!!!

  • Sheila 14 March, 6:11 pm

    Our plumber gave us a quote of £3,200 for installing a shower room, included was £840 materials, he has now asked for a further £300 for materials and says as we have got porcelain tiles he wants a further £400 for labour, have we the right to not pay this additional cost. He has also had £1,100 up front. The materials are usual grout, adhesives etc no hardware included.