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Question DetailsAsked on 10/4/2017

Can contractors charge me for the job that they never provided any paperwork for

I had a plumbing emergency that resulted in a leak from the ceiling. I emailed a company to do water mitigation. They installed a huge commercial dehumidifier that was finally removed after about a week or so. I have never signed any quote or an estimate, no paperwork whatsoever. Now I'm receiving an email with the amount I owe.

Can they legally do that? Charge me for an amount that I have never had a chance to approve?

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Voted Best Answer

Your mistake was to authorize start of work without a contract stating the scope and compensation and such. Because you let them do the work and they evidently did what you wanted satisfactorily (you said nothing about inadequate or imporper work), you owe them UNLESS you are in one of the few states REQUIRING home repair/improvement work be preceded by a written estimate - though even in those states generally emergency work is not included in that requirement.

If their charges are grossly overpriced you could try suing on the grounds of unjust enrichment - that they would be making more money than they deserve for the work.

If all they did was install a dehumidifier - unless it also involved opening up the ceiling and hooking hoses/fan up to dry out the subfloor I would say they did not do all they should have - which would normally (if just in the ceiling, not down in the walls) might commonly be around $500-1000 for the opening holes, running dehumidification, and repair/repainting of the ceiling - varying dependingon ceiling height if unusually high, and amount of drywall needing replacement/repair due to the water damage.

If all they did was install the dehumidifier and let it run (on your power) for a week, that would commonly be around $100-200 a week or so rental, plus maybe $50-75 dropoff/setup/recovery labor fee - so if your bill is around $200-300 I would say reasonable.

BTW - if they did nothing to dry out the subflooring or attic space above the ceiling, that still needs to be at least checked for dampness or you may get mold and mildew issues. Sometimes the household will absorb the moisture without issue, sometimes it goes south real quick - especially if the wet area is not surrounded by low-humidity (usually air conditioned) air.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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