Can I be charged an estimate fee if the contractor doesn’t notify me of the fee beforehand?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I be charged an estimate fee if the contractor doesn’t notify me of the fee beforehand?

I got an estimate for some tree removal but the contractor didn’t say there was an estimate fee. He then chose not to take the job. Now he is saying that I will get a bill for his estimate, $100/trip out to the property for 2 trips. He’s threatening to put a lien on my house if I don’t pay. He never gave an actual estimate/quote. He chose not to take the job. He has been unprofessional in the conversations since turning down the job.

Asked on July 18, 2019 under Business Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot be charged a fee of which you were not made aware. Fees or charges are paid by mutual agreement or consent: you have to agree to the fee before the task or work, etc. is done; if you don't agree to pay it, you don't have to. If he'd made you aware of the fee ahead of time and you still had him give you the estimate, this would be legal; but since he did not, it is not legal.
If he persists in trying to threaten you to pay, or actually tries to take action against you, you can contact your state's department of justice to file a complaint for consumer fraud.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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