Can I be sued by an interior designer if we had no signed contract?

UPDATED: Dec 4, 2011

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Can I be sued by an interior designer if we had no signed contract?

I had an interior designer draw up a quote for drapery in my home. I did not sign a retainer and I have it in an email that said she would draw up a quote for $350 to price out drapes in my home. I paid her the $350. She came up with a quote which I accepted but still did not sign a retainer and she came back and said she made a mistake in the original quote and we would have to reselect fabrics. She came back with a 2nd quote and I rejected it and now she wants to bill me $4,200 for her time spent on drawing up a quote. I refused to pay because she never did any work in our home.

Asked on December 4, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

She cannot charge you the additional fee. If she made a mistake (a unilateral mistake) that would be something you could not have known would be a mistake, then she eats any additional costs. Further, you did not have a bargained for exchange or a meeting of the minds on the issue of additional monies for a quote, let alone actual work to decorate. You need to find out if this type of work requires licensure in your state and complain to that board. If licensure or certification is not required, then you need to complain to the attorney general or local prosecutor who handles or has jurisdiction over unfair and deceptive acts.

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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