If a tree service was provided without an estimate and now we can’t agree on price, what can I do?

UPDATED: Jul 27, 2011

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If a tree service was provided without an estimate and now we can’t agree on price, what can I do?

I had a tree service come to my house to pick up to branches that had fallen during a storm. They were big but all they did was cut them up and hauled them away. About 20 minutes worth of work. An estimate was not provided (big mistake) and I got a bill a few days later. I was expecting a couple of hundred at most. The bill was $750. I offered to settle and even wrote them a check for $300 as I was not going to pay $750 for the work performed. They did not cash the check and I expect them to take me to small claims court and place a lien on the property. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on July 27, 2011 Illinois


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Potentially the tree sevice company may be licensed by your state contractor's licensing board as a contractor. If so, most states require a written estimate by a licensed contractor to be provided as a bid for work to be performed to the customer. If work is performed with no required estimate, the contractor has a problem trying to get paid possibly.

If the person who did work is not a licensed contractor in your state and was required to be licensed to act as a contractor, he or she might not be entitled to any compensation.

First, contact you state contractor's licensing board to see if a tree company has to be a licensed contractor. If so, ask the company who did the work is a licensed contractor in your state. If it is, ask about issues about no contract for work done.

You might also contact your local county bar association about whether it provides free consultation services for people such as you.

Good luck.

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