Home & Garden

contractor cancelled contract

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Oct 27, 2004
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contractor cancelled contract

I contracted with a highly rated local paving company to redo my back patio interlock and repave my driveway. Signed contract and everything. Yesterday, they called me to tell me they had misquoted, and wouldn't be able to honor the contract.

Clearly, they're not interested in my business, so I don't think forcing them to do the job at the contracted price would work out (they'd probably do a crappy job). So, I've since reached out for quotes from another firm, but I'm wondering if anyone has encountered something like this before. Any recourse?
29 replies
Deal Addict
Apr 6, 2008
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It's a bit of a jerk move, but I don't think there is much they can do. I bet another job came along that had more profit. Assuming you didn't pay them any deposit, just move on with your life.

Years ago I hired a company to replace the eavestroughs on my house. They wanted two weeks to get started, ok fine. Two weeks came and went, no sign of them. Another week or two I called them asking what's up...ya ya we will get on it just been busy. Ok fine. Gave them another week or two, we had one guy show up and extrude all the eavestroughs to be installed, then took off. Again no one showed up for another week or so. I called them up, they still were making excuses, so I told them to come get their troughs and we will go elsewhere, so they did and I hired another company. Because this was outside work (and we didn't have to make arrangements to have someone home) it didn't matter, but still a hassle. If the company doesn't want the job, just say so and save everyone the hassle.
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9662 posts
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Paris
Password wrote: I contracted with a highly rated local paving company to redo my back patio interlock and repave my driveway. Signed contract and everything. Yesterday, they called me to tell me they had misquoted, and wouldn't be able to honor the contract.
Not illegal and not worth pursuing them. Find someone that wants the work. Probably a new quoter or something.

If they had misquoted they should have said “Hey, we screwed up, we quoted x, should have been y, we will do it for x-y/2+y”. It happens when there is a major unexpected price increase. When I worked in ag equipment it happened all the time if Dealers didnt have contracts in by EOD before a price increase.
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Feb 11, 2007
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Oakville
Password wrote: I contracted with a highly rated local paving company to redo my back patio interlock and repave my driveway. Signed contract and everything. Yesterday, they called me to tell me they had misquoted, and wouldn't be able to honor the contract.

Clearly, they're not interested in my business, so I don't think forcing them to do the job at the contracted price would work out (they'd probably do a crappy job). So, I've since reached out for quotes from another firm, but I'm wondering if anyone has encountered something like this before. Any recourse?
Unless there was a cancellation penalty in the contract, or you are now out a significant amount of money as a result, there's not much you can do.
Deal Guru
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Oct 23, 2008
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GTA, ON
Well, since the contract has been cancelled, you might as well sully their name here on RFD. Who is the company so we can avoid?
Tis banana is IRIE :razz:

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
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Jan 28, 2007
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Yup, I have had it happen myself with Home Depot's Home Services for a new front enterance door and custom side lights about 10 years ago.
Due to the large front opening, we needed custom built side lights and framing, which at the time I got a good referral to use a subcontractor of Home Depot. They showed up, measured and provided a quote 2 days later, which we signed and paid the deposit payment.
Then 2 weeks later they call to tell us that they can't honor the contract as they misquoted and then wanted another $2000 on top of what they quoted, which then would make them the most expensive of all the quote we got. I took it up with Home Depot as a breach of contract and they dragged their feet for over 2 months and then said that they couldn't do anything, and didn't even attempt to try to save the deal.
I had a local family run door & window contractor do the work and made sure they knew the story with Home Depot to help them with their sales.
Even with a paid deposit, there is nothing really you can do cost effectively to force them to do the work unless its a big money contract.
I'd rather be outdoors camping, kayaking, and mountain biking ...
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Feb 11, 2007
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Jojo_Madman wrote: Yup, I have had it happen myself with Home Depot's Home Services for a new front enterance door and custom side lights about 10 years ago.
Due to the large front opening, we needed custom built side lights and framing, which at the time I got a good referral to use a subcontractor of Home Depot. They showed up, measured and provided a quote 2 days later, which we signed and paid the deposit payment.
Then 2 weeks later they call to tell us that they can't honor the contract as they misquoted and then wanted another $2000 on top of what they quoted, which then would make them the most expensive of all the quote we got. I took it up with Home Depot as a breach of contract and they dragged their feet for over 2 months and then said that they couldn't do anything, and didn't even attempt to try to save the deal.
I had a local family run door & window contractor do the work and made sure they knew the story with Home Depot to help them with their sales.
Even with a paid deposit, there is nothing really you can do cost effectively to force them to do the work unless its a big money contract.
Well, you could take a deposit from them, but good luck getting anyone to agree to that.
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2007
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engineered wrote: Well, you could take a deposit from them, but good luck getting anyone to agree to that.
LOL ... ya ain't that the truth!
I was really surprised that HD didn't even try to offer some sort of compensation or meet half way on the difference.
I'd rather be outdoors camping, kayaking, and mountain biking ...
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Oct 23, 2008
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Jojo_Madman wrote: LOL ... ya ain't that the truth!
I was really surprised that HD didn't even try to offer some sort of compensation or meet half way on the difference.
Best you can do is sully their name with the story on the internet so that when the others do searches, *poof*, they'll think twice about doing business with them
Tis banana is IRIE :razz:

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
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Jan 28, 2007
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chimaican wrote: Best you can do is sully their name with the story on the internet so that when the others do searches, *poof*, they'll think twice about doing business with them
Yes ...

Best part is the contractor who ended up doing the initial work for the door, I since have done thousands of dollars of additionl business with them, as well as referred them to many others as well.
I'd rather be outdoors camping, kayaking, and mountain biking ...
Deal Addict
Apr 6, 2008
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Jojo_Madman wrote: LOL ... ya ain't that the truth!
I was really surprised that HD didn't even try to offer some sort of compensation or meet half way on the difference.
HD, as well as pretty much every other big box stores, just sub contracts it out for a slice of the pie. They can offer peace of mind (like threatening to no longer send them all HD business if they rip off a customer) but otherwise it's pretty much the same thing, just more hands in the pot getting a cut.
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Nov 19, 2004
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The double standard is annoying. If you cancel a contract on a contractor, they want to keep your deposit or go after you. If they cancel on you there isn't much you can do. Definitely leave a bad review for others to see.
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Mar 8, 2002
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Name company so they show up in a search.

Then forget all about it.
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Deal Guru
Feb 29, 2008
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don242 wrote: The double standard is annoying. If you cancel a contract on a contractor, they want to keep your deposit or go after you. If they cancel on you there isn't much you can do. Definitely leave a bad review for others to see.
Yup... but when business is slow and they need your money their tune changes.
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Dec 28, 2010
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I honestly think it was okay for them to be honest. I had so many contractors who never even showed up. Now I ask for references, but one who would have been courteous and honest... bring them on!
Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror. | Byron Katie
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Feb 5, 2009
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don242 wrote: The double standard is annoying. If you cancel a contract on a contractor, they want to keep your deposit or go after you. If they cancel on you there isn't much you can do. Definitely leave a bad review for others to see.
The law is completely screwed up, they can also lien your house. You cancel, nothing you can do.
Crazy.
Deal Addict
Apr 6, 2008
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don242 wrote: The double standard is annoying. If you cancel a contract on a contractor, they want to keep your deposit or go after you. If they cancel on you there isn't much you can do. Definitely leave a bad review for others to see.
Homerhomer wrote: The law is completely screwed up, they can also lien your house. You cancel, nothing you can do.
Crazy.
I agree, the rules seem to be messed up. However, if you wanted to, you could sue them from breach of contract assuming you had a contract saying that the work was to be done. It probably wouldn't make sense to, but you could do it if you wanted to.

As far as a contractor issuing a lien, it costs them money to do so (~$500 IIRC) so they wouldn't bother for something small. Also, the lien needs to be maintained over time, if you don't sell the house for 20 years the cost will add up. They also can't lien without a good reason - obviously anything is possible but I can't see them going through the expense and hassle of a lien if it was a misunderstanding. It would have to be an issue of a homeowner flat out refusing to pay the bill.
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Feb 5, 2009
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fusion2k2k wrote: I agree, the rules seem to be messed up. However, if you wanted to, you could sue them from breach of contract assuming you had a contract saying that the work was to be done. It probably wouldn't make sense to, but you could do it if you wanted to.

As far as a contractor issuing a lien, it costs them money to do so (~$500 IIRC) so they wouldn't bother for something small. Also, the lien needs to be maintained over time, if you don't sell the house for 20 years the cost will add up. They also can't lien without a good reason - obviously anything is possible but I can't see them going through the expense and hassle of a lien if it was a misunderstanding. It would have to be an issue of a homeowner flat out refusing to pay the bill.
I wish it was the case.
I have been dealing with construction people recently and it seems like they are different sub-species, it's not like dealing with regular people, an honest person who does what they are suppose to do is an exception to the rule. In my case the best hires I have done was with Chinese, have not had the problem, and they if they made mistakes they have owned up to them and fixed. Others for the most part were anywhere between liars to thieves. But I digress.

The lien can be put on the house without any work started yet, you can get your houses liened if you have paid everything in full (for example you have a contract for $100K to have your kitchen done, paid your contractor in full, he doesn't pay his subs, the subs go after you, if you don't pay them your house is liened, so now you have paid everything and you still owe the subcontractors $75K). The contractor can make up any lies to put the lien, you still have to defend it. The contractor probably operates a corporation which owns a rake and a hammer, good luck getting any money out of him if you win, you own a house and are screwed. Most people who own a house need to renew the mortgage, refinance, sell and so on, you are crippled, and in many cases a victim at the same time.
There is no justice here at all, and the law is skewed towards contractors by an unacceptable margin.

Yes, there are cases where the solid work was done and the home owner refuses to pay.
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Jan 25, 2007
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Paris
Homerhomer wrote: Yes, there are cases where the solid work was done and the home owner refuses to pay.
I cannot not BELIEVE the scammy idiot customers we encounter. I would easily put it at 20% or more. So when a customer has a legitimate complaint the bosses back is instantly up. And the issue with the scammers isn’t that they are a problem just today... they call and call and are an ongoing issue for months. So when we do an install per day, 1 of those customers is looking for us to bend over backwards for them for an unreasonable request. Then next week we get another one. So now the boss is dealing with 2 of them. By the end of the month you have 4 scammers bugging you all the time about non-issues. End of 4 months and you have at least 12 (as some have dropped their complaints).

Now imagine in your job going from 6 calls like that to a legitimate call... It’s not long before you think everyone is out to make you bankrupt and you deny any and all requests straight away.

I’m not saying its right, I’m just trying to get folks to understand from the other side. People march into Lowes/HD/Walmart etc where they think they can get the world handed to them for a minor inconvenience and the company does. So now they think they can get that from everyone.

Here is a simple one... customer is told they need to paint the trim after a window install. They agree and its written in the contract that they are provided with primed trim. After install they call complaining that they need to paint the trim. After months of literally daily calls, they agree that yes they need to paint the trim. But now they want us to buy the paint for them. It’s not like you cant pick up the phone when people call either...

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