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Vincent2013
Vincent2013, JustAnswer Expert
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 213
Experience:  Qualified solicitor and barrister (non-practising) with 7+ years experience
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Hi - I just had a cleaner to do a spring clean she quoted me

Customer Question

Hi - I just had a cleaner to do a spring clean she quoted me £175 which I gave her a cheque for. I have been away and during the week she text me to say she had more work to do and could she carry on andi said yes thinking maybe another hour and another £40 at most.I arrived home to her bill for £475 - what do I do? This is beyond what I can pay and seems extortionate for what she has done., Help.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Vincent2013 replied 4 years ago.

Hi, thanks for your question. My name's XXXXX XXXXX I'm going to assist you with it.

 

A quote, unlike an estimate, is a fixed priced offer which, when accepted, is legally binding. She should have completed the job for the price quoted, even if she did miscalculate the amount of work involved. If, when she texted you, you simply told her to carry on, then you have done nothing other than confirm this. Even if the nature of your text implied that you might pay her an additional fee, this will not usually be deemed valid "consideration" (i.e. money she is contractually entitled to claim from you) as it relates to a contractual duty she already owed you.

 

She may argue that the £175 was only an estimate but the fact that you paid her in full upfront (rather than just giving her a deposit) would suggest otherwise. Further, where an estimate is given, she is not permitted to view this as a "blank cheque" and any variation above this should be reasonable. From the information provided in your question, at no time did she make you aware that the additional work required was so excessive that it would triple the original amount.

 

If you want to nip this in the bud, you could try and negotiate with her, on a without prejudice basis, and perhaps offer to pay her a sum you are comfortable with (say, the £40 you envisaged), pointing out that the original quote was binding but it is simply a goodwill gesture to dispose of the matter.

 

I hope this is useful but please let me know if you need any further clarification. Please also remember to rate my answer as it's an important part of our process and allows me to obtain credit for my work.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hi Vincent- thank you for that. I had asked her to I include laundering the bed linen but as I had gone away I had taken this with me so she couldn't do this but should she have come to me regularly then this was something I would have asked her to do. I only specified bed linen but she has in fact laundered my other clothes etc which were in the linen cupboard and already clean a lot of which I don't even wear any more so this is not of any help to me at all including some of my daughters clothes which she has now grown out of. I know this sounds bad but I hadn't got round to clearing them out. Do i mention about this extra unnecessary work to her as well? Thank you.
Expert:  Vincent2013 replied 4 years ago.

Hi there, thanks for the additional information.

 

If you did not agree for her to launder anything other than the bedlinen then (i) this should have been included in her quote and (ii) she should not have laundered anything other than this. If she does launder other items, she CANNOT expect to be paid for it unless you expressly varied the contract and asked her to carry out this additional work. If the bedlinen was not in the house (because you had taken it away), she may have done some alternative laundry in place of the bedlinen and adhered to the same quote but she certainly cannot charge more.

 

I hope this is helpful but let me know if you need anything else. Please don't forget to rate my answer.