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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70521
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Is it permitted supplier (to consumers) to change the

Customer Question

Is it permitted for a supplier (to consumers) to change the period of validity of a written quotation as a sales tactic, ie to close a deal at month's end?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
-Could you explain your situation a little more?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I had a written quotation for replacement windows, with no expressed period of validity, other than as per supplier std terms indicating that without a validity date, all quotations are valid 30 days.
A sales representative from the supplier responded to my request for a discount by stating that my quotation will now expire much sooner than the 30 days. I signed the contract as a result, but the quotation has since been increased significantly as i specified options i was advised by phone would not alter the existing quotation significantly.
I'd like to know if the supplier is in breach on both accountsm though i understand the second point would be difficult to debate as it was an unrecorded telephone conversation
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
If they agreed to do the work that you were requesting over the phone for X price then they are bound to complete at that price.
Verbal contracts are just as binding as written ones. All a document amounts to is evidence of what was agreed.
In any event, whatever you signed was for X sum. If that sum has increased then the contract doesn't apply as they have varied it.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The exact price was not discussed as turnaround time for a revised quote would have made it impossible to meet the revised period of validity of the quotation, hence my interest in the legality of having been "pushed" to sign a contract on the threat that a quotation that should have been valid for a few more weeks was about to be withdrawn.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
That would make no difference.
if you signed a contract then you signed a contract. There is a defence called duress but it involves things like guns being held to heads. This wouldn't get over the hurdle I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** summarise, it is legal as a sales tactic to shorten quotations period of validity at will?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No, that is not what I said.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well, that is what has happened to me, as explained, if this is not legal, i need to know
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Well, it is really as I have said.
You said you didn't agree a specific price though so the quote cannot have shortened.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Order of events:Supplier issues quote with pricing
I ask for discount
Supplier refuses and shortens period of validity for quote leaving me with 48hr to make a decision
I am advised that there is no time for formally amending the quote to reflect the changes i know are needed, as turaround time for a revised quote would take me outside of the now shortened existing quote period of validity.
I need to order items because of long lead times, so begrudgingly accept quotation knowing that amendment are still permitted (signing the contract only secures a build slot, specifications can still be refined)
I verbally query impact to price of desired changes and am adviced this would be insignificant, but it turns out to be 15%I hope this is a little clearer now
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Almost forget, i would loose the 10% deposit of £1500 should i wish to exit the contract.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Then surely you did agree a price? A sum was quoted?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, a price was listed on the quote and agreed, based on rough size measurements and glazing needs.
It is customary for these to be refined after professional survey is carried out.
I am not arguing the original price, only the amended one which is 15% higher - when i asked if we could refine the quote prior to commiting, i was told the agreed price (which included a discount) would no longer apply if i didn't commit within 48hours, but that i shouldn't worry about price difference, that it would be marginal. My question is, can they change the validity of a quote from 30 days to 48hours at will.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Oh yes, of course, a quote cannot be a guaranteed price. It should be accurate within 15% unless additional work was requested but it does place parameters upon them.
Yes, they can change the longevity of a quote at their choosing at any time untill it is accepted.
Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was advised that the exact changes I required would have had little to no impact on price, now I am presented with 15% increase. Do I have any grounds to contest the increase?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
An initial quote should be accurate within 15%.
You could argue that the representation that it would have little impact is a misrep but it doesn't really matter because you can't force them to contract with you I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the updated pricing information is very detailed and otherwise identical to the equally detailed quote.
The difference is with the specific option I queried about and over which I was mislead. Does it make any difference?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
I suppose you could challenge the reason for the increase but it is clutching at straws really.