When the repair bill is 3.5 times what was estimated.

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5,988
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Houston, Texas
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Anyone ever been in this situation? I had my boat at a repair place and they estimated 10-12hrs to put a complete new motor in. Well they took more like 35 hours worth of labor to do the job. I would have been fine with it going from 1200-1300 all the way to $2000 plus parts, but to go from an estimated $1200-$1300 all the way to $4300.00 is ridiculous. Opinions?
 
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5,988
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Houston, Texas
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I did stop by and check up on the boat every 3 or 4 days I'd stop by for 5 or 10 minutes just to look at the progress. I guess they added on an hour every time I showed up.
 
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16,673
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NH
Shop didn't go by book time? I thought that was the point, job goes sideways but the book says x, so... I'm kinda surprised, I thought most shops knew that they need to hit the stop button when things are going sideways, and to get customer approval when the work is going to well exceed estimate. Oh wait, this is a boat? Maybe different rules apply here.
 
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11,043
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Florida, Cape Coral
Did you get a written estement for the work? If there is no agreement in writing then you may need to go to small claims court if they don't agree to the original charge. I would not take that easly and would discuss/argue about the excess charge since they didn't keep you updated during the work. Ed
 
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2,235
Location
Lyndhurst NJ
Thats a little ridiculous. If something is going bad at the shop I always make the customer aware of any changes in the prices, and even then its only going to be a few more hours to try and partially re coup what was lost. Seems like a little bait and switch IMO, get you in and jack the bill without any warning. They should have the decency to keep you aware, especially if you were there a few times. Its so much easier to justify to the customer the price increase when you can actually show them whats going wrong, so they missed a few opportunities there.
 
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34,632
Location
NY
Someone has to learn how to "estimate." An estimate is an approximation, usually in the ballpark. When they realized @12 hours, [actually long before that], that they clearly screwed up the estimate they should have informed you. Someone should be making good on the screw up, like cutting the labor rate for what was clearly their mistake in not knowing how to estimate a job. In a situation like that an honest person would have said I have no idea how long this will take, so the price is going to be based on time and materials. Even then a good tech should have some inclination as to how long it would take. I've done work over the years where I wasn't sure how long it would take. I bracketed the price, either they hired me or they didn't, but at least they knew. Those who hired me never paid more than the highest price in the range [usually less], and quite frankly I never ran into more time than I ball parked, unless they added work.
 
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6,193
Location
New England
Agree on price increase. Was there an initial estimate in writing or just oral? Hope in writing to settle out easier. Things happen and issues arise. The communication part is key in informing customer. My guess is you pay somewhere in middle of the estimate and final bill. Good luck. Is this the boat you struggled to find anyone to do the work in the first place?
 
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21,301
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Apple Valley, California
They are required to give you an estimate. If the repairs go 15% above the estimate they are required to call you with a revised estimate. they are required to note the time they called and the revised price on the work order. Without that they dont have a leg to stand on.
 
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6,193
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New England
Originally Posted by motor_oil_madman
Right now the boat is back in the shop fixing a few things that were overlooked. I ended up paying their ridiculous bill already.
All water under the boat at this point!
 
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5,988
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Houston, Texas
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Originally Posted by Chris142
They are required to give you an estimate. If the repairs go 15% above the estimate they are required to call you with a revised estimate. they are required to note the time they called and the revised price on the work order. Without that they dont have a leg to stand on.
You mean legally? They typed up a work order on their computer saying to pull the engine and install a new customer provided engine. This was after we talked in the parking lot saying 10-12hr labor estimate. Of course I never got a copy. It's all a lesson learned here I guess.
 
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8,935
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MA
Originally Posted by motor_oil_madman
Originally Posted by Chris142
They are required to give you an estimate. If the repairs go 15% above the estimate they are required to call you with a revised estimate. they are required to note the time they called and the revised price on the work order. Without that they dont have a leg to stand on.
You mean legally? They typed up a work order on their computer saying to pull the engine and install a new customer provided engine. This was after we talked in the parking lot saying 10-12hr labor estimate. Of course I never got a copy. It's all a lesson learned here I guess.
Yes. Legally. Depending on the state, limits on verbal contracts are $500-$1000. That's so you can walk into a restaurant and order a meal and they can take you to court for not paying because it's still a verbal contract. Same with a hairdresser. However once you exceed that, without a written contract where you signed agreeing to pay, they have nothing to stand on if you take them to court. Verbal contracts over that amount are not legally binding. You just go to court and say I never agreed to that amount, the judge asks them to see the signed contract. No contract, instant win. Normally even though you already paid, consumer protection laws vary from state to state also but you can sue for 2x-3x damages, but the first step is to normally send them a demand letter saying that you over charged me and quoted me $1000-$1200 and you'd like the difference back. When they don't pay up after 30 days, you can take them to small claims court or if you want 2x-3x damages, you might have to file a regular case in court.
 
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24,807
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Upstate NY
Seems high. Written estimate is always best. But they should have called you when it went beyond what they verbally told you. Providing your own parts can be tricky. For example maybe they were expecting a long block and you provided a short block. Even if you provided a long block, how much tin was needed to be swapped?
 
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599
Location
Ontario, Canada
I can understand a few hundred, but once it went over 500 they should of hit the stop button and at least called you at bare minimum, I have never had this happen, because I explicitly tell them after a quote that if you hit a snag and or find other things that you decide need to be repaired, to call me so I myself can see if it in fact legitimate needs to be repaired. I find this to be insanity that they thought it ok to go 3.5 times over estimate without talking to you first.
 
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1,728
Location
Cincinnati, USA
Yes ridiculous and probably illegal in your state, but you have to have the written estimate to prove it. Often shops that pull this, figure people won't pay a lawyer to sue because they'll barely make anything out of it after the lawyer fees. That leaves small claims court if you think you have a leg to stand on. Often a lawyer will give a first consult free so you might want to talk to one.
 
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8,935
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MA
Originally Posted by Dave9
Yes ridiculous and probably illegal in your state, but you have to have the written estimate to prove it. Often shops that pull this, figure people won't pay a lawyer to sue because they'll barely make anything out of it after the lawyer fees. That leaves small claims court if you think you have a leg to stand on. Often a lawyer will give a first consult free so you might want to talk to one.
It's the other way around, the shop needs a signed written estimate with the amount listed otherwise, with contract law, no signed contract, no meeting of the minds as to the cost. It's the shop that needs to prove that the work was authorized otherwise anyone could just send you a bill for something and you'd have to prove that you authorized it? Small claims is usually 5-7k so you could just sue for the max of 5-7k and you wouldn't need a lawyer. Typically filing fees are minimal, maybe around $100, more or less depending on how much you're suing for. The fun part is trying to collect if the business doesn't show up.
 
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1,728
Location
Cincinnati, USA
^ It's not the other way around once the bill is paid. That constitutes acceptance, and places the burden on the customer to prove the bill was above the estimate by more than the amount legally allowed in that state. It was authorized work, so if the repairer loses the estimate that's not necessarily going to mean the customer pays nothing. It would be funny to hear a plaintiff state that they brought their XYZ to a repair shop and left it there to get nothing done. Why would you sue for the max of $5K-$7K when the difference is only $3K?
 
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10,426
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Boat unfortunately means-Bust Out Another Thousand! I ran into something similar on this on having the outdrive on mine resealed, the shop put a replacement input shaft on mine when it could have been easily Speedi-Sleeved where the seal wore on it, I could have bought a new aftermarket outdrive for less than they charged me. Boat shops are untrustworthy & figure you can afford it.
 
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