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Old 24.05.2019, 19:13
Urs Max Urs Max is offline
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Re: Rip-off by a house cleaning company

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4. very defensive when we sent the email to negotiate, mentioning they would definitely ask double price if they knew the apartment was that big and that dirty. They even sent us photos to show how dirty it was.
Why would that be your problem? THEY are the professionals, THEY (should) know what information they need for an accurate quote (perhaps just reasonably accurate, subject to the wording).
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But in fact, they mentioned nothing about such a big price rise on the first day, even after we asked them.
You did have "Übergabegarantie", didn't you?

As mentioned it depends on the actual wording of the contract. Words like "unverbindlich" mean the quote is non-binding, but if they mentioned such I'd simply ignore it (doesnt' mean it's a good thing but when they play dirty ...). Usually you have what's called a "Werkvertrag", that is, you buy and pay for a certain service and/or outcome, in this case the cleaning plus (assuming Übergabegarantie) an issue-less handover, the latter requires the presence of a cleaner during handover to rectify what they overlooked immediately.

With a Werkvertrag the contractor must inform the client about a substantial price increase as soon as it's evident and stop work until a amended agreement has been reached. Even if "substantial" may be subject to debate as to what it actually means, a surcharge of 100% certainly qualifies.

Now here comes the interesting part and the reason why the contract type is relevant. §375 code of obligations applies to Werkvertrag, it regulates that
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I. Withdrawal because estimate exceeded

1 Where an estimate agreed with the contractor is exceeded by a disproportionate amount through no fault of the customer, he has the right to withdraw from the contract before or after completion.

2 In the case of construction work carried out on his land or property, the customer is entitled to an appropriate reduction in the price or, if the work is not yet complete, to call a halt to the work and withdraw from the contract against equitable compensation for work already done.
Usually, exceeding a quote by 10-15% is to be accepted, could be more depending on the particular wording. So offer to pay the originally quoted 600 CHF, pretend to give in to their haggling and settle in the 650-700 range.
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