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Old 04.04.2013, 10:58
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Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

Hello,

I am new to English Forum, but have been following some posts regularly. Have found some really useful info here in the past.
We had received a quote from a cleaning company for cleaning our 3.5pcs apartment. The person came, saw and gave us a quote for about Chf 500. We got the cleaning done just before the handover. On the day of the cleaning, he sent me an email saying that there is more work than expected so his people will be working later than planned. I okayed! The next day I went for a check and found a few places still dirty,he told me that his workers were anyways returning in the afternoon to do a finishing touch (I did not ask his workers to return to clean).
Unfortunately, the lady from the agency was not happy with the cleaning and said that she will get a few places cleaned by the concierge and we will need to pay for that!! Whoa! She did not agree for the same cleaning company to return as she felt they would not do a better job.
Now the issue is, the cleaning guy sent us a bill of chf 1025 (double of the estimate).When I spoke to him he said it is for the extra work that they did. But not did he mention even once during the cleaning or before or after that the cost would exceed the quote. Now he says it is 'understood'. He says he can go back and clean again, but the agency is not ready.
Does anyone know what options we have if we decide not to pay the entire amount? We have always agreed that the price will stay as per the quote. Are we missing something or is he taking us for a ride??
Thanks for all your opinions
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Old 04.04.2013, 11:15
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

This is a very common problem around here - I have seen numerous threads with the same subject.

I am not sure what you can do - you can try a search of the forum and see what other members have done. If you didn't have a written contract with the cleaner that he would do the job for 500 CHF regardless the condition, I am not sure you have much to stand on. Were your dealings with the guy verbal? I suppose you can try and negotiate with him - did he send a detailed bill showing hours worked, number of people, etc.? Or was it just a bill with the total shown?

Good luck
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Old 04.04.2013, 11:21
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

If you have a written contract with the cleaning Agency, then you are only bound to pay the agreed amount.

If you gave them a written OK for the extra work and not decided on the pricing, then these conman will make use of the situation.

If you decide not to pay, they will do a betribung and at the end you will end up paying extra.

Best is, talk to them and get to an amicable solution.

All the best..and by the way, welcome to corruption free Zurich
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Old 04.04.2013, 11:28
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

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This is a very common problem around here - I have seen numerous threads with the same subject.
When you leave your apt, by far the easiest and less stress route is hand it back dirty and let them clean it, and then cough up the cash.
The next best alternative, is contact the agency, get the name of their cleaning company, and employ them directly.

DIY and 3rd party cleaners do not seem to be the ideal solution.

To the OP, if it were me, I'd pay the quoted amount only. Sounds like he's trying to rip you off.

Last edited by 17clarence; 04.04.2013 at 12:00. Reason: Doh.
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Old 04.04.2013, 11:31
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

We've never used a cleaning company, but don't they usually guarantee a successful handover? No handover; no fee.
Seems like this guy is trying to take advantage, compounded by the fact his cleaning company aren't actually any good.
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Old 04.04.2013, 11:55
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

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If you have a written contract with the cleaning Agency, then you are only bound to pay the agreed amount.

If you gave them a written OK for the extra work and not decided on the pricing, then these conman will make use of the situation.

If you decide not to pay, they will do a betribung and at the end you will end up paying extra.

Best is, talk to them and get to an amicable solution.

All the best..and by the way, welcome to corruption free Zurich


There is nothing in writing about an extra amount only an email from him that there is more work than expected. He did not even mention an extra amount. We have only a written quote of about chf.500! In my last conversation with him (it was a heated one), he said that he will not change the bill under any circumstance! Do you think he has a upper hand in this situation?
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Old 04.04.2013, 12:33
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

Send him the amount that you originally agreed on right away, so he can't say that you violated payment terms or paid late or anything.

Plus, with some money in hand, he might decide it's not worth the lengthy battle (especially if he's on shaky ground) to get the rest.
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Old 04.04.2013, 12:47
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

I suggest this is the way your next call should go.

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Old 04.04.2013, 13:00
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

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There is nothing in writing about an extra amount only an email from him that there is more work than expected. He did not even mention an extra amount. We have only a written quote of about chf.500! In my last conversation with him (it was a heated one), he said that he will not change the bill under any circumstance! Do you think he has a upper hand in this situation?
If you have the written quote, I would, as others have said, pay that amount. I guess the assumption is that if there is extra work that means extra cost, but if it wasn't spelled out you can say you assumed the 500 CHF was for a job complete, regardless how much work was required by him.

Good luck! I think it is quite common for people to pay on the order of 1000 CHF when getting a move out cleaning done as you are in a bit of a tight spot and just want the issue taken care of...
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Old 04.04.2013, 14:04
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

I never used a cleaning company so far but for a 3.5 apartment CHF 500 sounds way cheap. Usually all those I checked online were more expensive and they always included a guarantee certificate which would mean they’d clean until the agency is satisfied or else you don’t owe them anything. I think the cheap quote might suggest they could use it to lure the client and then overcharge after all is said and done, they probably got away with it so far. Sorry I cannot be of any help, if it wasn’t for the fact the agency wants you to pay for a new cleaning I’d suggest to just pay what they asked and spam the web with bad reviews on their services.
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Old 04.04.2013, 14:25
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

What they did was unprofessional - there I agree. However did you agree on a lump sum in the contract or was it divided into hours? Essentially it depends on the wording of the contract. Additionally, it also depends on the Email wording. Without knowing what exactly was agreed on I don't want to point fingers. In Switzerland contracts can become valid, prolonged or changed without any actual paper contract. And CHF 500 sounds way too cheap for a 3.5 room apartment. So either way, the cleaner did act very professionally.

Last edited by international; 04.04.2013 at 14:25. Reason: tyyyypoooo
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Old 04.04.2013, 14:51
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

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There is nothing in writing about an extra amount only an email from him that there is more work than expected. He did not even mention an extra amount. We have only a written quote of about chf.500! In my last conversation with him (it was a heated one), he said that he will not change the bill under any circumstance! Do you think he has a upper hand in this situation?
If you have a written contract with 500 chf, then go ahead and deny the extra payment. Legally, he is allowed to do a betribung but if he has no witten proof, you can easily prove your case.

Be aware, if he does betribung , then that will appear on your financial history until you settle it. Betribung certificate is a very imp document which is required most of the time in Switzerland.
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Old 04.04.2013, 14:57
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

It is not quite that simple, if CHF 500 is the equivalent of a certain amount of hours - and stated as such in the contract, the OP has agreed to supplementary work (per email) then the supplementary hours must be paid for. Also it depends if it was a cost estimate "Kostenvoranschlag" or an agreed sum for a certain result. I would not just not pay, I would discuss what happened and try to find a mutually beneficial solution. The work was obviously not done very well, I would use that as a basis of argumentation and not the CHF 500. And for a foreigner getting a Betreibung can have rather horrible consequences on their permit or naturalization procedure (and yes I am talking worst case). Its not worth the risk, especially not over around CHF 500.

Last edited by international; 04.04.2013 at 15:51.
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Old 04.04.2013, 15:12
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

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It is not quite that simple, if CHF 500 is the equivalent of a certain amount of hours - and stated as such in the contract, the OP has agreed to supplementary work (per email) then the supplementary hours must be paid for. Also it depends if it was a cost estimate "Kostenvoranschlag" or an agreed sum for a certain result. I would not just not pay, I would discuss what happened and try to find a mutual beneficial solution. The work was obviously not done very well, I would use that as a basis of argumentation and not the CHF 500. And for a foreigner getting a Betreibung can have rather horrible consequences on their permit or naturalization procedure (and yes I am talking worst case). Its not worth the risk, especially not over around CHF 500.
I would say you should not allow any victimisation just because you hope for a naturalization after 15-20 years.
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Old 04.04.2013, 15:49
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

This is not about victimization, I am just saying (as some have already earlier in this thread) that a Betreibung is easy to get, hard to get rid of, and makes life difficult. I agree that the OP was not treated well, however in the grander scheme of things sometimes one should choose battles wisely.
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Old 04.04.2013, 16:40
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

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If you have a written contract with 500 chf, then go ahead and deny the extra payment. Legally, he is allowed to do a betribung but if he has no witten proof, you can easily prove your case.

Be aware, if he does betribung , then that will appear on your financial history until you settle it. Betribung certificate is a very imp document which is required most of the time in Switzerland.

What is the procedure if he does a betribung (French equivalent please)? Do we have to pay the amount then? How does it work?
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Old 04.04.2013, 17:01
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

Are you a member of Asloca? I'd join and ask them for help, advice and support. Also go to the 'Office des Poursuites' in Montreux and talk to them - take someone who speaks French with you.

To double the estimate and still not have the flat in acceptable condition is just so out of order! Perhaps they do that regularly (and Asloca might know about this) eg give very low estimates so they get the contract and then double it ++
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Old 04.04.2013, 17:04
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

for 1000 chfs, you could consider yourself undercharged by swiss standards!
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Old 04.04.2013, 17:04
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

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What is the procedure if he does a betribung (French equivalent please)
"Poursuite"
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Old 04.04.2013, 17:22
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Re: Overcharged by the cleaning company after apartment handover! Options??

In french a Betreibung is a Poursuite. The first thing you do is "l'opposition" - that means you deny that you owe the money. Then however you already have a registered poursuite. Afterwards the other guy will have to go to court and have the debt recognized (written correspondence, contract etc.). Once the debt is recognized the court will give this confirmation to the cleaner guy and he can go to the authorities who will for example take an object of value to sell it and then use the money for the debt (should you not have any cash assets). The way I have explained it is oversimplified, but essentially if the cleaner wins in court, you would be obliged to pay the court costs as well as the cost of his lawyer. Additionally you would have a permanent record. Please let me know if I was not clear or you have any further questions.

Last edited by international; 04.04.2013 at 17:23. Reason: Bloody spellcheck.
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