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Old 27.06.2017, 11:41
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Actual invoice well above quote

I've been living in Switzerland for over 10 years and have dealt with tradesmen in the past without any issues, however, a recent experience has let me to look for advice (if there is anything I can do) related to some landscaping just undertaken at my home.

After months of looking for a gardener to install roll grass (6 quotes received) on my garden, we accepted a quote from a local company that quoted 4,000 CHF to undertake the exercise, the installation took as long as expected, I've now received the invoice and it has come in at 8,000 CHF.

We had explained that the budget was limited and requested that only grass was to be installed (the quotes we had requested were also to install a stone border around the garden but we dropped this upon seeing the costs), but the tradesmen never indicated that they would go above the quote and we've only been made aware of the overrun upon receipt of the invoice.

Anything I can do?
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Old 27.06.2017, 11:43
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

What did the tradesman say about it being double the quote when you queried the invoice?

Welcome to the forum BTW
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Old 27.06.2017, 11:48
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

Where are the differences between the quote and the invoice?

I presume both are broken out by task and/or material.
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Old 27.06.2017, 11:52
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

There are situations where the final costs may exceed the quote, but double is a bit OTT.

Consider paying the value in the quote to show that you're not unreasonable, then write them, and ask for an explanation.
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Old 27.06.2017, 11:55
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

Was the offer made in writing?

Husband says that 10% over the quote is normal, everything above that must have been explicitly approved by the customer.
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Old 27.06.2017, 12:14
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

Although not really relevant, what was the area of grass involved and what was there beforehand?

Just wondering as I'm planning to replace our weeds with grass in the not too distant future.

Thanks
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Old 27.06.2017, 12:29
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

A more than 10% deviation needs to be approved by the customer.
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Old 27.06.2017, 12:33
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

Thanks for the feedback, in summary:

1). I've tried to contact the tradesman (I only received the invoice yesterday) via the telephone a couple of times, he hasn't picked-up yet. I will write an email this evening if he doesn't answer when I call him this afternoon.

2). The quote covered 3 aspects, labour, equipment and materials, all are above the quote: Equipment 150 CHF became 700 CHF, Materials 1,700 CHF became 2100 CHF, both I expected to run slightly over but labour was the major increase.

3). In the quote the labour was not broken down, it was just a round number (2,000 CHF) that actual is over 5,000 CHF

4). The offer was made in writing

5). The area was dead grass beforehand (my mistake at the end of last summer)!
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Old 27.06.2017, 12:57
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

As JagWaugh suggested, pay the amount quoted, and write them a letter stating that the work has been done as per offer, no additional items, and you are refusing to pay for their mistakes.
Tricky part is the difference between all-inclusive (paushal) offer and per-unit offer. They may tell you that there was no word "paushal" on the offer, so it's per unit, and hence adjusted as per labor and materials spent. To which you can answer that it wasn't explicitly quoted as per unit either.
Do you have legal insurance?
You may also consider to scan a copy of the offer (with personal/company details scratched out) and attach it to this thread.
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Old 27.06.2017, 13:27
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

I was shocked the other day to go trough a similar experience.
I ask my local garage to quote me for the first service for my Sharan.

The final invoice was around 120 franks more than the amount quoted.

They did stuff I didn't ask them to do. Like polish my windscreen with some stuff that will help to wipe insects easier. What a waste of money and bad practice. My windscreen cleans same as before and is full of insects that cannot be cleaned. I did send them an email complaining but I doubt something positive will come back.

If I quote for vehicle sign writing a 1000 franks, there is no way I can charge 1200 franks.

It is astonishing how some businesses can just add money on top of the bill.
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Old 27.06.2017, 13:35
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

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Husband says that 10% over the quote is normal.
In that case, should be called estimate and not quote.

Again, imagine you go to Coop, grab a bottle of wine from the shelf for a tenner, and than the lady on the till says, "that will be 11 francs please".

IMO this shouldn't happen.
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Old 27.06.2017, 13:40
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

Been there, done that. There is an allowance of about 10%, which makes a quote somewhat pointless. But B NOT 100%...
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Old 27.06.2017, 13:51
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

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Been there, done that. There is an allowance of about 10%, which makes a quote somewhat pointless. But B NOT 100%...
Do you know if this true even when there is a 'verbindliche Offerte'?
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Old 27.06.2017, 14:34
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

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Do you know if this true even when there is a 'verbindliche Offerte'?
With a written quote, it can vary by +/-10%

Fixed price is what it says, unless you agree, in wrtting to extra work
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Old 27.06.2017, 15:07
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

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Do you know if this true even when there is a 'verbindliche Offerte'?
Yes, +/- 10%, unless additional conditions are added (e.g. "ohne Materialkosten", without material costs) or some other "xy vorbehalten". Anything above that can only be justified if the reasons were "unforeseeable" but in such a case he should have contacted you immediately, which you may want to use as your main arguing point.

So you should pay 4400, not just 4000.

An additional option is a "Kostendach", a cost ceiling. You get billed for the actual costs up to the ceiling. However, you need to assume that the tradesman will want to be reimbursed for taking the risk and aim high, both in his estimate and the bill.
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Old 27.06.2017, 15:16
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

I would send a registered letter saying that the quote was 4000, the work was performed according to what was quoted, and so you will not pay double the amount, and no more than 10% over the agreed quote. Tell them if they have problems to consult legal advice which you will then of course challenge, and remind them that if they lose they will bear the costs for that.

They are clearly trying to pull a fast one on a 'clueless expat'.

Keep us updated, be strong and don't give in to bully boy tactics.
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Old 27.06.2017, 15:19
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

I've had two bits of work done recently (plastering and plumbing), both came in under the quote.

In this case I would not pay anything - if their final bill is not valid due to being incompatible with the quote, then it is not valid at all.

I would write to them demanding a fully itemised bill with an explanation of each point where it is over the estimate, and why any excess is your fault or in no way foreseeable by them as professional turf layers.

At least then you still have 10% as a compromise position, but the pressure is on them.

Maybe they have some good reasons (flooding ruined the whole lot and they had to do it twice, your sheep ate the turf before they laid it, whatever), but "we guessed wrong" isn't going to stand up in a Betriebung, and I'd be surprised if they admitted they had no clue / hadn't done this sort of thing before...
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Old 27.06.2017, 15:26
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

The difference is so large with no explanation, this shows a lack of professionalism on their part, especially when they were aware from the onset that you had a cost ceiling. Are they a reputed company in your area?
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Old 27.06.2017, 15:29
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

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Yes, +/- 10%, unless additional conditions are added (e.g. "ohne Materialkosten", without material costs) or some other "xy vorbehalten". Anything above that can only be justified if the reasons were "unforeseeable" but in such a case he should have contacted you immediately, which you may want to use as your main arguing point.

So you should pay 4400, not just 4000.

An additional option is a "Kostendach", a cost ceiling. You get billed for the actual costs up to the ceiling. However, you need to assume that the tradesman will want to be reimbursed for taking the risk and aim high, both in his estimate and the bill.
1) But a written quote should have this all written in !

2) Very similar to a fixed price contract
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Old 27.06.2017, 16:02
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Re: Actual invoice well above quote

We had a similar situation with a tax bill being way above the initial estimate.

I refused to pay the final amount on that basis and it was reduced, albeit not down to the estimate but satisfactory.
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