A sharp increase in complaints about prices charged for building work has been recorded by Essex Trading Standards.
Bills higher than expected
With the costs of both materials and labour rising sharply in the last few months many consumers are facing bills higher than they expected.
In addition, many everyday materials are in short supply meaning that last minute changes to specifications have become unavoidable, resulting in uncertainty about the final price for the job.
Get quote not estimate
Trading Standards say many consumers have been caught out by entering into a contract on the basis of an estimate rather than a confirmed quote.
What is an estimate?
Estimates are usually an educated guess of the costs / time to complete a project and don’t necessarily include the finer details of a job. Most importantly, an estimate is usually non-binding, and the final bill for the work can be higher.
What is a quote?
A quote should outline all aspects of the building work agreed, and detail final prices for both the labour and exact materials to be used (providing the specification doesn’t change).
Include as much detail as possible about the project, being clear about who is responsible for what, anticipated timescales, planning permission details, and what should happen if a change in materials is needed or if a delay is necessary.
Consumers should try to obtain at least 3 quotes for the work they are proposing, giving the same specification for the job to all the businesses. This should detail exactly what is required and a breakdown of what is included, and importantly, what isn’t included in the amount being specified.
Beware of low quotes
Beware of suspiciously low quotes. If something seems too good to be true, it often is!
Get consumer advice
For consumer advice about a building project you have undertaken please contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline:
- Call 0808 223 1133
- Visit the Citizens Advice website
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