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The dangers of not agreeing a price up front

We received this e-mail some time ago from a ValueIreland.com reader which shows the difficulties that you could encounter if you’re getting someone to do some work for you, but without both of you agreeing on a price up front:

I would like to know what I can do re my storage company.  They have charged me 1038 for one delivery from storage and €984.94 for the another delivery from storage.. They have moved us twice and up to now have been fair.

They provided no advance notification on the cost of the deliverys and it could have been done on one delivery but they wanted to do it on two deliveries as one was going to include a dropoff.  i wanted only one delivery.

I have complained to them and they said that I have to pay the bill. I think it is far too much money and I should have been advised.  We live approximatly two miles from the storage facilty.

Similar situations could arise if you’re taking your car to the garage for a service, if you’re getting a handyman/tradesman in to do some work on your house, or if you’re going to a solicitor to get them to do some work for you.

Buy not confirming up front, ideally in writing, what price you should expect to pay for a service, you’re leaving yourself wide open to being taken for a ride.

When it then comes to paying the bill you’re open to getting a shock when you see the final cost. At that point in time, it’s really too late to be trying to argue the toss with the supplier.

If you did have a quotation, while it’s unlikely they’d go over that in the final bill, you’ve got a better standing because the price was agreed up front.

The ideal way to approach these situations is to explain exactly what it is you expect to be done for you, get the price that the business wants to charge written down, and both sides can agree on that. You should also tell them that if at any time they think they might have to charge you more, they should ring you before incurring any further costs. This gives you the choice of deciding whether you want to incur that cost or not.

Check out the Value Ireland top tips for hiring a tradesman here.

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