Get an estimate
A word of advice about understanding the cost before work starts.
19 September 2011
You pick up your repaired computer from the store. “It was worse than we suspected, we had to replace the hard drive, and unfortunately we couldn’t recover your files”. The repairer hands over the bill.
“What! I could have nearly bought a new computer for that!”
Even if you think the job will be small, get a quote or estimate before work begins so you can decide if the cost is really worth it.
An estimate is how much the service provider thinks the job will cost. The actual price may be more or less, but it shouldn’t be too much more. A quote is an offer to do a job for an exact price. If you accept the quote then the service provider can’t charge you more than the agreed price. It is best to get the quote in writing in case there are any problems later.
If you just get an estimate, tell the service provider to contact you if the final price is going to be higher than the estimate. Then you can choose to stop the work before it gets too expensive.
Under the Consumer Guarantees Act, the service provider should use their skill and experience when estimating the cost. The actual cost should not be too much more than the amount estimated.
If you didn’t get a quote or estimate
Under the Consumer Guarantees Act the service provider must complete the work with reasonable care and skill, and within a reasonable time and at a reasonable price. You can find out what is reasonable by asking other service providers how much the work should cost, and how long it should take.