What risks can come from only having an estimate and not a contract?

Legal Moment on FRESH RADIO


[phone ringing]
Receptionist: Cohen Highley
Announcer: And now the Cohen Highley Legal Moment on Fresh Radio.
Announcer: I’m here with Jimmy Ding from Cohen Highley Lawyers. What risks can come from only having an estimate and not a contract?
Jimmy Ding: Well, lawyers run into this problem quite often.  Imagine a homeowner meets with a roofer to re-shingle the roof.  The roofer provides an estimate and at some point the parties both agree to move forward.
Announcer: Okay, with you so far.
Jimmy Ding: But then something goes badly between the roofer and the homeowner and the parties only have the estimate as their documentation.
Announcer: Now, could you resolve the issue without a formal contract?
Jimmy Ding: Well, it’s possible, but only having the estimate complicates things.  A good contract should consider all possible outcomes in a deal and how the parties can resolve issues.  Most estimates won’t have that detail.  An estimate will likely help you prove that there is a contract, but it will likely fall short on the terms of the contract.  If your lawyer has to argue about unwritten contract terms, it adds to legal costs.  You’re always better off with a well-written contact.
Announcer: Thanks Jimmy. This has been the Cohen Highley Legal Moment.  Cohenhighley.com
Singers: Cohen Highley, we’re listening.

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