Verbal Acceptance of Job without Written Contract

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Mark K

Active Member
20 June 2014
6
0
31
Hi there,
I provided a written quote to a builder. They verbally rang and gave us the go ahead. I then emailed them saying thanks for accepting our quote, jobs booked in for June 17th, and attached an invoice for a 25% deposit.

They paid the deposit. The job got bumped back and was meant to happen today. Yesterday, they called and said they've found someone cheaper to do the job so we had to give them their deposit back. I said no, and said I've purchased the materials already.

They just called again and are threatening legal action because I don't have a signed acceptance form. Wouldn't them paying the deposit be a legal indicator that they have accepted our quote? Am I legally obligated to return their deposit under contract law?

Thanks in advance for your answers.
 

Rod

Lawyer
LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
7,221
972
2,894
Yes and probably not. You have a good case for suing them for the balance of the job. Offer was made, offer was accepted, consideration paid. Sounds a lot like a legal contract to me.
 

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
689
174
2,394
Sydney
Hi Mark,
Does your quote and/or invoice set out your terms of work?
 

Mark K

Active Member
20 June 2014
6
0
31
Thx for the replies so far. John R yes clearly our schedule of payments are in our quote, I've shown them below

PROGRESSIVE INSTALLATION OVER WEEKS/MONTHS

20% with the acceptance of this quotation

45% one week prior to installation of pipework (rough in)

30% one week prior to installation of boiler (fit off)

5% after final commissioning operation of the system
 

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
689
174
2,394
Sydney
Hi Mark,
In my experience, good business relies on good relationships. If you value the builder's business, then consider negotiating the 20% less time and materials spent in preparation for the project. If not, and subject to the deposit amount in dispute, you have two practical options:
  1. Continue to refuse to refund the deposit because you believe that the agreement is valid (based on the circumstances that you've previously set out) and wait for the builder to make good on their legal threat; or
  2. Take a proactive step (and be prepared to set aside $300-$1,000+) to engage a lawyer to review the circumstances of the agreement, provide formal legal advice and potentially draft a response to the builder in relation to your position.
Hope this helps. Please keep us updated with your progress.
 

Mark K

Active Member
20 June 2014
6
0
31
thank you - i don't value his business - prefer not to deal with builders anyway :) - i think i'll wait and see if he makes good and go from there - will let you know what happens next
 

Mark K

Active Member
20 June 2014
6
0
31
update - they threatened to sue again - i told them go for it - its now 4 months later i haven't heard a thing, hopefully i wont. Just thought i would let you all know, thanks for the advice!