If completion of renovation work is significantly delayed, you may claim the compensation for delay or standard compensation noted in the written agreement.
- If there is no agreement, submit a written request to have the work completed within a new, reasonable deadline.
- If work is not completed within the new deadline, you are entitled to claim compensation for damages based on costs incurred as a result of the delay. You may claim compensation based on your actual costs if they exceed the standard compensation specified in the agreement. You cannot, however, receive both forms of compensation.
You are entitled to withhold payment for the delayed part of work performance until compensation has been agreed and the work is completed.
If the delay causes significant inconvenience, you may terminate the agreement with immediate effect instead of extending the deadline.
Price disputes require proof
If no prior agreement exists regarding the price, the consumer must generally pay the price charged by the contractor, assuming the price is not unreasonable and the invoice is itemised.
- Hourly rates must be based on actual working hours and necessary travel hours
- Cost estimates must generally be stuck to. If the final price is lower than the cost estimate, the contractor is not entitled to charge according to the original price estimate. The price estimate may only be exceeded by 15% and justifiable grounds must be given for this
- A fixed price , i.e. a piecework rate may not be exceeded at all. Nor does the contractor have to lower the price even if the work turns out to be cheaper than expected
- Maximum price is the upper limit for the price. It may not be exceeded even if the actual costs of the work are greater than expected. The price may, however, be lowered according to the amount of work performed or materials used
In the event of a dispute, the burden of proof regarding the agreed price lies with the contractor. The renovation or building contracts should be prepared in writing.
If you disagree with a contractor regarding an invoice, you have the right to withhold payment of the excess portion invoiced. In this case, you must always submit a written request, along with relevant justification, to the contractor to have the price adjusted.
If the contractor does not accept the adjustment and insists on sticking to the original invoice, you should contact a consumer advice immediately. The consumer advice may assess whether there is reason to continue withholding payment and dispute the matter.
Contact a consumer advice
Additional work must be paid as agreed
The contractor has no obligation to work for free. Then again, in a dispute he must be able to prove
- that he has requested the customer's approval for the additional work in question
- what aspects of the work performance are considered part of the original job
- what aspects of the work performance are additional work, which will be invoiced for on top of the original price
Additional work and the price charged for it should always be included in the written agreement when such work is requested by the customer or the need for such work otherwise exists. A clearly agreed price may not be exceeded by charging for additional work without having a new agreement or appropriate amendments to an existing agreement.
Send a written complaint and claim for compensation to the contractor if contacting him does not yield the desired results. Complaints must be filed within a reasonable time of detecting the defect.
You are entitled to
- withhold payment for the defective work until the defect has been rectified or other compensation has been agreed on. You may not automatically withhold the full price of the job
- demand that defective work is rectified. The contractor is entitled to rectify defects himself as long as this does not cause unreasonable inconvenience to the consumer
You may have additional renovation work to rectify the defect done by a different contractor, if you have reasonable grounds to suspect that the original contractor would not be able to rectify the defect, or if you can agree on such an arrangement with the original contractor. In this case, you may claim the costs of rectifying the defect from the original contractor. However, you must pay the invoice of the second contractor unless your agreement with the two contractors clearly states otherwise.
If rectification of the defect is not an option, you may claim a price reduction. Terminating the agreement is the final option. Even in the case of termination, you must still pay for any non-defective work completed.
The consumer is also entitled to compensation for damages to cover costs incurred as a result of the defect. These include, among other things, telephone, postal and travel costs. If a defect or damage is caused by negligence on the part of the contractor, he must also compensate for indirect costs incurred as a result of the defect or damage.
The primary contractor is liable for the work done by subcontractors. If, for instance, the customer is unable to reach the primary contractor and there is a defect in the work done by the subcontractor, the consumer is entitled to make a claim directly to the subcontractor.
Complaining about defective service
Contact the company or vendor from which you purchased the service. File your complaint as soon as possible after noticing the problem. To make the resolution of possible disputes easier, we recommend that all complaints be filed in writing.
File a complaint with the company
If your complaint is unsuccessful, contact the consumer advisors
Assistance for consumers is provided by consumer advisors..
Contact a consumer advisor