Q: Can a contractor charge me additional money after I paid the invoice in full?
A subcontractor "forgot" about additional charges over a week later and now the subcontractor is trying to charge me additional money.
I am the owner, and was told that the job was paid in full. Now, a week after, they are charging more money with no itemized bill.
Dear Questioner facing extra-contractual charges: I am unclear if you are the Contractor or the Owner in the description you provided. However, while there would be nuances in my legal analysis and recommendations depending upon your respective "role", the basic answer remains the same. In Colorado charges outside the agreed upon fixed contract amount are "extra contractual charges", sometimes referred to simply as "Extras". If you are the Project Owner you have rights that are more strictly construed construed in your favor, to wit: a contractor / subcontractor is not entitled to payment for work from an Owner that is alleged to have been an "Extra" unless the contractor / subcontractor first achieved either (a) a formal written Change Order, or (b) a lesser valid but still possibly enforceable (i) verbal acceptance of the extra followed by written confirmation (like emails), or (ii) a continuous past pattern between the two of you whereby you had consistently accepted and paid for verbal extras and this charge is consistent with that pattern and sequentially related to your prior accepted verbal extras. If you were the General or Prime Contractor of the subject project and this is your Subcontractor then the analysis relies more pointedly upon the terms of your subcontract and all of the background chronology of the bidding process, the bid or proposal from the sub, and conversations about the possibility of the subcontract price "going over" during the negotiation and formation of the subcontract. In other words, a Contractor-Subcontractor relationship is not bound by the same strict construction when looking at an Extra charge as with an Owner-Contractor relationship.
JIM GREER is an attorney licensed to practice in CO and CA and has specialized in real estate matters for the past 30 years; nothing herein shall be construed as the offering of legal advice insofar as Mr. Greer is not in an attorney-client capacity with the inquiring party. 303.818.8422
A: If you content that you do not owe those additional charges then you may want to have an attorney dispute the charges for you. Or alternatively, if you don't pay the charges then the Contractor may or may not bring a lawsuit to compel payment at which time he would have the burden of proof to show that you actually owe the amount charged.
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