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Can tradespeople in France raise price of job after signing a quote?

With building material costs increasing, we look at whether an artisan can revise estimates after an agreement has already been reached

Building costs are up at the moment, prompting tradespersons to take precautions when writing quotes Pic: DUO Studio / Shutterstock

Reader question: I need to get my bathroom retiled – I know prices are high right now but I can’t wait – but I was speaking to a neighbour who recently got work done at her house and she said that the tradesman upped the price of the job after the initial quote was signed. Is this legal? I don’t want this to happen to me. 

This is possible under two conditions:

  1. The tradesperson writes into the initial contract a clause allowing them to raise prices if necessary (there are also conditions to this)

  2. The tradesperson writes into the initial contract an expiry date, after which the quote can be reevaluated 

In France, tradespersons are legally obliged to provide a detailed quote of a job, which the client then signs. 

An association representing tradespersons, Capeb, recommends its members insert a clause in their quotes allowing them to increase the price of the job if necessary.

This is because of the current situation in which the cost of materials, such as steel, aluminium and wood, is rising quickly. These hikes are linked to global supply chain issues, Covid and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The increase in price has to be calculated based on a national index that measures the cost of production (article L. 231-11 of the French Code de la construction et de l’habitation).

The tradesperson can also indicate in the quote an expiry date for the evaluation. After this, they can increase the price. Capeb recommends that its members make this a period of one month. 

If there is no expiry date written into the quote, then it can automatically lose its validity after a “reasonable timeframe”, which, according to the consumer advice centre the Institut national de la consommation, is around three months. 

The client is under no legal obligation to accept a re-evaluated quote and can negotiate with the tradesperson. 

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