Can craftsmen in France increase the price of work after signing a quote?

Reader question: I need to get my bathroom tiled again – I know the prices are high right now but I can’t wait – but I was talking to a neighbor who recently had some work done on her house and she said that the tradesman had increased the price of the work after the initial quote was signed. Is it legal? I don’t want that to happen to me.

This is possible under two conditions:

  1. The craftsman writes in the initial contract a clause allowing him to increase the prices if necessary (there are also conditions to this)

  2. The craftsman writes in the initial contract an expiry date, after which the estimate can be re-evaluated

In France, craftsmen are legally required to provide a detailed estimate for a job, which the client then signs.

A representative association of craftsmen, Capeb, recommends that its members include a clause in their quotes allowing them to increase the price of the intervention if necessary.

This is due to the current situation in which the cost of materials, such as steel, aluminum and wood, is increasing rapidly. These increases are linked to global supply chain issues, Covid and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The price increase must be calculated on the basis of a national index measuring the cost of production (article L. 231-11 of the Construction and Housing Code).

The craftsman can also indicate in the estimate a deadline for evaluation. After that, they can raise the price. La Capeb recommends that its members make this period one month.

If there is no expiration date on the quote, then it can automatically lose its validity after a “reasonable time”, which, according to the consumer advice center Institut national de la consumption, is about three months.

The customer has no legal obligation to accept a re-evaluated estimate and can negotiate with the craftsman.

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Eleanor C. William