We recently had a massive hailstorm and, following that storm, we saw an endless stream of roofing contractors knocking on our door. We're in Boulder County, Colorado.
A representative from one of those construction companies pointed out some damage and offered to meet with the insurance adjuster, which he did. Our insurance company wrote us a check to cover some of the hail damage.
After emphatically explaining how amazing his replacement windows are, he produced an iPad and asked me to "sign". I foolishly squiggled on the screen. Here's what it said:
- Quote is valid until ADD DATE HERE
- CCC has a "no return policy" on windows, doors, glass, and sashes.
- Project time line - Window delivery - 8 weeks, Prefinish work - 2-3 weeks, Install - 2 weeks.
- Standard Payment Terms are 50% down at time of order, 25% due upon delivery to CCC shop, and remainder due upon completion of work.
- Pricing based on payment by check or cash. 3% will be added for payment by credit card.
- If job cannot be completed (i.e. due to backordered items, remakes, etc) customer will be responsible for full payment for portion of job completed up to that point.
- If acceptable, please sign and return along with 50% down payment. Thank you!
- I confirm that my action here represents my electronic signature and is binding.
At the time I did not write him a check because I wanted to discuss the scope of the job with my wife. The windows in our house are a bit old, so it would make sense to replace them all at once, and not just the ones that sustained hail damage.
Admittedly, I don't know much about windows (or the legal ramifications of squiggling on an iPad screen). That evening, as a sanity check, I looked at Google/Yelp reviews for the window make/model and saw that almost every review had the lowest possible rating. I reached out to the guy and explained that we could not move forward with his recommendation, and I asked him to quote products that rated highly in Consumer Reports, which he did.
At that time, he had not ordered any windows from his supplier, so things weren't yet set-in-stone (even though I had stupidly squiggled on the iPad). A few hours later, we received a quote that was almost twice the previous estimate. Because of the large amount of money at stake, I decided to get a second quote. His quote was 76% more expensive than Lowes for exactly the same product. In cash terms, Lowes was $10k cheaper.
So, regardless of the squiggle on the iPad, I decided not to move forward with the exorbitant quote. When I mentioned this, he sent me an email saying:
in order to break out of the contract we think it would be fair to charge for the time we have put into all of this. Heath ran the numbers and it came to $1,000
So, he knocked on our door, pointed out some damage, met with the insurance adjuster, (over) quoted the job, and is now asking for $1,000 (as a sort of "inconvenience fee"). Even though I screwed up by squiggling on the iPad, I think this is a somewhat predatory sales practice. From my perspective, he tried to rip me off and then sent me a bill for the trouble.
From a legal perspective, is my position defensible? I did squiggle, after all.
I took another peek at the electronic document I squiggled on and notice that it's in my wife's name. My name doesn't appear anywhere on the document. Presumably, I do not have the authority to sign legally binding documents on my wife's behalf. I wonder if that alone would invalidate the contract.