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I recently had to have dental implants. My dentist explained that I would need to see a dental surgeon to have the post done but he would be doing the remainder of the procedure. The same day my dentist told me this,I sat with his billing manager and asked how much MY responsibility for THEIR portion of the procedure would be. She gave me an unsigned estimate of $1850.00, taking into account that the cap on my insurance had already been met. I also called the surgeons office and received an estimate on their charges. Upon having the post completed, the bill from the surgeon was exactly what I was quoted. I then saw my dentist for him to complete the implants. Upon completion I received his bill and it was for $4300, OVER DOUBLE the estimate. His office said the difference was because the estimate was for 2 post and 3 were done. At NO time was I informed that there were 3 done OR the dramatic increase in cost. I paid $3000 of the final bill, what are my options regarding such a surprise increase of the bill?

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    Laws vary around the world so what jurisdiction is this (country, province, state)?
    – user35069
    Apr 14, 2022 at 17:08
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    In many jurisdictions (remember Law.SE is worldwide) such estimates are not legally binding, nor part of any contract. However, it may be that you were entitled, as part of your right to informed consent, to know in some detail what the planned procedure was, and to be informed promptly when the dentist realized that an additional post was needed. This may or may not give you a useful cause of action. Apr 14, 2022 at 17:18

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what are my options regarding such a surprise increase of the bill?

Some information is missing, which makes it harder to identify whether you have a viable claim of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and/or of violation of statutes against unfair and deceptive practices. That being said, you should have paid only the estimate in order to preempt the dentist's possible allegation that you just belatedly regretted paying that amount.

Your post does not specify whether the unsigned estimate has a disclaimer akin to "this estimate is not binding if unsigned". Nor is it clear whether the estimate is based on the premise that exactly two posts are required from the surgeon. Any of these two scenarios would weaken --but not necessarily defeat-- your position in the sense that that was the risk allocated between the parties. Restatement (Second) of Contracts at §154(a) reflects the relevance of identifying the parties' agreed allocation (if any) of risk.

Unless it can be proved that you have enough medical background, you as customer cannot reasonably be expected to know that the number of posts is a relevant variable in the estimate, let alone know the [disproportionate] effect in the event that the procedure involves three posts instead of two. Most likely that is the primary reason why you asked for an estimate in the first place.

The act of inquiring of, and receiving from, the dentist an estimate is indicative of the dentist's implicit duty to timely inform you of a material departure from the estimate. The dentist's failure to do so strikes the crucial element that contracts are formed [willfully and] knowingly.

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