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Old 10-01-2012, 02:17 PM   #1
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Professional opinion about an estimate


My oil tank leaked out 130 gallons of fuel oil in my yard and had to call and environmental cleanup company to get it cleaned up, not covered by insurance. I got 3 estimates. One was $7500 and another for $8100. The last one said they can work with me since it is not covered and do it for$5300.

At first it went from $5300 to $6800 that afternoon because they filled one truck and had to get another. I was ready to pay the balance of the bill minus deposit then I get another adjusted bill for an additional $2400 because they had to make 2 trips to the dumpsite in another state.

I know an estimate is only an estimate. But when you get an estimate of $5300 on anything is it right that it turns out to be $9200. I think they low balled me on a price just to get the business.

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Old 10-01-2012, 02:23 PM   #2
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And you would be right.
Ever wonder what they do with the dirt?
It can be burned to get the fuel out, the air is run through scrubbers to clean it, the dirt gets used to cover a land full each day.
They get the fuel to do the burning from the methane gas from the land fill.

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Old 10-01-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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My oil tank leaked out 130 gallons of fuel oil in my yard and had to call and environmental cleanup company to get it cleaned up, not covered by insurance. I got 3 estimates. One was $7500 and another for $8100. The last one said they can work with me since it is not covered and do it for$5300.

At first it went from $5300 to $6800 that afternoon because they filled one truck and had to get another. I was ready to pay the balance of the bill minus deposit then I get another adjusted bill for an additional $2400 because they had to make 2 trips to the dumpsite in another state.

I know an estimate is only an estimate. But when you get an estimate of $5300 on anything is it right that it turns out to be $9200. I think they low balled me on a price just to get the business.


Check with your insurance company to see if your covered and don't pay a dime until you do.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
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As you noticed, you apparently got an "estimate", not a hard bid. You should very carefully read your contract (you did get a contract?) to see exactly what the contractor promises to do. That should be in the scope of work section. There should be a section in the contract that discusses the price, and how any extra costs will be computed.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:00 AM   #5
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As you say, an estimate is an estimate. Good advice on seeing what their contract says, as that is the good thing with a contract is it will typically not leave room for this kind of thing to happen.

Although given that you had an oil tank leak into the ground, it's going to be expensive no matter what.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:41 AM   #6
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The contractor would have had no way of knowing how deep your spill went until they started digging. If they had to cleanse the property of twice the cubic yards estimated, I can see how the bill could be higher than the estimate. I would not jump to the conclusion they are screwing you even though the industry is notorious for doing so even more than HVAC, roofing and funeral scammers.

What does the contract say? How many cubic yards does the bill say they took away and does that match the hole in your property when you look at it? Did they get it all?

Last edited by user1007; 10-02-2012 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:33 AM   #7
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not covered by insurance.
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Check with your insurance company to see if your covered
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:34 AM   #8
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Anytime you get an estimate that is that far out of whack you need to warning bells go off in your head.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:56 AM   #9
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Sounds like they bought the work with a low quote.

Next time maybe ask for a quote, and get a contract - write one yourself if you have to and get them to sign it.
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:35 AM   #10
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.....Next time maybe ask for a quote, and get a contract - write one yourself if you have to and get them to sign it.
You can write up such a "side" contract, however, it doesn't always work just that way, and, it doesn't necessarily mean a court of law will recognize it as the official, superceding, legal and binding contract.

Example: Some States have specific contract formats that must be followed (dependant on the type of work services provided and agreed upon). Often, specific wording, and disclosures must be included. Such a contract may be required to be provided "by" the company/entity/person, who is performing the hired work (not from the Property Owner). Some jurisdictions may also require a copy of that State mandated contract, in order to issue permit(s) for the work.

With the OP's situation, they may wish to contact the State Attorny General's Office, or Division of Consumer Affairs - to inquire if any laws, or regulations were broken by the Company, and/or see if that company has a track record (multiple cases that are similar), and other complaints against them, for such practices (where the final bill is almost double the original quoted estimate).
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:21 PM   #11
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You can write up such a "side" contract, however, it doesn't always work just that way, and, it doesn't necessarily mean a court of law will recognize it as the official, superceding, legal and binding contract.

Example: Some States have specific contract formats that must be followed (dependant on the type of work services provided and agreed upon). Often, specific wording, and disclosures must be included. Such a contract may be required to be provided "by" the company/entity/person, who is performing the hired work (not from the Property Owner). Some jurisdictions may also require a copy of that State mandated contract, in order to issue permit(s) for the work.

With the OP's situation, they may wish to contact the State Attorny General's Office, or Division of Consumer Affairs - to inquire if any laws, or regulations were broken by the Company, and/or see if that company has a track record (multiple cases that are similar), and other complaints against them, for such practices (where the final bill is almost double the original quoted estimate).
Yep, thats about the only recourse the OP has at this point.


A verbal only contract should never be agreed to anymore, if it involves more then a few dollars.

OP. Are their anymore ground test required.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:29 PM   #12
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350 Gals soaked into your soil? Not that this helps you but...
Up here, that end price would have been a bargain.

Extensive soil testing/ removal of hazardous material/ transport of hazardous materials/ disposal of hazardous materials/ confirmations of all by on site inspectors/ etc. etc. and it would probably end up at twice that cost.

Its all a bit bizarre when one is old enough to remember some of those same municipalities paying city departments to deliberately spray all its back alley gravel lanes with oil just to keep the dust down. It makes me wonder what else that we now think is acceptable, will later cost us thousands of dollars to remove.

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