Skip to main content

If I signed a contract with a painting contractor for work & paid a deposit , can I cancel that contract?

Providence, RI |

A contractor gave me my first quote (out of two I scheduled) and pressure me into signing that day and writing a check for $180. I got a further quote, with a better standard of work for $600 less - can I cancel the contract (lose deposit) with no repercussions to myself? No work has begun on the house painting work yet and not scheduled for 2 weeks.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 2


I can't speak to RI specifically, but most states allow a buyer's remorse grace for 3 days if the agreement was transacted in your home.

Even if you are on the hook so-to-speak, it does not mean you can't cancel the job but they may be able to get damages if they can prove them. For example, if they already purchased materials specifc for this job that they cannot use elsewhere; if they turned down anoher job to accommodate your project, etc.

You may want to first test the water and simply inform them that you will not be moving forward and see what type of response you get. Some upstanding providers would rather walk away then get caught up in a dispute and all the bad wrap that comes with it. But you know others will make s big stink and threaten to sue.

You may want to consult a local civil litigator if you feel this cannot be resolved amicably.

Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

Best regards,
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
(see Disclaimer)

The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. Feel free to call for a free phone consultation; your inquiries are always welcome: CONTACT: 866-871-8655 DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.



Thank you - very helpful


Notify the contractor by phone that you want to cancel. See what his answer is ask him if he has purchased any materials already on your behalf. If he claims he has, ask to see the invoices. Thank him for his time in estimating the work. Immediately follow up with a letter cancelling the contract. You might be liable for damages but since no work has started, unlikely that he would have much in the nature of provable damages beyond the deposit you already paid. If he gets nasty, advise him that you felt pressured to sign and upon reflection do not want to do business that way. Trust me, if he pressured you to sign the contract, it is likely that he will "find" other items that require fixing and pressure you into signing further change orders for work that you likely do not need to have done. Cut your losses now while you still can.

Attorney is Licensed in Arizona, California, and Colorado only. The opinions and comments offered are in the nature of general business advice relating to generic questions that might be raised. The use of this site is not intended to form an attorney client relationship of any kind. The reader is advised that every situation is different and you should always consult in person with a licensed attorney for the particular jurisdiction in question when your legal rights may be effected.