What should you do if, during the season, your snow removal contractor charges you an additional fee for its services?

In the case of a fixed-term contract, i.e., that is valid over a certain period of time (a complete season, for example) the contractor cannot unilaterally change any essential elements of the contract, such as the price of the services. That is prohibited, even if the contractor has included such a provision in the contract.

Example of a prohibited clause in a fixed-term contract

Some snow removal contractors include a clause in the contract that provides for the possibility of increasing the price of the services over the course of the contract should there be an increase in the price of fuel. Such a clause is prohibited in a contract that is valid over a certain period of time, as it concerns an essential element of the contract, namely the price of the services.

If there is a problem

If the snow removal company changes the price of the services during the season when doing so is prohibited, try to negotiate. The page titled Negotiating with a merchant explains the procedure to follow. You can also contact us to file a complaint.

If the negotiation fails, you can pay the amount “under protest.” An invoice paid under protest means that you reserve the right to contest the amount paid. To do so, you must write “under protest” on the cheque given to the snow removal contractor. Then, send a formal notice to the snow removal contractor to claim the overpayment.

The page titled Sending a formal notice provides further information on this topic.

If the snow removal contractor does not respond to the request you made in the formal notice, you can resort to the courts. The page on small claims court provides further information on this topic.

Last update : February 3, 2023

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.