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standing my ground for the customer

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  • standing my ground for the customer

    got a call today from a customer i see every few years. her kitchen sink wall mount faucet won't shut and like most wall mounts, there is no shut off valve in the cabinets. told here i could get to it end of the day. she could wait. told her to shut it off outside.

    get a call from her around 4:45, she called another company as she needed it fixed sooner than later. so now this guy comes out and has her agree to a $940 repair to install 2 -1/2'' shut off valves in the cabinet of course then come back the next day to replace the faucet for another big charge he went off to buy the 2- 1/2'' valves as he didn't have them in his van of course the above ground ball valve was shut off. not sure what he was thinking

    i told her to call the company and cancel as i will change my last job and be there in a couple minutes.

    i pull up to find the gas meter vault lids off and the meter box wide open at the curb, parkway along with the 6'' lid for the water meter. so at this point i think what kind of a company would leave the covers off and pose a potential broken leg if someone fell in

    look at the clean price pfister wall mount and remove the cold stem. the washer was cut in 1/2 as the retainer cup was damaged. check the hot and looks good so i try to remove the washer. the screw is rotted.

    go to my truck and as i'm grabbing a hot and cold short stem for the kitchen, the original plumber shows up and is yelling at me why i told his boss not to come back out. he never bothered to look at the faucet to even think of fixing it. all he wanted to do was install shut offs and replace the faucet the next day.

    after a heated dispute across the street from the customer, the customer comes out, along with a couple neighbors and even a friend of the owner who was driving by. not to mention my parents who live a couple doors down

    i asked him for his license and like a fool he actually pulled it out. i didn't recognize it as a city license. turns out it's from nevada

    so tomorrow when i speak to his company and the city inspector, we'll see who gets the last laugh.

    remember the $940 was to just install the shut offs. not fix or replace the faucet. that was extra

    rick.



    gas meter box left wide open and plumber gone to get parts. water meter is the small round lid.



    owner putting the pieces back.



    a cold stem with a bad washer and washer cup broken. also changed the 2 seats and hot stem as the screw was stripped. along with a spout o-ring. basically a brand new faucet fixed in minutes for 15% of his estimate to install 2- 1/2'' shut offs.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 07-20-2010, 02:56 AM.
    phoebe it is

  • #2
    Re: standing my ground for the customer

    It raises questions for me Rick.

    What if the other plumber was going to charge $100.00 for the two stops? Would you have rushed over to "save the day" or "save the customer"?

    And sometimes two plumbers look at a faucet where one is sure it only needs repair and the other is sure it needs replacement 'cause they've seen the repairs last a very short while.

    I worry about the lids on meters too. We had a city get sued last year over someone stepping in one. I personally feel it's complete BS. There are hazards everywhere in life. EVERYWHERE. And people should be aware and responsible for themselves just as I would. F'ing insurance & lawyers man.

    I think you may have got lucky this time. I might have lost it and "wrenched" you right in front of your folks. For my area, $900+ would be robbery for what you describe. But it's none of my business if that's what someone wants to charge. What if another plumber friend of theirs happened by and told them the few bucks in parts you were going to put in and charging $120.00 was way too much also? That they would do it for $100.00?

    It's like you lost the job, no big deal, but then couldn't mind your own business. I bet you would have called, called, called, and broke your neck to get there if someone else was headed there to make the exact same repair you did for $200.00.

    Mixed feelings man.

    J.C.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: standing my ground for the customer

      i guess you don't see my point. the $940 was not going to fix the faucet. it was just going to shut off the water. 99% of wall mounted kitchen sink faucets don't have shut offs.

      the couple hours he had the water shut off, was a joke.

      my question to you, if you were to get a female customer and had the same leaking faucet. would you sell her shut offs or fix the faucet?

      he never even bothered looking at the faucet. never bothered to get the water back on, but leave her stranded to call me for advise.

      the plumber didn't even have 2-1/2'' ball valves on his truck. if he had to go get the supplies before the supply house closes at 5pm. why wouldn't he just install a washer or a stem to get the water back on and the real problem fixed?

      was it that he can't justify a normal service call and has to go after a big ticket repair?

      why didn't he just replace the faucet if he didn't know how to install a washer?

      what honest plumber would outright rip off a lady.

      remember she called me first and i told her i could make it end of day. when she felt that she was getting robbed, is when she called me again. i didn't just stop by because i wanted to. i stopped by because she was being taken advantage of and called for help.

      sorry if you feel i was out of line. but i honestly can't see you defending a plumber that's m/o is to rip off the public.

      explain why the gas meter vault was even opened. no less left open for someone to fall into.

      why he never bothered to look at the faucet leak?

      why he doesn't have a 1/2'' shut off valve in his truck?

      why he isn't licensed to work in los angeles when his shop is located in los angeles?

      rick.
      phoebe it is

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: standing my ground for the customer

        Rick I get where you are coming from. I had a similar experience.

        A lady we been doing all her plumbing work for over 20 years calls us and said she needs us out right away to unclog her sewer. I explained to her I could be out later that afternoon. She agreed, but an hour later said she could not wait any longer and she called another shop out to clear the blockage.

        About 3 hours goes by I get another call from her. She was hysterical, telling me the guy she hired said the clean out I installed for her last year was useless, that her whole sewer may need replacing. But before he gives her a bid for a new sewer he was going to go to his shop and get a larger sewer machine and try to get the line open for her. I told her I will be right over. Now if she waited I would of been there by now.

        As I pull up in her driveway the guy is loading up a Spartan 1065. I do not hesitate, I open my side door pull out my 1065 rodding bucket and head right to the clean out. The home owner which was standing at the front of the other guys truck looked so frantic. The other guy quickly yells to her that I am not going to any good, that I have the same under size machine he does.

        We about 10 minutes later I got the line open, and had my helper send the 4" cutter through. The guys walks up to me with the home owner and said yea but the whole line needs replacing. I explained to her the problem spot is right under her oak tree and its only one spot. No need to replace the line. Just need to rod it every two years like we have been. The guy chimes in and said you will never do a proper job using just a 2" and 4" cutter. That is when my helper chimed in I am rolling up the rod now with the 6" cutter on it.

        So we just embarrassed this guy and proved he was just trying to up sell the job. What really got me was it took us 45 minutes to run the 2" 4" and 6" cutters through the sewer. I did ask the guy what was this machine he was telling my customer that is bigger than the 1065. I got flustered and left. That was not the first time I had run into that guy either.
        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: standing my ground for the customer

          exactly ron. it's about honesty in the trade. not how much a person can bilk a customer for.

          in your case he waned to sell a customer a new sewer line and in the mean time leave the customer with no sewer.

          mine was leaving the customer with no water to the house and then adding valves, but still leaving the customer with no kitchen sink water.

          what ever happened to diagnose the problem and fix it

          glad there are still honest plumbers who take pride in their work ron

          rick.
          phoebe it is

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: standing my ground for the customer

            Rick I think the big issue is there are more and more guys out there that want to make the big bucks fast, and many of them do not even have any pride in their work.

            I could make money hands over fist if I wanted to. But I am to honest, and will tell people like it is and charge a fair rate. Sadly people fall for all the flash of these big talkers and end up getting work done that is not needed.

            Another point you made about pulling up on the job site and finding the vault lids removed with out anyone standing near by to make sure no one falls or trips in one. That was the first thing my father taught me as a young kid helping him on jobs. Do not ever leave any opening on the ground uncovered. Clean out put the plug back in someone could trip, manholes put the lid back on someone can fall in. If you can not put the cover back on put up some sort of obstruction to help prevent any accidents.
            Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
            A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
            Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
            Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: standing my ground for the customer

              I have a couple problem with this story. $900+ is very high for my area to install shut off valves, but I don't know your area. It does sound to me like the guy was just looking for more work and a bigger commission check at the end of the week.

              The big problem I have with the story is the homeowner. From your pictures, that faucet had to be leaking for weeks. Why couldn't she have called you sooner? Now we all know some homeowners will let a leak get huge before they do anything about it, so I can let that part slide.

              You had already made an appointment with her which she later decided she couldn't wait for. Then she calls you back up and you have to rearrange your schedule because of her getting impatient? Now you are in a situation where you have to get into a dispute with another plumber? None of that sits well with me. I wouldn't have changed my schedule for her, she would have to wait like everybody else.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: standing my ground for the customer

                mark, the washer actually broke off that day. the seats were fine and the washer broke due to the washer cup missing 1/2 of it's cup. not a big deal as i was going to another job in the neighborhood. it's just when she originally called i still had 3 jobs booked before i could get there.

                what is missing is not just the 940.00 it's the fact he did everything but address the leaking faucet.

                still can't figure out the gas meter lids

                why not fix the faucet or replace it if need be. but he never even took off the handle.

                why no city license?

                why no 1/2'' valves on the truck?

                why no washers or stems?

                he wasn't out there to help the customer. he was out there to help himself and the company he works for.

                rick.
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: standing my ground for the customer

                  I talked to Rick about this last night and he left a few parts out of the story.

                  Because there is a ball-valve on the side of the house the guy didn't need to dig up the corporate stop.

                  When the other "Plumber" came back he told Rick the faucet did not have replaceable stems.

                  The other guys repair was to install isolating valves and not fix the faucet.

                  Assuming for some strange reason the owner wanted to install isolating valves at the faucet, the wall is still wide open from a copper repipe.

                  Rick installed 2 new stems, 2 new seats and a spout O-ring and the customer is back in business.

                  Mark
                  "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                  I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: standing my ground for the customer

                    Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                    mark, the washer actually broke off that day. the seats were fine and the washer broke due to the washer cup missing 1/2 of it's cup. not a big deal as i was going to another job in the neighborhood. it's just when she originally called i still had 3 jobs booked before i could get there.

                    what is missing is not just the 940.00 it's the fact he did everything but address the leaking faucet.

                    still can't figure out the gas meter lids

                    why not fix the faucet or replace it if need be. but he never even took off the handle.

                    why no city license?

                    why no 1/2'' valves on the truck?

                    why no washers or stems?

                    he wasn't out there to help the customer. he was out there to help himself and the company he works for.

                    rick.

                    My guess is that he opened the wrong meter and thought it was the water and then just was lazy and never put the lid back on.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: standing my ground for the customer

                      Rick I would have done the same thing To keep one of my good impatient customers from getting robbed under the kitchen sink

                      I had a carpenter i didn't know leave a message , he needed the shower drain moved today...It wasn't going to happen ...so he calls some one else.. i didn't know who the job was for

                      2 weeks later One of My reg customer calls crying needs me to come and see whats going on over there...It was her house..M Bath remodel
                      The so called plumber and the jack leg carpenter took her to the cleaners it was a total mess .. and they still wanted more money out of her

                      I told her what i would do
                      So She got rid of them and every thing they did had to be redone which wasn't much
                      If i would of had time..or new it was her on the first day...
                      i could of saved her the $8000 and a lot of grief

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: standing my ground for the customer

                        Last year I had one of my long time customers send her check and a copy of the invoice.

                        On the invoice she wrote.. "$85.00 for 15 minutes worth of work?" lol

                        Yea..that got my father all fired up, considering she's a millionaire. But we would charge the same thing if she wasn't..and that's the point. To be honest, we thought she was going through the "change of life" cause she never acted that way towards us, and still hasn't after that one incident.

                        Sometimes I don't understand how some people arrive at their prices, and I'll just leave it at that.

                        Once in a blue moon myself and another Plumber will arrive on the same job (estimate or customer calling every Plumber in the book) at the same time. Now I'm friends and know just about all the Plumbers in my area, it's the ones I don't know that can be kind of awkward. I never had another Plumber who wanted to throw hands me with me yet...but I guess there is always a first. I just don't go around slandering other Plumbers and I mind my own business.

                        As for me, since I'm an owner, I'm extremely honest with my customers. You gain nothing in life by being dishonest, as it will come around and bite you in the a$$.

                        With that said..$900 for 2 1/2 ball valves is freaking ridiculous!!!

                        I'll do it for half that, and take the rest of the day off...lol.
                        Last edited by Flux; 07-20-2010, 08:36 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: standing my ground for the customer

                          Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                          i guess you don't see my point. the $940 was not going to fix the faucet. it was just going to shut off the water. 99% of wall mounted kitchen sink faucets don't have shut offs.
                          I've seen this before too. How do they get away with it? We're required to have shutoffs at each fixture last I checked. I've got to find my codebook soon.

                          the couple hours he had the water shut off, was a joke.

                          my question to you, if you were to get a female customer and had the same leaking faucet. would you sell her shut offs or fix the faucet?
                          I'd fix the faucet, but also mention the benefit of having individual shutoffs. Then let her decide. Many times the customer will WANT something like that once you bring it to their attention. The fact that the person is a woman has zero bearing on what I would do or recommend.

                          he never even bothered looking at the faucet. never bothered to get the water back on, but leave her stranded to call me for advise.
                          Obviously, he was an inexperienced knucklehead.

                          the plumber didn't even have 2-1/2'' ball valves on his truck. if he had to go get the supplies before the supply house closes at 5pm. why wouldn't he just install a washer or a stem to get the water back on and the real problem fixed?
                          He/she did not know what they were doing, should not be in the field, and should be reported to whoever to get them in line. Just as you plan to do.

                          was it that he can't justify a normal service call and has to go after a big ticket repair?
                          I would say yes. And I wouldn't even trust him to do a "big ticket repair" correctly.

                          why didn't he just replace the faucet if he didn't know how to install a washer?
                          Bet he didn't have a faucet. That would have gotten the price over a cool $1000.00.

                          what honest plumber would outright rip off a lady.
                          Doesn't seem honest or knowledgeable. What's a rip off? $94.00? $194.00? $940.00? Yes, I do think that $940.00 is an extremely high price for my area. You may feel the same way for your area. But what I'm trying to convey to you is that it's not my or your job to be the "Price Police". There are some that think $150.00 would have been absolute robbery and taking advantage of a customer. And once again, the person being a lady has no bearing to me.

                          remember she called me first and i told her i could make it end of day. when she felt that she was getting robbed, is when she called me again. i didn't just stop by because i wanted to. i stopped by because she was being taken advantage of and called for help.
                          I think this is my biggest issue. I have an issue with the customer. Keeps calling to get what she wants. What happens when you show up and want to charge $100.00 for a cup & washer and then she "feels" she's being taken advantage of? Call the next plumber and have him show up for $90.00?

                          sorry if you feel i was out of line. but i honestly can't see you defending a plumber that's m/o is to rip off the public.
                          I just kind of think this person should have to take what she gets when she was unwilling to wait on a "good" plumber. I have a story of mine that I may be relating all of this too in my head. Right or wrong. I'll save it for last.

                          explain why the gas meter vault was even opened. no less left open for someone to fall into.
                          Maybe he saw galvanized pipe and got scared.

                          why he never bothered to look at the faucet leak?
                          Didn't know what he was doing and/or was trying sell more than the customer wanted.

                          why he doesn't have a 1/2'' shut off valve in his truck?
                          Don't know. Speaking for myself, I can't seem to keep everything on my truck. Even the basics at times get low. On the job, already used 10 items, but missing 2. Like two valves. Bet he would have came back with SharkBites. You think I'm kidding?

                          why he isn't licensed to work in los angeles when his shop is located in los angeles?
                          Fly by night, get as much out of every customer as you can, then get the next customer. Burn baby burn. You know the drill.

                          rick.
                          Now my own little story I may have been inadvertently relating to yours where I got really pissed off.

                          I was working at a business when a repeat customer calls at about 10:00 a.m. and says he has a leak. I know his house plumbing, he has some knowledge about it as I walked him through it & showed him where shutoffs are and such. The leak is underneath in a crawlspace Good crawlspace, if there is such a thing. You can lean over and walk around then sit on your tool box to work. Getting off subject.

                          He tells me he is underneath and it is "steamy" under there. Hot line. I guide him over to the water heater and tell him what valves to turn. Apollo heat system off the water heater, so there are more than just one valve to think about. He turns them, and then reports to me that the water leak stopped. I explain he'll have cold water use until I can get there. (I know some can back cycle depending on what's turned on and layout.)

                          Now remember, it's around 10:00 a.m. and he is a repeat customer. I explain where I'm at (not far away) and what I'm doing. I tell him I should be able to get there before 12:00 p.m. but will call if it doesn't look like I'll make it so he can call another plumber. I also tell him I will call when I'm on the way. All cool.

                          Well what I was working on went together real quick. (You and I know that almost NEVER happens). So I call him on his mobile. No answer. I call him again. No answer. I leave a message I'm on my way there and start heading to his house. At about 10:50 a.m. I have my turn signal on at his driveway and the phone rings. He says to me "I couldn't wait and have got somebody here to fix it".

                          I almost lost it but kept my cool, turned my signal off, and drove on past.

                          Now if he would have called me back and said, "This guy is going to charge me $950.00 to repair a leak and put two shutoffs in I want you to come over and see what's going on", do you think I'm going back?


                          Maybe you would, and that's ok. I'm not. He can never call me for anything as long as he is alive.

                          J.C.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: standing my ground for the customer

                            JC, I think every one of us that has been in the business for any length of time has those same stories. I know I sure do. That's why Rick's story bothered me as well.

                            I also think the so called plumber was just looking for a big payday without giving a crap about the customers actual problem. His work vehicle probably said some variation of Roto-Rooter or Bestline Plumbing on it also. People like that make us all look bad. I hope Rick is able to get the person in trouble.

                            I don't think the homeowner was innocent in this story either. It sounds like she had a working relationship with Rick already. She decided it was more important to get the leak fixed fast from a stranger then to wait and get it done correct.

                            She gambled and lost. It's a good thing for her Rick is more forgiving then I am in this situation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: standing my ground for the customer

                              Originally posted by Nevada plumber View Post
                              JC, I think every one of us that has been in the business for any length of time has those same stories. I know I sure do. That's why Rick's story bothered me as well.

                              I also think the so called plumber was just looking for a big payday without giving a crap about the customers actual problem. His work vehicle probably said some variation of Roto-Rooter or Bestline Plumbing on it also. People like that make us all look bad. I hope Rick is able to get the person in trouble.

                              I don't think the homeowner was innocent in this story either. It sounds like she had a working relationship with Rick already. She decided it was more important to get the leak fixed fast from a stranger then to wait and get it done correct.

                              She gambled and lost. It's a good thing for her Rick is more forgiving then I am in this situation.
                              Thanks. That's what I was trying to say and you put it in the best way.

                              J.C.

                              Comment

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