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I didn't sign a waiver!!

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  • I didn't sign a waiver!!

    [SIZE="2"]So I've posted in the past about these 3 old condo buildings on the beach that I've been working for about 5 years now(since I started my business). They are the same and were finished around 1970. I've done many repairs, replacements, remodels, and normal fixes that come with time, but they have really had two big problems with plumbing. The first and worst is the 40+ cast iron is cracking and leaking all over the place. Very simple plumbing, small units. 4" main goes up 6 stories. At each unit, 4 X 3 wye picks up two bathrooms, goes through the floor, 3 x 2 reducer, picks up both lavs, back to stack to vent. The kitchens have dedicated stacks; they have needed repair, but not nearly as bad as the 4" mains and for some reason, the shower drains go.. Have yet to replace a tub drain. The second major problem is the kitchen lines are packed with grease. They go up 3", 3 x 2 wye picks up two units by means of a san T with inlets at 90 to each other. Many times, I wind up billing the unit owners for opening the lines, but the mains are so packed with grease and scale, you're just making a temporary hole until a tenant decided to use a disposer as a trash can, then it's plugged again. I've done jetting jobs on the kitchens stacks very successfully. Access is a pain. I have to crawl under the building, unband the cast at the bottom, then send the jetter straight up and "make it rain". I learned to use Tyvek suits after the first time. You guys can guess what kind of solid, black, chunky, rusty, fill in the blank comes out of those pipes!! I let it rip right into the sand as putting that into their old main(whose supports rusted and dropped the pipe into the sand) would only cause a different problem. Magically, once this is done, the drain calls for the cleaned stack seem to disappear.. AND, mind you, that's knowing that I can not steer the jetter nozzle into all the 2" that feed the 3". So far, I've been unsuccessful getting a jet nozzle to make the turns and go down the san T from the threaded copper connection. The thing is, the stack is the condo associations bill, so only they can approve of a stack cleaning. In December, I got called 2 times to a building for kitchen blocks. The second call, I asked if they wanted me to jet it or cable it. They knew how bad the stacks are and tired of calling drain cleaners, so they had me jet it. I sent the property manager a proposal to jet the others. I let them know I can give a better price by just doing them in one day rather than calling me out to the beach, set up, etc.for each one. End of January, another kitchen call, not the stack I cleaned. I spoke to the rep of the board about what he wanted to do. Said he never got my proposal, and what would it cost to do the other 5 stacks. Keep in mind, I've known this guy for years, he's watched me pull out many a pipe and amazed at what I can do with the jetter. He makes a few calls and gets back to me. Do the building. Sweet $$, but tough job. I managed to get the rest of the building in one long day, but I was wasted when it was over. Sore, tired, clothes headed for the trash even with the suits. I'm just getting ready to head for my truck when one tenant on a 1st floor unit says he's got water on his floor. I thought he was being petty about some blow back, but when I checked the unit, there was telltale black water under a laminate floor and some in the kitchen. This wasn't blow back or a loose trap, there was a crack or hole in the line. Surprise surprise. I let the guy know that he needs to get a cleanup service in there right away; they make many trips to these buildings. I made sure he called, not me. Then, the board rep walks in, looks at the floor and starts acting funny. "Who's going to pay for this?" I let him know up front, not me. He looks at me and says, "I never signed a waiver; if you asked me to sign a waiver, I wouldn't have signed it and let you do the job." Really? As soon as things went bad, he played dumb. Had no clue this could happen. Watched me pull tons of broken pipes out of the walls and paid thousands to fix it. Loved the jetter and how clean it got the pipes, but when he saw water on the floor... I didn't sign a waiver. I kept cool and left with a point to come back 1st thing next day(a Saturday). Opened the kitchen chase on the 1st floor and found three broken bands and a hole in the 3" just past the 1st 45. Fixed that, but water was still coming from above.(This is how all these stacks there are; you fix one section, it's leaking above you now). Opened the 2nd and 3rd floor. 3rd is dry and tight, the 2nd floor has a hole at the top. Pulled out a whole 6' section. Dry again, tight until..??? I sent them 2 bills, one for the cleaning and the other for the stack repair. I only charged them $750 to fix the stack. Had to make phone calls and emails to get paid on this. Finally, the envelope comes! The big check to clean the stacks and a letter: Dear Rich: We are in receipt of your invoice for the kitchen repair, etc, etc. that started to leak after the 5 stacks were jet cleaned. No waiver was presented to the board before you started to clean the stacks, if a waiver had been presented, in all likelihood we would not have proceeded in the cleaning of the remaining 5 stacks. The consensus of the board of ..... is to not pay this invoice.... What do you think of that? Has this ever happened to you? Do you ask customers to sign invoices? I'll try to attach pix of some of their kitchen stack pipes..
    Attached Files
    Last edited by richinflorida; 03-13-2014, 09:46 PM.

  • #2
    Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

    So I've posted in the past about these 3 old condo buildings on the beach that I've been working for about 5 years now(since I started my business). They are the same and were finished around 1970. I've done many repairs, replacements, remodels, and normal fixes that come with time, but they have really had two big problems with plumbing.

    The first and worst is the 40+ cast iron is cracking and leaking all over the place. Very simple plumbing, small units. 4" main goes up 6 stories. At each unit, 4 X 3 wye picks up two bathrooms, goes through the floor, 3 x 2 reducer, picks up both lavs, back to stack to vent. The kitchens have dedicated stacks; they have needed repair, but not nearly as bad as the 4" mains and for some reason, the shower drains go..

    Have yet to replace a tub drain. The second major problem is the kitchen lines are packed with grease. They go up 3", 3 x 2 wye picks up two units by means of a san T with inlets at 90 to each other. Many times, I wind up billing the unit owners for opening the lines, but the mains are so packed with grease and scale, you're just making a temporary hole until a tenant decided to use a disposer as a trash can, then it's plugged again.

    I've done jetting jobs on the kitchens stacks very successfully. Access is a pain. I have to crawl under the building, unband the cast at the bottom, then send the jetter straight up and "make it rain". I learned to use Tyvek suits after the first time. You guys can guess what kind of solid, black, chunky, rusty, fill in the blank comes out of those pipes!! I let it rip right into the sand as putting that into their old main(whose supports rusted and dropped the pipe into the sand) would only cause a different problem.

    Magically, once this is done, the drain calls for the cleaned stack seem to disappear.. AND, mind you, that's knowing that I can not steer the jetter nozzle into all the 2" that feed the 3". So far, I've been unsuccessful getting a jet nozzle to make the turns and go down the san T from the threaded copper connection. The thing is, the stack is the condo associations bill, so only they can approve of a stack cleaning. In December, I got called 2 times to a building for kitchen blocks. The second call, I asked if they wanted me to jet it or cable it. They knew how bad the stacks are and tired of calling drain cleaners, so they had me jet it.

    I sent the property manager a proposal to jet the others. I let them know I can give a better price by just doing them in one day rather than calling me out to the beach, set up, etc.for each one. End of January, another kitchen call, not the stack I cleaned. I spoke to the rep of the board about what he wanted to do. Said he never got my proposal, and what would it cost to do the other 5 stacks. Keep in mind, I've known this guy for years, he's watched me pull out many a pipe and amazed at what I can do with the jetter.

    He makes a few calls and gets back to me. Do the building. Sweet $$, but tough job. I managed to get the rest of the building in one long day, but I was wasted when it was over. Sore, tired, clothes headed for the trash even with the suits. I'm just getting ready to head for my truck when one tenant on a 1st floor unit says he's got water on his floor. I thought he was being petty about some blow back, but when I checked the unit, there was telltale black water under a laminate floor and some in the kitchen. This wasn't blow back or a loose trap, there was a crack or hole in the line.

    Surprise surprise. I let the guy know that he needs to get a cleanup service in there right away; they make many trips to these buildings. I made sure he called, not me. Then, the board rep walks in, looks at the floor and starts acting funny. "Who's going to pay for this?" I let him know up front, not me. He looks at me and says, "I never signed a waiver; if you asked me to sign a waiver, I wouldn't have signed it and let you do the job."

    Really? As soon as things went bad, he played dumb. Had no clue this could happen. Watched me pull tons of broken pipes out of the walls and paid thousands to fix it. Loved the jetter and how clean it got the pipes, but when he saw water on the floor... I didn't sign a waiver.

    I kept cool and left with a point to come back 1st thing next day(a Saturday). Opened the kitchen chase on the 1st floor and found three broken bands and a hole in the 3" just past the 1st 45. Fixed that, but water was still coming from above.(This is how all these stacks there are; you fix one section, it's leaking above you now).

    Opened the 2nd and 3rd floor. 3rd is dry and tight, the 2nd floor has a hole at the top. Pulled out a whole 6' section. Dry again, tight until..??? I sent them 2 bills, one for the cleaning and the other for the stack repair. I only charged them $750 to fix the stack. Had to make phone calls and emails to get paid on this. Finally, the envelope comes!

    The big check to clean the stacks and a letter: Dear Rich: We are in receipt of your invoice for the kitchen repair, etc, etc. that started to leak after the 5 stacks were jet cleaned. No waiver was presented to the board before you started to clean the stacks, if a waiver had been presented, in all likelihood we would not have proceeded in the cleaning of the remaining 5 stacks. The consensus of the board of ..... is to not pay this invoice.... What do you think of that?

    Has this ever happened to you? Do you ask customers to sign invoices? I'll try to attach pix of some of their kitchen stack pipes..
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

      Sorry Rich, sounds like a bad day....just had to add some spacing in there to make it easier to read. wow that really sucks. Have they ever received a waiver from your jetting before?
      Buy cheap, buy twice.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

        thanks for the white space Ben. Makes it so much easier to read.
        "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
        John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

          Get a signature has been my answer to problems like this. Those would be my problems, I mean, after going through similar situations.

          David

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

            Sounds like you have some real pieces of trash there Rich. Amazing how this is becoming more and more common. What is even more amazing is that they treat us with ultimate disrespect and think because we do what we do we are stupid. WHAT a total a-hole this guy is. Send the bill to the debt collectors and dump him quick. Move on because it isn't going to get better next time.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

              Old buildings get high plumbing Bills they need to get use to it

              Hop you get your money and forget about that guy

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

                I know it's hard to read; that's why it's posted twice. I tried to fix it and somehow made 2 copies! No, I've never had them or anyone sign a waiver. Even if I did, I could still be in the same boat, unpaid. They will be served any day with my small claims suit which cost over $200 to file. Del, as far as the pipes go, this has been going on for years; even before I took over. The guy who authorized me to do the work from the board and who I've known for years.... His daughter is a lawyer.. He thinks he's a lawyer now as well. As far as property management in general goes, I'm going to refuse any work without a contract. There can always be disagreements about money, but without anything in writing, it's much worse. That said, this is one area I don't enjoy about being in business: chasing down money. It's part of life, but I'd rather be under the building pulling tons of grease from the pipes knowing I'm going to be compensated for it. You're right, it won't get better. Even if they sent a check today and apologized, they have broken a trust and I don't have time for these games! Thanks for your support!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

                  I have never once had a waiver signed. I don't advise it's the right way, I just don't. And I haven't had any problems yet.
                  A verbal is as good as a signed but proof is harder.
                  With that said an intelligent person can usually ascertain who is lying. So if you need to go to small claims your chances are better.
                  I just look them in the eye and make sure they are looking back and tell them the pipes could fail. For me that's always been good enough.
                  I personally don't like to get involved in the legal mumbo jumbo game. To me it detracts from a more personal relationship.
                  There are pros and cons to every way of doing business. And no way is perfect for all scenarios. And to me if you have EVERYONE sign waivers before you work you will sully the waters for future work with some of those.
                  If you do at times are getting the ebey jebies, than have them sign a waiver that also states they have to cover your legal costs.
                  Of course I like my way the best. Lol

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

                    After reading this yesterday it made me start thinking about a lady we billed for a 4 1/2 hour New Years eve
                    drain cleaning

                    She couldn't pay that day ,says I will pay you ....day 2 bills sent no response , I call her phone no answer

                    By chance We had a call close to her house yesterday I stopped and put a business card in the door, to let her know im still working on getting my money

                    1 hr later her daughter calls she found the card in the door and new her mom had called about their drains
                    5 hr later she dropped off a check

                    So don't give up Rich maybe they will come around !
                    It's not your fault the goop you cleaned out of the pipe was the only thing keeping the water from coming out the hole .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: I didn't sign a waiver!!

                      Thanks, Del. That about sums up what happened quite well; the thick layer of grease may have kept the leaks from being noticed. It's funny because when I've done remodel or repair work and opened the sheetrock there, the property manager and owners are always stunned at the condition of the waste piping when they see it. Broken NH bands, rusty drip marks on the pipes. I explain to them that yes, they were leaking; that there are a ton of minor leaks going on for a long time behind these walls. Nobody knows or complains about it until the pipe cracks wide open and grandma's carpet squishes under her feet on the way to the kitchen! When the leaks are small, they drip, they dry, no one is the wiser. I'm tracking the case and they have been served. I may get paid before court, or I may win in court and get the money, but lots of wasted time chasing it down. Most of the time, I have no problem getting paid, and if I get the vibe that could be a problem, I won't do the work. I've turned down more than a few jobs for various reasons. Mark's avatar is spot on.. "I never lost a dime on the jobs I didn't get"

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