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I didn't sign a waiver!!

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  • 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...

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

    I gotta get some pix going..Name:  9eefee33df27dcbd05a79992eaf5a10c.jpg
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    The 1st pic is of a kitchen 3 X 2 wye from the building in question. The second pic is the bottom horizontal right after a solid plugged 90 in the next building over. The pipe plugged solid and there was no one in the 1st floor unit, so the water just kept pouring out of the sink for months. The unit had to be completely demoed. Let me see if I can post some of those pics..Name:  e197d6dc4575940663530c9fb32308c1.jpg
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    Last edited by richinflorida; 03-13-2014, 10:03 PM.

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

      They are something-for-nothing garbage people. I have no feeling for them at all. They are nothing.

      Anyone that's done this for 10 minutes knows that the world can fall apart without rhyme or reason the second you touch something. So they want you to put yourself in a 100% liability position and them in a zero liability position.....every time.

      The "board" wants to make rules, play by them. A 100% liability position is $1,000.00 to drive into the parking lot. EVERY TIME. Or they can sign a waiver absolving your company and you privately from absolutely anything for a reduced rate. It's the rules they want, so play them.

      Odds are you'll lose this client. Let them go. Anyone starting to act like this is right on the edge of trying to completely screw someone over. And you don't want to be that person. They'll get some other non-waivering person that will have something similar happen to them that happened to you.

      Then they'll want them to remediate 5 units to like new condition while paying for tenants to live somewhere else with a meal allowance.

      Make them sign a waiver for anything and/or pay on the next bill so much they lose their mind. You WANT to lose them. Fire them as customer.

      To he!! with them.

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

        Originally posted by richinflorida View Post
        I gotta get some pix going..Name:  9eefee33df27dcbd05a79992eaf5a10c.jpg
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        The 1st pic is of a kitchen 3 X 2 wye from the building in question. The second pic is the bottom horizontal right after a solid plugged 90 in the next building over. The pipe plugged solid and there was no one in the 1st floor unit, so the water just kept pouring out of the sink for months. The unit had to be completely demoed. Let me see if I can post some of those pics..Name:  e197d6dc4575940663530c9fb32308c1.jpg
Views: 2
Size:  407.7 KBName:  24ac9cb514497a05a1d4b99d308071b6.jpg
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        These pix are unbelievable !
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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

          They are so lucky to have You . Go elsewhere
          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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

            I would think that they would work with you as you've done all their stuff over the years. but at the same time, they're playing the legal card. trying to catch you on a technicality.


            I would try to work things out with them or your best contact there. if not you'll have to decide if you want to pursue it in small claims court.


            it's a pain in the ***, but sometimes all it takes is a court subpoena to get them to talk.


            took me 4 months to get an hoa agree to pay my medical bill and 3 hours of wages when their door fell off the hinges and clocked me in the head last November. they fought me over the dr's bill and 3 hours of lost wages. when in all honestly I lost a good week of work and 6 stitches to the head plus the pain and suffering. all I wanted was the dr's bill paid and 3 hours to cover my 2 dr's visits.


            the day I was paying for the small claims court, was the day they decided to pay me what I originally asked for. I had already filled out all the forms to sue 4 different parties for the 10,000 max in small claims.


            rick.
            phoebe it is

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

              Thanks Bob; they are already fired. I already let the property manager know we don't do business with them any longer. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm cutting him loose as well. Also, I filed a suit in small claims against them. This cost me just over $200, which I may get back if the judge rules in my favor. Major pita to do this, they're probably going to be surprised I bothered, because they have done this to others in the past. At this point, it's about principal, not money. Major league psd off, but not going to do something stupid. When I 1st started there, the property manager told me, "Yeah, XYZ plumbing did most of our work in the past, but we don't use them anymore. We're looking for a new plumber and a guy like you could do really well here! It's a goldmine!" Well, come to find out a few weeks later that XYZ plumbing won't come there anymore because of a money dispute with the board. I was naive and cocky thinking they got rid of XYZ because they must not be cutting the mustard, treating people right, not cleaning up.. I'll show them. It's been 5 years and I have made some money there. Most of the people there are great and I hate to lose them as customers, but a few of these get high and mighty with the power and, well.. I was having lunch at a Chinese buffet years ago. Old woman almost walked right into me because she was staring at her plate not wanting to spill any food. I noticed she went back up to the buffet at least 2 more times while I ate; impressive since she looked no more than 100 lbs!! I was at the front counter paying for my lunch when she walked straight up to the counter and slammed her hand down on the glass countertop and yelled at the two Chinese workers behind the counter helping me. "That was the worst buffet I've ever had and I refuse to pay for it!!!" With that, she walked right out the door! The manager took down her license and called the cops. I'm not trying to pile on older people, but you can't walk into a restaurant, stuff your face for half and hour, then tell them it sucks and refuse to pay. You can complain, you can ask for a free meal, you can tell the manager you won't come back, but you can't just not pay. My point? Not my fault you're pipes are over 40 and coming apart. Agreed to clean them because they desperately needed cleaning. Best part is, they're lamenting me jet the lines because of two faulty sections of pipe(nothing new) yet, I wonder if after a year goes by with no kitchen clogs, they will call and thank me...

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

                It is unfortunate but I do not think they will realize the value of your services until they have to call another plumbing company. You will have to threaten to file a mechanics lien to get paid, but I bet they pay up.

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