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Did I get raped by my plumber - figuratively?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by swoosh81
    Where do you guys come off basically telling him he got ripped off. I f he paid it then fine end of story. Laymens terms (You screw me once, shame on you you screw me twice shame on me)
    swoosh81, he asked our opinion. we as professionals in the plumbing contracting business for 25+ years myself, (mark even longer) gave our opinion as njcardsfan had asked.
    over the last 10 years there has been a big push in flat rate pricing. most of us are on the same page here. we don't use it and the contractors that do use it base their hourly at 2-3 times the going hourly rate. the contractor did not even give him an estimate or price. no change order. all of which is against the laws of contracting here in calif. if this ends up in court, a judge would cut this in half, no questions asked. the state contractors board would probably cite the contractor. we are required to either have a change order on the original contract or give a price that stipulates the charges. then there is a 3 day period the owner can renig on the contract unless he signs his rights away as in an emergency. none of which was done.

    i for one don't get into this situation as most of my work is time and materials or a contract price based upon a reasonable estimate of actual materials and labor.

    not sure if you as electricians are the same, but this has come up many times here in the plumbing forums.

    rick.
    Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 03-18-2006, 12:54 AM.
    phoebe it is

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    • #17
      " He told me that their overhead is high citing the liability insurance. "

      His insurance costs are high in part because of the way he works. Poor quality work and a poor safety record will bump up the price of his insurance just as it does insurance for doctors.

      Telephone quotes are always the most accurate right?

      " He said it was a hard job and he has a lot of expertise. "

      So hard that his dad felt he should double the labor rate?

      Expertise; that's the part where he doesn't break any of your existing work while installing the new stuff right? And if he does, he takes some responsibility for his actions. Were they even working on this stack, making a tie-in or moving it? From your description I am led to believe that it was damaged while they were working in the vicinity of the stack and not working directly on it?

      Oh yeah, expertise also includes being able to figure your own estimates I think.

      When you are forced to bid a job you don't really want, you give it a number so high you think you will be excluded. Sometimes you end up with the job anyway, then you just have to bear it and get the job done whilst you stuff all that extra cash in your pockets.
      "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)

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      • #18
        Well, speaking as a consumer, it doesn't make any difference whether the bill is paid or not. It's sort of like either catching the thief in the act of stealing vs catching him excaping from the scene with goods in hand. The consensus here on this forum, with it's many professionals, is that the bill was overcharged. The contractor's reason given as "expertice" is really nothing more than a flippant excuse because his exobitant bill was questioned. If the guy had announced before hand, that he hates doing that kind of work, there were too many unknowns, and/or he was just **issed off because he was faced with it and thus was going to charge a premium, then the owner knew up front and could have made a choice. As it was, the job was done and the bill was levied. So, a discussion should be in order and if he doesn't want to be fair, then I think I would be talking to whoever, about his business practices; even if that meant reporting him to the Better Business Bureau or a claims advocate.

        While my experience with the majority of people in the contract business has been pretty good, there are those occasional profiteers who seem all too willing to give the whole industry a bad reputation.

        CWS
        Last edited by CWSmith; 03-18-2006, 01:51 PM.

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        • #19
          I think there's some retribution here because I chose not to use his father to provide an HVAC solution to my attic renovation. That may be key to this pricing.

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          • #20
            And now; for the rest of the story...

            The other shoe has dropped.
            "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)

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            • #21
              I have another question: This break in the 4" pipe definitely occurred due to the other work done on the plumbing in the house renovation. The pipe was original, i.e. 1920s, so it obviously was going to go sometime. However, it wouldn't have gone on its own. Is the plumber or general contractor liable for that break which is going to cost me $3,600 ($1,600 for plumbing and $2,000 for a ceiling)? Or is their liability insurance supposed to cover this in any way. I want to be fair and I'm not looking to fleece anyone but if this kind of thing is covered by someone's insurance I'd certainly want to take advantage of it. If it's not, I'll just bite this big bullet.

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              • #22
                i would like to know the answer to that myself if the pipe was 80-90 years old how would the courts see it if this goes that far
                9/11/01, never forget.

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                • #23
                  I don't intend to bring this to court but if the question should be asked of my contractor or plumber I will. It's all very delicate, of course, because you never want to get in a pissing match with your GC in the middle of a renovation.

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                  • #24
                    It sounds like the pipe had served its useful purpose and it was time to replace it. If anything it was a blessing to fail now before you were done with your renovation. If it was my home I think I would have replaced all of the 80-year old pipe anyways. The piece the plumber replaced was one section of many which is likely ready to be replace.

                    Mark

                    BTW: While I am not a Lawyer I have worked as a consultant (Expert Witness) for construction litigation related to plumbing and mechanical issues for the last 18+ years. In my opinion it does not sound like anything the Plumber or the GC did contributed to the failure of the pipe.
                    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

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

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                    • #25
                      Thank ToUtah. I didn't intend to ever bring it to court. But now I won't even suggest it to the GC. Do you have an opinion about the $1600 price? Would you just chalk it up to a bad learning experience or would you pursue the plumber in some way?

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                      • #26
                        I would ask for a break down of the charges in the repair bill. In addition, I would not permit them to do any more extras without a written proposal. The only reason to not provide a written proposal is because you can't justify your prices. If they tell you their labor rate is $150.00 an hour you will know for next time but there is not much you can do this time.

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

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

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by njcardsfan
                          The pipe broke during the renovation. It was corroded. I'm sure all the banging broke it.
                          I'm not doing plumbing anymore but if I'm on a job and working on something and something brakes down the line from were i was working do to me shaking or banging it we would fix it at no charge. even if the system was 100yrs old .thats what you get into when you do renovation work .

                          we can make up the loss with a good referral from that person telling others that we fixed this and did not try to rape them.

                          a good referral is the best advertisement you can have !!!
                          Charlie

                          My seek the peek fundraiser page
                          http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


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                          new work pictures 12/09
                          http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by HVAC HAWK

                            a good referral is the best advertisement you can have !!!
                            my motto too. i've never advertised and don't need to work for total strangers

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

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                            • #29
                              Hawk,

                              I understand what you are saying but there is a big difference between repairing a break and replacing a stack. Neither of us know enough about the job to be too reaching in our statements. It is possible the brake could have been repaired but the plumber felt the condition of the rest of the pipe was such it should be replaced. In addition, donating a days labor on a job which you have estimated 20-hours on is different than on a job where you have estimated 200-hours on.

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

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

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                              • #30
                                Call your home owners insurance, and have them look into it, they may cover the ceiling damage, and possibly even the pipe replacement, It only going to cost you the phone call to find out.
                                Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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