Plumbing rant

RANT/ Woke up to cold water this morning and went to see if the gas water heater was working, it wasn’t (duh). Upon trying to restart the pilot light a couple of times I called a plumber. The guy arrived in fancy/schmancy van with signage all over it, proceeded to tell me that my five year old water heater was “rough” and then tried to sell me a $2500 tankless water heater which I told him three times I wasn’t buying. I had googled possible problems with the heater before calling and determined it was a thermocouple that had failed, a $20 part at the most. I got ripped off for $49 call just to come out and $189 to put a $20 part the guy had to go buy at HOme Depot in. It took him less than 5 minutes from start to finish. He spent more time trying to get me to buy their service plan and that stupid tankless unit than actually working. If I felt easier working with gas I would have bought the part myself and put it in. I guess I probably should have. Now I have a $250 water heater repair for my Christmas present, wee hoo! :grrr: /RANT

that stinks…I’m sorry to hear that… it seems like this time of year usually unexpected things happen…:hug:

I’m sorry!! I hate getting ripped off! You sound like me - I will usually attempt to fix things myself, but some things (like gas), just aren’t safe to fiddle with. Hope it gets better for you!!

I’m sorry you got stuck with an unexpected expense. But if I may give a viewpoint from the other side…

My DH is a contractor, and he has to deal with customers thinking he’s ripping them off all the time. Your plumber’s pushy and unethical sales tactics aside, you actually were charged a fair rate for the work that was done. He didn’t just spend 5 minutes on your job. There is the gasoline and time he spent going to your home, to Home Depot, shopping and standing in line at the store, back to your home, and back to the office.

Then there are all kinds of hidden overhead: liability and worker comp insurances (both extremely expensive for contractors, it being a potentially dangerous industry), phone bills, employer portion payroll taxes, contractor license fees, materials sometimes costing way more than a customer realizes, bookkeeping, advertising, and more.

A significant part of DH’s work is spent driving all over (time and fuel) to look at potential jobs, driving back to the office, calculating out an estimate price (can take a significant amount of time for bigger jobs), and sending out free estimates. After all that effort, there’s no guarantee of actually getting the job, and many times he doesn’t.

Just thought I’d mention these things so maybe you won’t feel so ripped off. :hug:

Stitchwitch:hug: what a horrible start to your day! I hope it got better!

dmknits, Thanks! I had honestly never thought of it that way. It really makes a lot more sense to me now. Next time I have a service person here I won’t feel quite so ripped off.

Back when I was in the tv repair business and a customer complained about the charges I would always tell them this little story.

A man’s tv was acting up, the picture was all skewed. He called for a repairman. The repairman walked in, looked at the picture, opened his tool box and took out a small hammer.

He gave the tv a small tap on the side with the hammer and the picture immediately cleared up good as new.

He then handed the man a bill for $100. The man exclaimed “A hundred bucks for tapping on the side with a hammer?! I could have done that!”

The repairman calmy told him “Yes, sir that’s true. To be honest I’m only charging you $5 for the tap. The other $95 is for knowing where to tap”

The man paid the bill.

I figured I’d probably skeeve someone for ranting about that. I still think that $189 plus $49 service call, plus $12 gas surcharge and $7 environmental fee is ridiculous for something that took him 5 minutes to replace and that he should have had on the truck to begin with but that’s just me. If he hadn’t had to leave with me a logo note pad, a logo magnet and some other high gloss printed paraphenalia with their logo on it he could have lowered his price dramatically. I don’t think for a minute he got that fancy vinyl graphic covered van for nothin’. :teehee: Gotta find a way to pay for that.

That’s why I do all my own repairs. I don’t have a fancy van to pay for.

If I would have known it was so easy and that I wouldn’t have blown the neighborhood up I would have done it. :roflhard: I think that is mainly my problem, it’s not the plumber’s fault, it’s mine because I usually do my own stuff. I can’t fault the guy for charging alot for stuff that others don’t know or don’t want to do. I’m more mad at myself for not taking on the challenge.

Well don’t beat yourself up over it. When it comes to electricity or gas, ignorance is not bliss. If you don’t know what you’re doing it’s best to leave it to those who do. Otherwise the results could be deadly.

Well I for one commend you for figuring out what the problem was ahead of time and not getting pushed into spending big bucks for something you didn’t need.

And considering that you had to repeatedly insist that you didn’t want what he was selling, I think you’ve got a perfect right to complain about the guy!\

An awful way to have to spend money this close to Christmas!

If it makes you feel any better… at least it wasn’t the furnace, about 2:30 am on a Sunday, and only 23 degrees outside… I was really miffed at the time when I saw the $200.00 emergency call fee.