Always, always get an estimate!

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Book addict, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Book addict

    Book addict Banned

    I recently went away on a business trip and left my cousin and his wife to house sit while I was gone. After a couple days, I got a call that the air conditioner had gone off and there was a condensation fault on the thermostat. My cousin then reported that there was a pool of water on the floor near the trusty old Little Giant condensate pump. Of course I should have preventatively changed the pump some time ago but unfortunately I'm afflicted with the "if it ain't broke, leave it alone (cause you'll only make it worse!)" attitude.

    Since this didn't require any geothermal expertise, I told my cousin to call the plumber and while he was at it, to have the plumber replace the condensate pump on the other unit in my basement. I then decided to also throw in a request to clean the evaporator coil on one of the units in my attic. Might as well give the plumber a few things to do since none of them were time consuming and this would at least make it worthwhile for him.

    I told my cousin to get an estimate but I wasn't too worried about it because I had used this plumber for years and trusted him. My cousin called the next day to tell me that the plumber had been over and everything was done and the air was back on again. I then made the mistake of asking him what it had cost. His answer: $811.

    What? How could that be possible? I asked him to read me the bill and it was: evaporator coil cleaning $335.58 and $237.71 for each of the condensate pumps.

    The evaporator coil is a really small one -- it's 10 inches by 16 inches -- it's a very small Premiere 2 unit that serves only my master bedroom and bath. If that guy was addicted to cleaning coils, he couldn't possibly spend even 30 minutes at it because his body would have shut down from the contortion of the activity.

    Even worse was the charge for the condensate pumps. Changing one of these would be a good test for a prospective employee. Allowing them five minutes to disconnect the old pump and connect the new one would be generous.

    Since the pumps cost about $50 each and the cleaning fluid cost is negligible, this should have cost about $10o plus at most an hour of labor for the coil cleaning and an hour to replace both pumps.

    It turns out that the plumber had died and his son had taken over the business. When I came home I questioned him about his prices and he insisted it was the going rate. I asked him if he had graduated from the Wharton School of Business." He said he'd never heard of it. I told him that's where Trump had gone and his face lit up and he said, "Wow, that must be a really good school. Maybe I should look into it."

    I still haven't recovered from this misadventure!
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  2. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    LOL. ALWAYS ASK. People can charge what they want because people like your cousin doesn't know any better.

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