What the hell happened to it?
I'm a first-time homeowner and have started having problems around the
house that I'm not sure how to fix. I assumed I could call someone to
come out and fix at least some of them. Wrong!
I'm sure many of you read this in my previous post, but I called at
least a half-dozen pool service people before I finally had one even
take the time to return my call. This guy comes out the day before
our scheduled appointment when I'm not at home and now, mysteriously,
my pool is all jacked up and I still can't get someone out to fix it!
Three weeks and the only way I can filter my f*cking pool is by
running the spa! Since then, I've called two more people. One stood
me up on Saturday that I haven't heard from and another one today I'm
still waiting on for a call back. I'm not holding my breath.
I purchased a gas vented log set at Lowe's for almost 200 bucks only
to get home and find out that it must be "professionally installed".
This time I tried a website that boasted I would get several quotes
for the service requested. I posted exactly what I needed and have
had twelve plumbers review it without a single response. I did get
several brochures, however, in case I had other problems they wouldn't
Screw it, except for the chimney cleaning, I'll do the fireplace
myself. Neither chimney sweep in my area has returned my call.
I realize many businesses are busy and probably can't service my
requests, but for God's sake, at least provide me the courtesy of a
call back to tell me you can't do it right now and possibly recommend
someone who can.
Look back at the content and context of your messages or conversations you
have had with these repair services..
If you come off anything like you do here, then it's no wonder none of them
will call you back..
I know I'm a retired handy person and I wouldn't return your calls if you
sound anything like you sound here..
On the contrary, I'm quite polite on the telephone when I leave
messages. That's probably why I'm still sitting here calling people
as I hear about them instead of storming into their businesses and
making a scene. I use forums such as this to vent, as I'm sure at
least a few people reading this have felt the same way at times. Even
the jerk who (I think) screwed my pool up got this from me:
Beeeep, "Yes, this is WEZ calling about my pool. I'm having some
problems with my pool filter and was wondering if you may have made
any adjustments to my pump. Can you please give me a call at your
earliest convenience." My wife said I should have just told him to
come back over and fix it, but I really have no way of knowing if he
did something. Maybe it's just as simple as a blown fuse somewhere.
However, since I can't get anyone to look at it, I guess we'll never
With all due respect Steve, I feel Warren's pain. I've had very
little luck getting contractors to even come out and look at a job on
my house, much less quote me an estimate or call me back. And some of
these are pretty significantly sized jobs. I've had guys tell me
they'll get me estimates and they never call back. I call and ask and
they tell me they'll have it soon, and then I never hear from them
There are a seemingly huge number of contractors that are so loaded
with work these days with the housing boom, that they can have the
luxury of picking and choosing jobs. That's fine. I'd just like to
get a phone call.
Touchy, are we? ;-)
It might sometimes be in order to vent of on those picky contractors. But
no, we just call them, and _they_ are uncorteous, not customers. And even
if they're patient enogth to hear your through, they'll still never call
you back, you have to call them and bug them and plead and may be one out
of five will show up eventually. Of course, not on time.
There was this WH installer who I made appointment with between 1:00p.m.
and 5:00p.m. I'm rushing to the house to be there at 1:00, and I'm there,
and waiting, and waiting... And then I realize I have a missed call on my
cell. That's them! They've been there at 11:30. Why? Nobody knows why, the
person with whom I spoke two days ago is nowhere to be found, my appointment
shows in their schedule as 'between 11:00 and 2:00' and nobody was home so
they're gone and cannot come today no more. So, I make another appointment
'between 11:00 and 2:00' next day. But this time I'm wise! I already know!
I'm there since 9:00. And sure enough, at 9:45 I hear knock at the door...
There should be plenty of low-cost Mexican labor, now that Bush has
blessed them and opened the US-Mexican border. (Somehow that doesn't
make any sense with all the terrorist threats going on today, but hey
I didn't vote for the Shrub.) Most illegal aliens will work for a
fraction of what Americans expect and provide service with a smile.
On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 05:16:43 GMT, Warren Ezra
I feel your pain, I am trying to get estimates for a concrete driveway to
line it up for spring. I have called every concrete contractor in the book
and have had the same problem. I have called 8 places at this point, 3
people have came out and spend the time to review my property and what I
needed, and only one has gave me an estimate and that was on the phone. I
will most likely give him the job, even though his price may be high, but
just because he is only business person to show some respect. I guess next
time I see a concrete truck in the neighborhood I will just have to hijack
What at least happened to courtesy? At my job, when our potential customers
called we always return their call, but of course I guess that's why we are
the #1 printer in our region.
Oh yea, all of this reminds me I need to call the guy that came out 2 weeks
ago. He told me I would get my estimate in a couple of days. It must have
got lost in the mail, RIGHT?
This message was written on 100% recycled spam.
SAM >> samuelREMOVE firstname.lastname@example.org
I live in an inner-ring suburb and still have a water well. Nowdays all
the well contractors are situated out in the boonies since the metro
areas are all city water, right? This means I'm at the well contractors'
mercies, 'cause they don't want to be bothered to drive an hour or more
into the metro area to look at one home well.
One time, after tons of calls that got me no replies and no service, I
did have one guy actually show up. He went downstairs, took a look, and
just walked out laughing. No explanation, but clearly he couldn't be
bothered to do the job (replace the tank). By chance I found a well guy
who lived just a couple blocks from me, and he came over immediately
after work and looked at it. He was back the next day and fixed it, and
after the struggle just to get someone to show up, I _so_ appreciated
his service. Unfortunately he's now out of the well business, so when I
had to replace my pipes and pump this year I paid way too much to the
only contractor who'd agree to show up. I knew I was getting hosed, but
I also knew I couldn't do the job myself, so I didn't have much
I'd appreciate just being told, "Look, you're just a single homeowner
with a small job, and it's not worth our time. Try somebody else." Then
at least I wouldn't be waiting for a callback.
I had this with one electrician, and because of it I put off my planned
job, which was a service upgrade and lots of rewiring and interior work.
Then my home was hit by lightning several months later, which meant the
insurance covered the upgrade and some of the rewiring I'd planned to
have done. This time I found an electrician who showed up 20 minutes
after my first call, and started the job as soon as the insurance
adjuster had done his inspection.
Unfortunately, the electrician also spotted a problem with my well
repair job, and told me it wasn't up to code and that well contractors
aren't licensed to do electrical work anyhow. Idiot me, I'd just assumed
it was kosher since it seemed obvious to me that replacing wiring and
pumps is part of working on wells. After a nasty phone exchange with the
well company, I elected to pay the electrician to take care of it rather
than let the well company back into my house. I'm still wondering if I
should file a complaint with the plumbers board to try to get that
company's license pulled.
It seems, from your discription of the work you wanted done, an ordinary
plumber could have done that. I was a plumber for a few years and we worked
on just about any thing having to do with pipes, pressure tanks, water (and
It might be a different mater if the pump had to be pulled or serviced, but
everything from the well head on is just piping, etc.
My opinion and experience. FWIW
"Hell Toupee" < email@example.com> wrote in message
I'd called my regular plumber and one other in the area, and both told
me they didn't work on wells. Considering the effort needed to pull pipe
if you haven't got a winch truck to do it, I understand that decision
from the labor perspective, and if they haven't got much experience
diagnosing well issues they may not be inclined to bother with the
oh-so-occasional well repair call.
For instance, when I needed the pipe and pump replaced, I wasn't sure
what the problem was, and the well guy diagnosed it as a holed pipe,
which turned out to be correct. I had him replace the pump while he was
at it since it dated from 1969, so it was about due for replacement.
What the electrician got irate over was the rewiring the plumber did
along with the pump replacement, and the fact that he didn't encase the
wiring from the wellhead to where it joined a junction box. He lectured
me: plumbers don't wire up pools or spas, nor should they be doing
wiring on wells - they should do _only_ the plumbing and call the
electrician for the electrical stuff. I should have thought that
through, but instead assumed plumbers dba well contractors were licensed
for both. When the company refused to come out and encase the 4 feet of
wire as required by code unless I paid them still more money, I decided
I'd rather not force the issue just to have a resentful guy show up and
do a horseshit job. So I had the electrician do it, and learned my
lesson. The lessons I pay for are the ones I learn the best.
On Tue, 13 Jan 2004 10:11:06 -0500, "Samuel Warren"
Here's the other side of your coin:
I'm a renovations contractor, basements, kitchens and baths.
I land two out of three jobs I estimate on, if the customer was
referred to me by a previous client. But I land only one out of
thirteen jobs with people who call off my ads.
I try to screen out as many timewasters as I can on the phone ... they
can usually tell me enough about what they want that I can give them a
ballpark number, a range over the phone. Then I tell them if that's a
range they're comfortable with, I'd be happy to come out and give them
a firm price.
Even so, I wind up visiting four homes, spending an hour or two with
the people, anywhere from another hour to six hours working out a
firm price, for every job I get. As to the other three, one I've
discarded as someone I don't care to work for, and the other two --
And that's the killer -- I find that when I follow up -- I like to
know why the job either didn't go ahead or went to someone else, nine
out of ten won't return my phone call. These people are happy to
have me drive out to their home and spend a good part of a day
working out a plan and a price, but they don't have the courtesy or
the two minutes to tell me what's happened with their job.
One woman called for 15 estimates to develop her basement (neighbour
told me as I was leaving), another wanted a detailed estimate so
she'd know how much to pay her brother in law, and many, I suspect,
were just looking for professional advice so they could DIY.
All this is, unfortunately, part of the financial and psychological
cost of doing business. I don't like it, but I don't like the price
of lumber and drywall either.
I like to think that I treat people well and fairly, but there are
phone calls I don't return -- mostly those that start with "I'd like
you to give me a bid ..." or "I'd like you to come out and quote us
And there are people whose homes I visit and do not give an estimate
to -- usually because I've decided I don't want them as clients.
I don't do it often ... usually I do followup -- even with people I
choose not to work for -- but there are times I treat people as badly
as the contractors you complain about.
I hope there are no times when you treat contractors as badly as the
people I complain about.
On Wed, 14 Jan 2004 03:41:54 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
This is interesting. I would love to tell all the contractors who
give me prices what my final decision was, but none have followed up
to ask me, so you are unusual in my experience. I have considered
calling a couple of contractors I liked very much, but who were too
expensive just to let them know that they had priced themselves out of
my budget. And no, I wouldn't be interested in negotiating the price
if I'd already found another good contractor who had priced the job
right in the first place, but I would be interested in letting the
"rejected" contractor know what happened.
First issue...plumbers dont run gas lines normally...at least not in the two
states I have been licenced in as a contractor.
Gas log installs are something that either a licenced gas fitter, or hvac
company can and do run, and personally, its not a big deal..we run about 4 a
week this time of year and they are normally pretty quick and simple, unless
a permit has to be pulled for the gas line.
I can understand your frustration.
I've lived in the Baltimore area for ten years. Around here, combining
incompetence with poor customer service seems to be an art form. About 25
years ago, I supported my family for a couple years as a jack-of-all-trades
handyman, so I can understand that occasionally a job runs overtime and you
have to cancel an appointment or something goes wrong and needs a second
look, but I always kept my customer informed as to what was going on.
What amazes me around here is that it is a rare day when a service call is
done right the first time. For example, my oil-fired water heater kept
shutting off because of air in the pump. The repair experts from our oil
supply company came out three times, each time trying something different;
check valve, synchronizing switch with the oil furnace, etc. Each time, it
failed again after a couple weeks. Finally, I checked the line myself and
found a split compression fitting way back on the feed line; I replaced it
and have had no problems since.
That's why I post here so frequently, asking about obscure appliance parts
or repair techniques; it's much easier to fix it myself than waste time with
the professional repairmen.
Well, Warren, here's a true story that may brighten your day a bit.
In the fall of 2002 I called a furnace sales/service shop to request fall
maintenance on my oil burner. I got an answering machine and left a
detailed message with call-back number. I never heard back, and my furnace
seemed to hold up okay for the long winter.
In March 2003 I called the same shop and repeated my request, but with an
edge. I mentioned I had called in October and was wondering if they planned
on getting back to me before the turn of the next century. Approximately
two weeks later they returned my call and whined about how busy they were,
but promised to send someone out, which they did.
Their service-man spent SIX HOURS cleaning my furnace before he strolled
upstairs and informed me that my furnace was "shot" and that I'd need a new
one. I was quite skeptical, but I'm no expert, so I asked for a bid. He
looked things over and said he'd submit a written bid (my request) in a
Well, here we are in February 2004, and I'm still waiting to hear back from
him. No bid...not even an invoice for the six hours labor on my furnace.
I did, however, contact one of his competitors in April of 2003 and
purchased and had installed not only a new furnace but central air.
If I ever DO receive an invoice from the other guy, I'll tell him I'll send
payment "in a couple days."
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