Expensive Plumber-Tell me if this isn't ridiculous

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Hello all,
I had a plumber come out this weekend because I was getting some vibrating noises in the pipes. I thought it was caused by a faulty toilet (ballcock, intake tube) and air was getting in the pipes, but wanted to be sure.
Anyway, he came out, and yes, he said that was what is causing the pipe noise. He said I need a new ballcock, and needed to replace the toilet emergency shut off valve because it was leaky. Fine.
Total charge=$400.00.
I told him "no thanks" and went to Home Depot, picked up about $20.00 worth of materials, and fixed it in about a half-hour or so. I could buy a couple of brand new toilets for $400.00.
$400.00 dollars for a ballcock and valve installation. Crazy?
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If you knew what the problem was in the first place, why did you even waste your time calling in the plumber? seems to me even though you didn't pay the guy, his expertise was of some value to you.
perhaps a consulting fee should be paid to him next time, its things like this that result in 100 dollar fees just to walk thru the door.
Dave
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Do you think $400 was a fair price? The OP stated why he called a plumber. The fact that the plumber was going to screw him is a good reason to say "no". Fair price would have been about $100, not $400. Perhaps at $80 to $100 he would have gotten the job. Yes, he may have gotten some value from the expertise, but the quote is outrageous.
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Thanks Edwin, I'm glad you understood my point, unlike Zephyr. Yes, maybe he would've gotten my business if the charge was a more reasonable $100.00.
If I take my car in the shop, and the mechanic says I need new brakes and he'll put them on, for say, $2,000.00, then I should let him just just because he told me what is wrong with it? Yes I should by your logic Zephyr, which makes absolutely no sense. There is such a thing as a free estimate, maybe you've heard of it. Someone tells you what is wrong, for no charge, and if you like the price, you go with it.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

That's not really a free estimate...it's just factored into the hourly rate of the jobs he does get.
Chris
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Okay, your right, I'm a moron. why don't you post the plumbers name so that all can be protected from his evil ripoff scheme.
Dave
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There are garage door outfits that operate the same way. They advertise cheap or free estimates and then they want $1000 to change some of the hardware on the door. I threw the guy out and had a new door installed for $600.
wrote:

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As long as the mechanic, plumber whatever clearly understands he is going to be giving an estimate before he wastes his time thinking he has a paying job.
Harry K
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This company did "up-front pricing" which was good. They do this to give the homeowner a chance to say yes or no to the job up-front. I didn't like the price, felt it was extravagant, and he gave me an estimate with no problems.
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For openers, the idiot called out a plumber on the WEEKEND for a non-emergency. $400 seems very fair. I guess it might depend on where you live. Around here, they would charge at least $200 just to show up. They would tell you this in advance, of course.
CWM
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Well, I was trying to be nice and not mention what I really thought of you. You stated you already knew what was needed before you ever called the plumber. You just called him to "make sure" of your diagnosis, with no intention of ever paying him a dime. You, sir, are a LEECH, a LIAR, and essentially a crook.
CWM
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Again, with the reading comprehension. Please re-read my posts before you post. I thought I knew what was wrong with it. Wanted to be sure. Had my checkbook ready because I called him out there to fix the problem and was planning on paying him until he dropped that ridiculous quote on me. Again, a more reasonable quote and he would've gotten my business. I had EVERY intention of paying him. So let me get this straight. If I call someone out to fix something, and get quoted an outrageous charge, it's not ok to look elsewhere or just try to fix it myself? I have to pay him or I am a crook?
I asked a master plumber friend of mine what I should have been charged. He said maybe $125.00-$150.00 MAX. I think that's reasonable. My friend does not live close by which is why I didn't ask him to take a look at it.
I guess I'm a bad guy for not paying such an insanely high quote/ rate? You make no sense whatsover. Keep letting people take advantage of you. I know plumbers/electricians etc are expensive, but come on.
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On 10 Apr 2007 08:45:40 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com"

PLONK!
CWM
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This reminds me of the cell phone commercial where the mobsters meet the network geeks at the docks.
"Youse guys get signals out here?" ............ and they're all buddies.
Two things:
YOU GOT A PLUMBER TO COME OUT ON A WEEKEND! You need to seek some high level corporate job with those skills.
He didn't stick you. He told you what was wrong, and didn't charge you, right? He was at least honest because probably 95% of the people he tells that to will run to HD and do it themselves.
He still makes good bucks at the ones who will pay the $400.
Now, if you paid him $400, that's another thread.
Steve
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wrote:

I missed the part about the weekend. I wouldn't even try to get someone on a weekend for mere noises. Drowning, maybe.

It sounded that way to me, but I'm not sure.

Maybe he thought it also had to be done on the weekend. And indeed it did have to be, or he'd have to make a second trip.
Double time for weekends puts it at up to 200, iiuc, Edwin.

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A woman at work decided to replace the gut of her toilet on a Saturday. She ran into a problem with the shut-off valve and had to call a plumber. She called Roto Rooter and paid $90 . This was in central Mass just a couple of weeks ago. I thought that was reasonable.
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wrote:

Definitely.
I was trying to find reasons for the high charge.
Your story speaks well for roto-rooter. I hope I never need them. :)
My only weekend story involves a dentist. In NYC, Manhattan, I went with my girl friend years ago to see friends of hers, that I knew too.
It was Sunday afternoon and the woman had a tooth ache, which she had had since Friday night or Saturday morning. She was in a lot of pain, even with aspirin or tylenol or something, but it didn't occur to anyone to call a dentist. She was going to wait until Monday to call her regular dentist. If you look in the NYC yellow pages there were about 6 dentists in Manhattan alone that mentioned emergency weekend appointments. Actually, I think the first 4 or 5 said they didn't do it anymore, or they had a recording or a service that said that, but the last one met her at his office in 20 minutes, fixed her up and didn't seem to charge more than 50% more than anyone would, maybe less, and they weren't poor so the money was no problem. In some cases this would have been a temporary fix, needing another appointment, but I think that would have been true even if her dentist squeezed her in.
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Surprised me. I always thought, they'd be on the high side with all the franchise fees etc. I don't know if that is typical of them or how well they are controlled by Roto Rooter corporate. Just getting someone out on a Saturday is a feat. .
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Around here it's more like: "Just getting someone to show up is a feat" (irregardles of the day of the week).
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Way too much unless you are in NYC or some other crazy market in which case I would say check with other plumbers in the same area.
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