I hired an electrician from the yellow pages to replace a faulty Ground
Fault Circuit Interruptor (GFCI) in the garage, and install two new ones in
the kitchen to bring it up to code.
The guy charged me $261 per GFCI, for a total of $783. He spent an hour to
do the job. I told him before I signed the work authorization that this
seemed expensive and asked about a discount but he just frowned. Is this
really a fair price?
Their yellow page ad reads "reasonable prices" and "complete professional &
reliable service" with "30 years experience!!"
I don't think someone who has 30 years of professional experience would say
that $783 is "reasonable" for installing three GFCI outlets, with no new
wires to be run.
i have no one to blame but myself, but do i have any recourse? Can't i just
call the guy to complain and ask for a partial refund? Or can I really win
in small claims?
yes, I deserve an award for stupidity and gullability, but i think there's a
special place in hell for people like this...
You shouldn't have signed the work order. Tell your friends not use
that guy and next time don't sign a work order unless you're
comfortable with the price.
The geographical center of Boston is in Roxbury. Due north of the
center we find the South End. This is not to be confused with South
Boston which lies directly east from the South End. North of the South
End is East Boston and southwest of East Boston is the North End.
supply stores, probably less then $10. So you paid almost $800 for no more
than $45 in parts and an hours labor.
Add in drive time, and the total would be closer to $200 give or take.
I'd say you were overcharged by perhaps $500 or more. Next time, get a
least 3 estimates. I'd still call and ask a few other pro's in your area
what they'd charge, then go back to the company you hired and ask them why
they are so overpriced. If you get nowhere, offer to take your story to the
local news "I" team, and see what happens.
Flat rate is a program used by a lot of contractors that are supposed to
reward the customer by using an average amount of time to do a certain job.
Tech A can do this job in 20 minutes, but tech B takes 1 hour and 20
minutes. Average that out and you get 50 minutes. You get charged the 50
minutes whether tech A or tech B come out to do the job.
You have to sign a authorization before you start the job. That gives them
permission to do the work at the price on the contract. You can also refuse
the work and pay a diagnosis fee for them coming out.
In some areas you are allowed to request a pricing breakdown. Some techs
will look at you funny if you ask for the breakdown.
It's also called up front pricing and several other names. It can be a good
thing and it can be a bad thing.
I won't have anything to do with it. There are a lot of people in my
industry that love it. They say it's really helped the bottom line. I
think it's a way to help people that really have no clue how to run a
I have more if you want to hear my ramblings......
I was wiring my basement as it was being finished and when I opened up the
main service panel I notice a neutral all burned up. All connections were
tight. So I figured I'd call in a guy and ask him his opinion on the matter
- cause mainly.
The guy showed up, in a spiffy nice jumpiest, and after discussing the
issue of the neutral (and deciding it wasn't an issue), he asked me if he
wanted me to have him cut and reterminate the wire. Note that he was called
also to give an estimate on installing a ceiling fan box and switch. So I
figured that since the guy was here (we were paying for him to come -
charges to be removed form any future work done) and in the box already, I
would pay a small fee to have him cut and terminate. He whips out a pack of
slickly prepared laminated 8.5 x 11 sheets, all nice with colors and
pictures (obviously prepackaged) with the rate sked. Let's see, cutting a
wire and terminating, $90! They literally had an entry for this. The main
reason, the ceiling fan estimate, was over $700!
Needless to say I told him to bolt.
The whole operation had the look and feel of some sort of franchised outfit
with some parent corporate entity pushing all the materials and pricing and
stuff. It was pretty sad.
JG... Jeff Givens
"My hovercraft is full of eels."
The bottom line is you got screwed. But it was your own fault for not
knowing the price before authorizing the work. Don't sign a contract
until you understand it and agree with it.
Snoop Drew wrote:
you were royally screwed. purposefully. flat rate schmat rate. call it
what you like, this is bullshit.
sometimes you have to be good to have good karma. other times, you need to
be the karma. i think this is one of those times.
this guy deserves to be fished. you gotta get a few fish and place them in
his car, under his porch, wherever you can. where they will die, rot, and
stink. go in to the workplace to talk about the bill and leave a few fish
above the tiles in the bathroom ceiling. be creative. it will take some
effort but it will be worth it.
it wont really accomplish anything, but hey. like i said. sometimes YOU
need to be the karma.
yeah, but in the end its not really a 'criminal' offense. you wont be going
to jail. at worst you will pay a small fee, and maybe hurt your credit
rating a little. plus it will take the guy forever to press any civil
charges, and cost him money.
if you want to go this route, its a little better to drain your account so
the check bounces. then it doesnt legally appear so purposeful as stopping
the check. depending on what has happened the last week this may cause some
other check to bounce too, but normally you dont have 3-4 700$ checks
floating. this is also why you need at least two checking accounts. one
for normal use and one for when you feel like you are taking it up the
but let me tell you a story.
when you were a little kid, you were threatened with 'this will go down in
your permanant record". as you know by now, it was a lie.
as an adult there is somewhat of an equivelent. your credit rating.
business and banks and the government love to toss the ole 'oh but it will
hurt your credit rating" out there to keep you in line. well im going to
tell you a little secret. dont play this game. screw your credit rating.
nobody is really expected to have 'perfect' credit and the banks have their
own definition of it and guess what, paying all your bills on time isnt
necessarily a perfect rating. insurance companies also use it as an excuse
to jack your rates. its all part of the matrix.
credit rating is just another scare tactic used to keep you in line as a
normal average american peon. plain and simple. the best way to avoid this
is to buy a house. buy it while you're young and while your credit is still
ok. once you've got a little bit of equity in a house, your credit rating
matters very little. you can ALMOST always borrow what you already have.
ok rant off...
Everything depends on state/jurisdiction you are in. Also it would be very
prosecute somebody, who got cheated, "felt bad" and cancelled the
Laws were written to target individuals, who open new account and write
bad checks, with knowledge of insufficient funds.
This sounds like civ dispute case.
Don't get me wrong attorneys can always send threats, but this would not be
for her/him case to win. Call 10 electricians get average price. Show that
charged price was
unreasonable. File complains, document, document, document....
( And never, ever, ever again sign w/a, w/c if you don't agree with it )
Offer $300 - $400 settlement. Write "full & final settlement payment" on the
check. move on.
Years ago I heard a story (probably apocryphal) about a guy who got so
pissed off at the screwing he got from his bank that he placed a raw
fish in his safety deposit box and walked away smiling.
I had visions of bank personel in the vault holding a cat up and moving
it arond like a stud finder trying to locate the safety deposit box the
stench was leaking out from.
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
"My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying."
Even worse are the "bellies" off of a softshell crab...they go ripe in
If you want to be a mean SOB toss something in that will juice a bit
first...that way it will seep in the cracks. Cat urine is a nasty one.
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