Explain to the owner and see if he'll pay something. If not take him to
small claims. Except you'll need receipts. If you don't have any then
don't bother. If the owner turns into a real jerk, then report him to
I have called the BBB, and been told that "they don't give out that
information" when a company has had bad reports. Anyone who pays the money
can be a member. It doesn't guarantee they are a good businessperson. And
the BBB is a toothless agency if a company is bad.
YMMV, and all that.
Correctomundo. And I find it amusing that some say "Call the BBB on them",
like it will do any good, or like the BBB is Big Brother and will go over
there and straighten them out. The BBB is a good business if you're one of
the executives of BBB. They're usually run by retired or current
businessmen who use the organization to network, get free golf, and find
potential customers. The public is a lot further down the line.
wrote:> The freezer is YOUR responsibility. Knowing contractors were working in
I disagree with this statement.
The contractor unplugged the freezer, which would be OK for a short period
of time, but he failed to plug it back in. He might be off the hook if he
were to have called the customer and said gosh I was thinking that I may
have left the freezer unplugged could you check? But in this case he did
not so I believe he was the cause of the food spoilage.
It would have been a different matter if the freezer had died of old age,
but the freezer was not the problem the problem was the negligence of the
If one needs to be involved in the work to that level, why even hire a
contractor? That would be like saying it's okay for them to leave the water
running, and the owner should turn it off. Or that the owner is responsible
for wind bracing. What about the little old lady who doesn't have a clue as
to where things are plugged in, or if a GFI has been tripped? I broke my
back a year and a half ago. What, I'm supposed to get down on my hands and
knees and look to make sure the plugs are supposed to be as they are
supposed to be? What about the rest of the work area? Owner's
responsibility. What a crock!
I'm intentionally not posting the person I think posted this, as it is a
part of a thread, and I don't want to accredit it to the wrong person. But
whoever wrote this BS knows who they are. They are just compound ignorant.
They don't know that they don't know. All further advice and information
from this person should be taken for what it costs. Nothing.
It is obvious this person knows very little about what he/she/it is writing
It seems to me that both parties - homeowner and contractor - share
responsibility. The homeowner, to make the workspace ready. I really
have no idea of the legal issues, but another scenario - remote - would
be to contract for carpet installation. Homeowner doesn't clear the
room, so contractor helps move furniture and in doing so a piece of
furniture is scratched. Oops! IMO, it is a flip of the coin.
"Someone" unplugged "something" to do a job they were called to do.
Since homeowner didn't notice the freezer being unplugged for a couple
of weeks, it SEEMS logical to assume that the contractor didn't know, or
believed, the plug to be something else.
In the case of the carpet installation, if the contract did not call for the
room to be empty then the contractor would be the party responsible for
doing what ever is necessary to install the carpet, and to do the job in a
workmen like manner, so the contractor would be liable for the damage.
An exception might be if the furniture was moved to the driveway and the
neighbor kid's baseball did the damage, but then the neighbor would be
responsible for the kid, not the contractor.
If knowledge is power, and power corrupts, what does this say about the
Sounds like one of the guys used the socket to plug in a
light, tool, etc. The business owner has to know, to remind
his guys to replace plugs. And, it's a caution to all other
contractors who read this list. Put the plug back, people!
That's really tragic. A moment's neglect, and the freezer
thaws. Like others, I'd suggest to call the business owner,
and explain it politely.
Another poster's suggestion of a freezer alarm is a very
Follow up ...
Ok, so I took the advice on here and called the company, explained
what happened and ... it basically rolled off as "gee, that's a shame,
it sounds like my guys might have unplugged it and didn't tell me
before I left."
I was hopeful for at least some sort of discussion, but it wasn't
A couple of thoughts on the matter ...
Generally speaking, it was a perfect storm of sorts ... the GC's
laborers came in to get the old equipment out and likely unplugged the
freezer for their tools. When the main work was done, they left and
probably didn't remember even unplugging the thing, even with a label
that says "do not unplug" on the box, as there is a switch in the
outlet box (it's 3 outlets and a switch).
I've had some contractors come in and clean up very well, or label
things as they were moved or touched, and in this case, there was not
as much attention to detail.
To clarify some of what was in some of the posts, this did not happen
"weeks ago," it was one week ... how often does one go into a chest
freezer for bulk items a week before a major holiday? In our case, we
didn't cook much knowing that we would be doing so for the holiday, so
it was the first time we noticed. I guess one could argue that we
were "stupid" for not ensuring that our appliance was still plugged
in, but after 7 years of having no such issues with little children
around, it didn't occur to us that 30yo's would do such a thing or not
at least ask whether or not something was critical when they unplugged
The freezer was not moved (as one post discussed the circumstance).
For the post about "on first knowledge," I wanted to ask for
information from those likely experienced with the issue first. I
heard about it when my wife called yesterday. As soon I was home, I
posted and we cleaned out the bad food. Maybe I'm naive there too, as
it was after 5pm and I waited until the next business day rather than
bother the guy after-hours ... I at least try to be polite.
With regard to "observing the work" posts ... I've read in the past
where some contractors do not mind, but some hate being observed. I
don't like people looking over my shoulder, so I tend to let "pros" be
"pros." I guess that I'm naive there too.
With regard to the "I do my own jobs" or the "I watch every step my
contractor makes," posts, I don't know what to say ... yeah, maybe you
know every electrical code, housing code, and have the time to watch
every step a guy takes and every move he makes, but for people who are
hiring people because that is not our expertise, we expect that
licensing and certifications and experience and referrals hedge that
bet because we pay for that in the rates people charge. Otherwise,
you're arguing against the industry to not trust any of them and to
"do it yourself" (basically).
To benick ... yeah, I learned a lesson, but to suggest that I should
have posted *before* something happened is just ridiculous. When I go
to a mechanic, I don't ask "should I ask whether you'll put the car
back together after your guys are done replacing the part that is not
functioning properly?" It was a negligent issue on their part ... I
work on networks, but if someone asks me to help with their home PC or
network and I agree, I don't just go delete files off their system and
then say, "tough sh*t, you should have told me not to do that" after
To that, I accept part of the blame as well. Apparenlty, I should
have taken pictures before/after, checked that every piece of the room
was back in its spot before/after, stood there watch every move the
guys made and somehow have known that they installed the equipment
properly, to code, and set it up to the optimal configuration.
I don't know ... somehow I think that most contractors do not want a
homeowner looking over their shoulder every moment, asking about how/
why at every turn. But I guess that's what it takes.
Lesson learned ... I am eating the cost and am thankful for the
replies. I will get a freezer therm for the future and look at things
differently going forward.
It's unfair for you to eat the total cost. I'd file a complaint with your
local agency, and let them give you a third binding opinion. As with some
complaints, you may strike out there, too, but it doesn't cost anything, and
I think you should have gotten at least a better response or attitude from
your phone call.
What was the food worth. He has liability insurance, but since he
doesnt seem to care send him a bill of what you think the food costs
to replace. Maybe include a note on your conversation with him and
that he at least must share in your loss. Id record any future
conversations with him. Bad thing is now I wonder how he will handle
your warranty work you paid for already. He knows one bad refrence is
worse for him than 100 good ones, so give him time to think about your
bill of food cost that you lost.
Hi Tom. It's been a long thread and I've read much but not all oif it.
Here's my overall take. Yes, I watch contractors but i don't hang over them
every second. Last time one worked in the garage (where my freezer is) I
warned them that if they needed to unplug it, fine but to let me know (so
I'd know to check it). They did infact need the outlet and warned me.
Perhaps it was the mere mention of it, or that I opened it and pulled out
food which I fixed for the guys, but they remembered to plug it back in. I
In my case, I'd have noticed it sooner but it may have been too late if in
high summer. I know I would have called and left a message right away (as I
was cleaning it out) but I wouldnt have truely expected more than the fellow
to feel bad and warn his crew to avoid future occurances. At most I would
have expected a partial renumeration in the form of some sort of 'money off'
for a future job. Sort of like 'hey, I know we were looking at that fence
part, let me give you a 100$ off on that offer I left you'.
PS: I go in my chest freezer almost daily and definately would when I have
contractors. I'm known locally by them as a good cook and I always feed the
guys. You'd be amazed at how they react when they sniff the fresh bread
baking (which they know is for them) mixed with the rotisserie chicken they
helped me lift out the day before for their lunch, and the
lentil-tomato-peanut stew for the vegetarian which makes them all a nice
side dish. Thats just one sample meal, lots of others.
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