We had what seemed to be a clogged kitchen sink. Drano didn’t work so we called a plumber who advertised $29 for a simple clog. His snake didn’t work so they agreed to come back the next day with a longer one. Eventually they put a camera on it, and discovered a hole in a pipe under our kitchen floor. They first quoted us $4800 to tear out the tile and jack hammer the foundation in two places (to tunnel), remove the dirt, repair the pipe, replace the dirt and replace the concrete. We about fainted – so he phoned the ‘boss’ and lowered it to $4000.
They started the next day, and mid way through he ran the camera through another pipe (at a Y to the broken pipe) toward the washer in the adjoining laundry room. He said that it was all ‘full of stuff’ (dirt, goop) So he gave an additional quote of $3700 to fix THAT one. Then he asked where we wanted him to do that hole – in front of the fridge, or in front of the washer. Well in front of the fridge was where he originally said he would be doing the 2nd hold in the first place – so I asked why he would charge so much more if he was going to be doing it in the same place that he told me for the $4000 quote. He said it was because he made the first hole bigger so he wouldn’t HAVE to make a second hole. At the end of their work day they left to go get a piece of plywood to cover the hole for the night – saying ‘they’ would return and clean up. The plumber didn’t return, sending his 2 young ‘technicians’ who did nothing except cover the hole with the plywood. (We live 15 miles out of town, why would they not be prepared to cover the hole in the first place?)
Soooooo – we have had three different people – none of which know each other – tell us that this is way too expensive. It’s too late for a second opinion – we were sort of out of options, but we feel so ill informed to really know. We feel the professionalism is lacking, so that leads us to believe the ethics department may be lacking as well. Can anyone tell us if this sounds appropriate?
First of all, thank you for sharing your story with our readers. I strongly suspect that the three people (i.e. I take it they were plumbing professionals) you spoke with that expressed reservations about the costs associated with the repairs are as dumbstruck by what has happened to you, as I am. Without knowing for certain if there was a clear leak in the pipe below your kitchen sink, it is difficult for anyone to pass complete judgement on this plumbing outfit. But at the very least, based on the description you have provided, the actions undertaken by the plumber along with the behavior exhibited by the crew call into question the judgement employed and the lack of professionalism exhibited. While securing the work site is clearly an important element in this undertaking, I believe the larger concern here is whether the extent of these repairs and quoted costs are really necessary. Options you may wish to consider is to contact the owner of the plumbing outfit and advise him of your concerns. You may wish to call for a temporary halt of the project in order to call out an independent plumber to render his opinion of whether the actions undertaken are appropriate and provide estimate of what it should cost to correct the problem(s). This could provide you with some leverage in the sense that the owner will realize you are seriously dissatisfied which will also provide you with bargaining leverage. If you feel after your independent plumbing inspector has provided you with a report that you are being taken advantage of, you can also choose to employ another plumbing service. The Better Business Bureau for your area is also another consideration. You should check to see if the plumber you are currently using has had any complaints filed against them. Whatever you choose to do….and admittedly there are several paths you can take depending on the facts and your preferences….take time to do it without emotion. I realize that is difficult to do at times, but treat this as a business decision and evaluate all sides of the equation…the costs of going forward with current repairs….the cost of calling in an independent plumber to inspect the situation….the emotional cost of dealing with this mess…etc…etc. There is an old adage that says when “emotions run high, logic runs low”. Be sure to think through carefully and logically what is in your best interest. Best of luck!