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Is it legal for plumber to demand pay after walking out on a job? Consumer Law, Warranties

Discussion in 'Consumer Fraud & Scams' started by Guest, Feb 11, 2014.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Law Topic Starter Guest

    I had called a plumbing company for my water heater after the hot water stopped working. They quoted me one price to get access to my home and told me double amount of initial phone call price after they got to my house. They also tried to up sell me to replace my water heater. They misled me on a price and sent a service technician who was spending most of his time talking with his office than looking at the water heater and now they are trying to charge me for a service call. He walked out and left me stranded and now a little over a month later I received a message saying that I had an outstanding invoice which is the first time I heard of that I have an invoice. What are my legal options? Can they put lien on my home? (Northern California)
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Yes, a workman can place a lien on your hime.

    They can invoice you for the service call.

    They can probably ding your credit.

    They might even sue you in small claims.

    If I were you, I'd pay it to make it go away.

    Otherwise, get ready to waste yoru time in court, get your credit dinged, harassed, and even sued.

    Who needs that?
     
    LadyLiberty likes this.
  3. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    Cripe, how can hot water that stops working not be fixed by a pipe cutter and a few sharkbites if the hot water heater is okay.
     
  4. LadyLiberty

    LadyLiberty New Member

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    Thank you for the reply Army Judge.
    Today I request an invoice and noticed they charge me 1.5 hours of labor for a total of $180, just to look at the water heater. It's understandable if they drain the tank which take about 45 minutes for this one(been there and done that). It took technician 1.5 hours because he did not know what kind of water heater he is looking at. I had already informed the company what type of water heater it was when I set up the service call.

    It only took me 45 to an hour online before I made an appointment with this plumbing company for me to research what type of water heater that I have. The online research told me that almost all the time the reason a water heater stops producing hot water is heating elements and thermostat need to be replaced. When I called plumber I ask how much it will cost to replace the heating elements and thermostat they quoted me a price $250 and $1190 for a new water heater.

    After 1.5 hours of mostly TALKING on the phone his diagnosis was that the cause might be heating elements and thermostat might be broken. Replacement will cost $500 and might not solve the problem and so it would be much better just replace the whole tank which will cost $1190. When I had said company quote me over the phone $250. He said $250 is only the cost of materials. I checked the material cost at Home Depot and Lowes and found it for only $35. Even their cost of $250 material fee won't bring up the cost to replace the heating element and thermostat to a total of $500. I asked him how he could justify the cost of the materials to be $250 when I told him that Home Depot and Lowes has it for $35. He excused himself, without having us sign anything and left.

    Over a month later they charged me $180 for 1.5 hours of looking at my water heater. Typed invoice did not even have the name of the company and address on the invoice. Is the invoice even valid? How do I know which company that I am paying? This company is sneaky, dishonest, and like to take a advantage of the situation. how could I trust them even I paid in full, I am afraid they would find a way to bill me for something else. What can I do to cover myself? Should I ask them to include the name of the company, address and license number on the invoice? This is corporate, I even see invoice on sole ownership has letter head. what else do I need to ask to include in invoice? Please help!
     
  5. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    Why did you not just source the replacement for the unit initially? You wanted a repair estimate and owe for one. Hint 95% of hot water heater issues should involve replacement.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You can see if your guy(s) are licensed:

    https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/CheckLicenseII/CheckLicense.aspx

    General requirements for licensing in CA:

    http://www.cslb.ca.gov/generalinformation/library/licensingclassifications/C36Plumbing.asp




    You could investigate filing a complaint with whoever oversees and licenses plumbers in your CA.
    They sometimes help resolve these disputes.

    http://www.cslb.ca.gov/Consumers/FilingAComplaint/




    If I were in your position, I'd want to end my relationship with them.
    I'd ask them what do I owe them?

    They might say, $2,000. I'd offer them say $500, and ask for everything to be paid in full. I'd want a letter form them indicating that IF I paid $500 within 10 days (or a date certain), the bill is paid in full.

    I wouldn't pay until I got that signed letter and invoice.

    I'd want our agreement spelled out completely.

    I'd pay by money order, and write on the back (above the endorsement line) endorsement of this check acknowledges this payment as settlement in full for work performed by XYZ CO.

    You can't get out of this without paying something, and your only other option is to tell them sue you, and see what a court says.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  7. fletcherrhoden

    fletcherrhoden Banned

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    If the work this plumber did was faulty, incomplete or otherwise led to further damage, you can sue the plumber! If this is a rental property, your tenant can hit you for a rental refund for the time the plumbing didn't work. You could offer to settle, but I say let them sue you, and then counter-sue. Also, use the social media, even a blog post about your unfortunate experience will get around pretty quickly. Make sure to observe the rules of libel though!
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Don't necropost.

    Don't necropost.

    Don't necropost.

    Don't necropost.

     

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