Did I just get swindled by this plumber?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Building Code' started by supaugly, Jun 6, 2012.

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  1. Jun 6, 2012 #1

    supaugly

    supaugly

    supaugly

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    I came home last night and in my garage I see a puddle under my water heater. I have a home warranty so I call them, they send someone out and now I'm trying to find out if im getting taken. This is what I'm told I need to pay for outside of my home warranty. I'm told the water heater and installation is covered so I'm not listing it. I live in california so I'm not sure if these costs are due to bring my water heater up to code.

    Expansion tank: $170
    Gas Drip Leg: $65
    Bonding and Grounding: $65
    Mod Straps: $55
    Gas Flex: $32
    Gas Valve: $36
    Mod T&P: $75
    Mod Flu: $82
    Disposal: $75
    Permit: $125
    Total: $780

    Again this is outside of our home warranty. I've already paid my $60 deductible. Am I getting taken?
     
  2. Jun 6, 2012 #2

    johnjh2o

    johnjh2o

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    It's hard to say. Prices very according to location. What I will say is the total job of replacing the heater with the added work shouldn't have taken any more then 2 hrs. As far as changes for the T&P valve, gas line and flu that should be part of the installation of the heater.

    John
     
  3. Jun 6, 2012 #3

    IFIXH20

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    I would also contact my warranty company and question them on what you coverage covers. good luck.
     
  4. Jun 6, 2012 #4

    havasu

    havasu

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    My cousin had a similar problem with a home warranty plumber, with a bad set of parallel water heaters. He got the outrageous bill, then complained to the warranty company. After a few heated conversations, they finally paid the bill and terminated the contract plumbers, because of numerous complaints from gouged customers.
     
  5. Jun 6, 2012 #5

    speedbump

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    Wells & pumps; not a... Professional

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    We used to do work for American Home Shield. What a rip off. They only seem to cover things that would never break. All the rest are not covered. I would never pay for one of those any more than I would pay $30.00 for an extended warranty on a $50.00 item. In electronics and appliances, this seems to be the norm.
     
  6. May 16, 2013 #6

    unionplumber93

    unionplumber93

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    I would say that your getting bent t&p is in the water heater itself and if you don't have a closed water supply there really isn't a need for the expansion tank. And if he plans on using a flex line for the gas there is no need for a new valve and drip leg unless there isn't one already
     
  7. May 23, 2013 #7

    camaroderrick73

    camaroderrick73

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    As working for American home shield , those prices are the norm. When ahs physically states that installation is only putting the water heater in the spot , do I agree, not really. But working for them I know, you follow their rules , they do the tell you what they cover and not. Not the plumber it's your insurance.
     
  8. May 23, 2013 #8

    camaroderrick73

    camaroderrick73

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    Also those are code upgrades, and modifications. If you have an older heater a licensed contractor needs to bring the water heater fully up to code...
     
  9. May 23, 2013 #9

    chukar

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    As stated above if your old system is not up to code and the plumber needs to pull a permit then yes you will need extras, every company will have their own markup on material, you as a customer can check that the permit is pulled as one recourse. AHS has funny rules what they will and will not cover to make money off the job a lot of guys may will install everything that's required by code if there is a chance it's going to be inspected, it protects you and them.


    Expansion tank: code item many areas
    Gas Drip Leg: gas code
    Bonding and Grounding: gas line has to be bonded to electrical system normally done on new homes
    Mod Straps: ....I'm thinking earthquake straps
    Gas Flex: standard for most gas appliances
    Gas Valve: new shut off valve
    Mod T&P: may have to change routing for new heater
    Mod Flu: normally different heights
    Disposal: $75 an extra company policy
    Permit: $125 like I said check and see if it gets pulled and inspected
    Total: $780
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  10. May 23, 2013 #10

    Retroloco-LJ

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    I highly agree. Typically when work is done with a home warranty, the service professional provides the estimate to the company who then tells you the home owner what is covered and not covered. Sounds like the estimate was provided to you directly? It's never a bad idea to double check before coming out of pocket.

    Retroloco-LJ
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    Don't kill the dream, execute it.
    http://fhfurr.com
     
  11. May 27, 2013 #11

    RichardHilliard

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    Regardless of a permit being pulled or not any plumber worth their grain of salt would make the upgrades to code compliant.

    Keep in mind you are working with a business. Each product or item will have a mark-up. The 1st mark-up is form the plumber to the warranty company the 2nd mark-up is from the warranty company to you. It may not seem fair to you due to having the ability to run down to a store and purchase this material however when you place both feet squarely into a business mentality it is more than fair.

    It is a necessary evil in order to maintain the level of service and to be here tomorrow. You purchased the home warranty for a number of reasons one of which is piece of mind that someone will be there for you. You may have wanted to insure that your products are working correctly for you and to help with the costs of maintain your products. You may have wanted to have help with sharing of the risks of owning a home. I have worked for a number of warranty companies through the years and they do try to send out a qualified plumber for plumbing however they do try to keep the costs down by hiring a less expensive plumber. My experience in plumbing you do get what you pay for.
     
  12. May 27, 2013 #12

    plbgbiz

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    Part of the problem is the the home warranty company itself. Often they negotiate a losing proposition for the plumber in the name of getting him in the door with new customers. To make ends meet, he has to charge seemingly high prices for the required upgrades to make up for the loss the warranty company forced on him.

    In the end the only thing saved by using a warranty company is usually just the plumber's actual cost for the water heater alone. If he has any business sense whatsoever, he will seek to get his revenue from somewhere.

    Most often you will find better service and value working directly with your plumbing professional rather than a middle-man warranty company. More people involved means more people have to get paid.
     
    johnjh2o and phishfood like this.
  13. May 28, 2013 #13

    chukar

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    Not always true in my market the deductible is above our hourly rate, that said the next closest plumbing service provider for the warranty companies is 2 hours east or 2 hours west.

    Make sure you read your contract about exactly what it covers and what it doesn't I had one client out of hot water for 3 weeks because the home warranty company only used one brand, it wasn't an option locally.
     
  14. May 28, 2013 #14

    plbgbiz

    plbgbiz

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    Then you are definitely better off than most I have talked to. Many only lose money on their basic installs for warranty companies and make it up on the add on items.

    Much like Lowes pays $50 to the plumber for installing a toilet. This includes going to the store to pick up the toilet purchased, wax, bolts, and disposal of old toilet. Then the customer wonders why the new angle stop costs $200.

    These are the numbers Lowes quoted to me when they tried to get us on board for their install services. They tried to tell me that rather than losing $200 per call, I was actually paying $200 to gain a new customer.
     
  15. May 28, 2013 #15

    johnjh2o

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    If you're overcharging the customer to cover your costs I can't see how he would ever want to be a customer of yours. If you can't make an honest wage with Lowes, or any other warranty company then don't do the work.
     
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  16. May 28, 2013 #16

    plbgbiz

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    Which is EXACTLY why we never signed on. It is a bad deal all the way around as far as I am concerned.
     
  17. May 28, 2013 #17

    johnjh2o

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    Happy to hear you walked away. If enough contractors walk away it will force them to raise their prices, but the fact of the matter is there will always be someone that will do it. What we call the low bidder is an a**. But if we try to match his price what does that make us.:D
     
  18. May 29, 2013 #18

    chukar

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    Back to the OP with most home warranty claims you have the option of a payout instead of having them provide the service, may be worth it, and cheaper in the long run.
     
  19. May 29, 2013 #19

    camaroderrick73

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    Chukar,

    Now that's a different beast. Cash inlieu is what ahs calls it. Now I'd you do not go with a licensed contractor to do those repairs, they will not even cover a thermocouple down the road. Any licensed contractor can do it as long as it with permits and signed off by the city/county.

    A majority of people I find will take a cash in lieu and hire an unlicensed quack and expect their home warranty to cover it with it out of code. They will not
     
  20. May 30, 2013 #20

    RichardHilliard

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    Before accusing other plumbers of price gouging we need to stop being cynical about our brothers in the trades. A higher price has never equated to gouging. Hell a person that charges 50 bucks and does not deliver on their prices has over charged. I know I would say 50 bucks is a cheap price.

    The prices charged on the list are far from gouging or over charging. I would like to ask the op why he or she thinks the price is high. What are you basing your opinion on and why?

    I know I am worth every penny if not more than we charge. My experience, knowledge, professionalism, and service have cost me a great deal of money, time, and the destruction of my body. In comparison with that the prices seem cheap.

    You (another plumber) may think the prices are high and I am here to tell you that you need to change the way you think and have more pride in what you do and yourself worth as a plumbing professional. When has our profession dropped our expectation of our lifestyle to live check to check versus living comfortably?

    The op must determine if the plumbing professional that worked on his water heater delivered on their promises. Did you receive what you believe to be of value to you? Was the plumber professional? Was he or she on time? Did they do what they promised? Is their work neat? Do you have hot water? How was their response time? Were they well mannered? Were they clean or dirty? Would you call to have them work in your home again? Did you like them? If the answer to all of the above is yes what does the price really mean?
     

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