Cost to replace capacitor on A/C - did I just get uber-ripped?

Closed Thread

  #1  
Old 07-18-06, 04:26 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 7
Cost to replace capacitor on A/C - did I just get uber-ripped?

Hey folks,
From your knowledge of A/C maintenance, perhaps some kind sole can tell me if I need to contact my local BBB:

I've just paid $475 a local co. to fix my A/C. He replaced a blown capacitor on the roof portion of the system, and did it in about 5 minutes flat. I was desperate at the time, but now I've cooled off and I've kept the part he replaced, I'm not so sure this isn't a total rip-off.

I have no idea how much this part should cost. I'm happy to pay a pretty hefty emergency call-out fee, but I'm not willing to stick with a 10,000% markup on a $5 part.

So in reality, how much does one of these things cost? $5, $50, $200? I don't have the component knowledge to go find a price on the web.... but I'm getting a sinking feeling... :-(


Thanks in advance for any response/advice/laughter.

- CT.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 07-18-06, 05:02 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
Well, hold on to something really well..............


most capacitors run around $10 to $30 for the part.

Post any info on yours just in case it is some oddity that would garner a (much) higher price.

Are you sure he was there only 5 minutes?? This does sound a bit on the exorbitant side of things.
 
  #3  
Old 07-18-06, 05:04 PM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 929
Well, my price on a typical fan capacitor is $2.37 and for a typical compressor cap is $10.89

A dual cap is about $18.79


The added value is in the labor and knowing how to fix it.
 
  #4  
Old 07-18-06, 05:04 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
Angry Yikes

$475 to replace a capacitor??? I'd say it's time to call & write the BBB & everybody else you can think of. The average capacitor retails for $20-$30 for a dual cap & $5-$10 for a single. There is the rare $50 cap but anything beyond that is pure piracy.

What are the markings on the capacitor (mf & volts)?
 
  #5  
Old 07-18-06, 05:07 PM
mattison's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Cinti, OH
Posts: 5,549
If that is all they did I suggest before doing something like blackballing the company, you should call and speak to the owner of the company and try to work this out. A $20.00 cap should never cost that much if that's all he did. $100 - $150 tops.
 
  #6  
Old 07-18-06, 05:16 PM
Pendragon's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 1,844
This reminds me of the old doctor joke..

A man needs to have a screw put in his knee. When he gets the bill, it for $25,000. Outraged, the man calls the doctor and demands an itemized account of what the money is for.
A few days later, the man receives an itemized bill....

Stainless Steel Screw - 50 cents
Knowing how to put screw in - $24999.50

Jokes aside, that seems outrageously high for a service call. $75 + parts wouldn't be unreasonable.

The last dual cap I bought, locally at retail pricing was about $35.

This is why it is so important to get a price BEFORE work is done.
 
  #7  
Old 07-18-06, 05:32 PM
nap's Avatar
nap
nap is offline
New Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: north
Posts: 4,163
Originally Posted by mdtaylor
Well, my price on a typical fan capacitor is $2.37 and for a typical compressor cap is $10.89

A dual cap is about $18.79


The added value is in the labor and knowing how to fix it.

I. as well as anybody, realize that knowledge is valuable but this guy just paid over $450 bucks labor to install a cap. That is ridiculous.

The one caveat; if this is the only thing that was done and the OP doesn't live on top of a mountain or in the middle of Death Valley, it is extreme. If it was a middle of the night emergency call and/or the location was really out of the way, I can see some of the bill but basically it is too high....by far.

OP; take mattisons advice and call the owner. Hopefully a mistake was made and will get corrected.
 
  #8  
Old 07-19-06, 11:30 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 7
Well, that went well... NOT.

Thanks to all for the posts. Shortly after posting I found that the dual cap they replaced is worth about $40 (retail to me).

In answer to some of the points raised:

Originally Posted by mdtaylor
The added value is in the labor and knowing how to fix it.
- I think a brain surgeon would be hard pushed to earn $400+ for 10 minutes effort.

Originally Posted by nap
The one caveat; if this is the only thing that was done and the OP doesn't live on top of a mountain or in the middle of Death Valley, it is extreme. If it was a middle of the night emergency call and/or the location was really out of the way, I can see some of the bill but basically it is too high....by far.
- I live in the middle of L.A. Yes, it is summer and they're busy, but it gets this hot every year, and there are hundreds of A/C repair companies here.

Originally Posted by nap
OP; take mattisons advice and call the owner. Hopefully a mistake was made and will get corrected.
- Here's how that went:
* I ask for an estimate for replacing a blown cap on rooftop. Refused.
* I ask for the owner, a manager, or supervisor. I'm told "Well, ok... you asked for it." and get put on hold for 20 mins, then told nobody >>wants<< to talk to me, would I like voicemail?
* So now I tell him they came around this morning and fixed a blown capacitor and billed me $475. That I later checked, and found the part to be only $40 or so, and questioned how the bill could possibly be so high for a 10 min job. He arrogantly argues that they are quick, do good work, and thats the price you pay for it. I am rational and talk calmly throughout. I then tell him, "Well, I really feel like I've been overcharged. I really think I should stop this check and speak to the BBB.". Well, now he explodes with "it's illegal in CA to stop payment after work is complete", "we'll call the district attorney", etc. I'm still calm, and talk reasonably and explain that this seems to be my only recourse, but I'd prefer an amicable outcome. This guy continues to scream at me about the D.A., and certified mail demands for payment etc., and finally hangs up with "do not call us again".

SO, I won't call them again. I immediately stopped the check -which is not an action I took lightly. I will write to them, explaining the situation and with an offer of fair payment, which they'll need to accept or refuse in writing. We'll see how it goes, but I'm frankly willing to go to small-claims court for this.

I will of course be talking to the various BBBs here in L.A. But I'm also going to pitch a local news story to a buddie's wife - who also happens to be a local news anchor.... "Price gouging in the heat wave - what you need to know". Story at 11
 
  #9  
Old 07-19-06, 11:40 AM
mattison's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Cinti, OH
Posts: 5,549
Go here right away and follow the proper procedures. You could possibly get in some trouble for stopping the check but I'm not sure. http://ag.ca.gov/consumers/general/contractors.htm

Here's their main site that may contain more usefull information. http://www.cslb.ca.gov/
 
  #10  
Old 07-19-06, 12:26 PM
Stevetra's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Asheboro, NC
Posts: 348
Whas there any kind of paperwork ?
Quote...estimate...bill?
I wouldent worry too much about stopping payment....if your wrong he can sue you...but its a small claim, and unless he really has a problem with you personally, it would be quicker to work it out with you rather than waiting on a judge to decide.
 
  #11  
Old 07-19-06, 02:03 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by Stevetra
Whas there any kind of paperwork ?
Quote...estimate...bill?
I wouldent worry too much about stopping payment....if your wrong he can sue you...but its a small claim, and unless he really has a problem with you personally, it would be quicker to work it out with you rather than waiting on a judge to decide.
yeah , I got a verbal quote/estimate which was only a total. I then got an invoice (10 minutes later) which had the estimate written in, but not initialled by me. It also has places for parts, labor, service charges etc. - none of that is broken down. Only the astonomical total. I did of course sign and date the invoice, but clearly wasn't in a position then or at the time of quote to realize I was being grossly overcharged.
 
  #12  
Old 07-19-06, 03:35 PM
mango man's Avatar
Member
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sw FL
Posts: 2,122
the stop check may have been a error , In my state it can be considred "intent to defraud " and the sheriff can come get ya .



not sure about ca but check it out .

(I had a guy threaten to stop payment untill I passed that along . he was unhappy about a item he supplied and I installed . I told him up front yhat it was a POS and wouldnt fit and offerd to do it right with parts I carry .

he inssisted I use the part he bought on line . it didnt fit , looked like crap .

seceratary paid he called scrreming not to deposit the check becouse he was putting a stop on it ,work was ppor becouse part didnt fit

I suggested if he did the sherriff would be by to see him ...I never did hear from him agian
 
  #13  
Old 07-19-06, 06:12 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 7
Legality of Stopping a Check

Originally Posted by mango man
the stop check may have been a error , In my state it can be considred "intent to defraud " and the sheriff can come get ya .
I appreciate the comments from the pros that have replied. I should reiterate to those pros that I didn't take this action lightly - I understand how hard to keep make that cash flow. However, this company's response (its not a one-man-shop) was so caustic that I had to escalate in this way.

As I understand it, I am within my rights (in CA) to stop a check if I have a "good faith dispute" with the payee.

Originally Posted by http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cacodes/civ/1708-1725.html
A "good faith dispute" is one in which the court finds that the drawer had a reasonable belief of his or her legal entitlement to withhold payment. Grounds for the entitlement include, but are not limited to, the following: services were not rendered, goods were not delivered, goods or services purchased are faulty, not as promised, or otherwise unsatisfactory, or there was an overcharge.
I'll be having a chat with our company legal advice team tomorrow just to make sure

Anyway - I don't want to make this a legal thread. I know the moderators are hovering over their delete buttons as I type.
 
  #14  
Old 07-19-06, 06:22 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,928
Clevertrousers

I'm not & I doubt the other mods are hovering over the delete buttons. I wish you well in your efforts. Please post back with the results. All of us in the trades have dissatisfied customers at one time or another but most try to remedy the situation well before it reaches this stage.
 
  #15  
Old 06-01-14, 10:29 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 1
Ac

I just paid 115 today to have mine replaced. I could have easily done it but I did not know what the issue was. He tested it said compasitor is bad. The guy had one on his truck and replaced it. Took him a total of 15 mins. To test and replace. I just got a local guy of craigslist.
 
  #16  
Old 06-01-14, 10:40 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,021
Likes Received: 168
Welcome to the forums.

Pretty old thread here you brought back to life.

That price appears fair and is in line as it would include a one hour service call plus the part.
 
  #17  
Old 09-13-14, 12:04 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1
Thanks goggle

My tenant called me to say that the A/C unit was not working,she said that the fan was not rotating seeing that it was 9:30 pm I said I would check it out tomorrow.after hanging up the phone I used goggle(why is the fan not spinning in my A/C unit) it told me that the capacitor could be bad and to take a stick and spin the fan blade to see if it would spin once I gave it a nudge. When the fan started rotating I shut off the power and removed the capacitor to make sure I bought the correct replacement. Once I replaced the capacitor and restored power the problem was solved and I felt so good that I saved myself some money because the replacement part only cost me $16.50 with my military discount it was only $14.85
 
  #18  
Old 09-13-14, 01:06 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 51,021
Likes Received: 168
Welcome to the forums.

Another thread brought back from the archives. Normally an old thread is not responded too and DIY leaves all threads accessible for information purposes. Actually I'm surprised you picked this thread as there are probably 50 or so current ones (2014) that talk about the stick test for the fan motor and replacing the capacitor.

Anyway.... glad we could be of service to you. If you have any further problems feel free to start a new thread.
 
Closed Thread

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes