Possible dispute with electrician over final bill


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Old 04-16-14, 03:39 AM
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Possible dispute with electrician over final bill

Hello All,

Sorry for the long post but I could use some advice here. I would like to get a second opinion of an issue we are having with our electrician. We just finished the remodel and received our final electrical bill (via the GC). The bill seems to be pretty far off. My contractor feels I am being gouged as well.

The main "change-order" item is the addition of the sub panel. Due to not having enough room in the existing 150A panel, a sub panel needed to be added alongside. For adding this panel he is billing $1000. However, only the panel is being added as all breakers/wiring were covered under the original design (which I paid already). Are there other costs I am not seeing besides the actual panel box?

Then there are other miscellaneous items: add-on recessed cans at $200 each (added to existing string) and added outlets at $125 each (added to existing string).

I would like to pay what is fair but I don't want to be gouged. There are no signed change orders.

Thanks
 
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Old 04-16-14, 04:44 AM
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Are there other costs I am not seeing besides the actual panel box?
Material cost is less than 50 bucks. No idea what labor costs in your area.

If this electrician didn't have you sign a change work order nor worked out an agreement with you for time and material then I think that is bad etiquette just to slap you with a 1000+ addition and expect to get paid without some resistance. That's what these contractors do, its a racket.


My contractor feels I am being gouged as well.
Isnt that the pot calling the kettle black... like that greedy contractor doesn't do the same exact thing and wouldnt to you.... unless he is your father in law or something. I would distance myself from all these opportunists.
 
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Old 04-16-14, 05:23 AM
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The prices for the recessed lighting and the extra receptacles may be reasonable depending on the labor involved. What I don't understand is how the additional circuit breakers could be part of the original cost and yet later a sub-panel be required unless the original job was bid without ever looking at the site. If the service panel didn't have room for the new CBs then that would have been immediately evident in the original plan and the sub-panel would have been included in that original bid.

Material cost is less than 50 bucks.
Utterly impossible to state with any finality. Since we do not know the size nor manufacturer of the sub-panel any guesstimate of the cost is nothing more than that, a guess. If the wall where the sub was installed was a finished wall the labor costs of installation could be high. Still, $1,000 DOES sound high without knowing the full story.
 
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Old 04-16-14, 07:32 AM
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Last I checked contractors were not allowed to ambush you with an extra bill in excess of the original written contract without your signing off. If you had a written quote (not an 'estimate', whether written or verbal - estimates are non-binding) and that's what you paid before the work started, that is a contract.

As far as the 'miscellaneous items', if the electrician installed those extra light cans and outlets without your permission/acknowledgment when they were not on the original quote/contract, then it's not your responsibility.

What he is doing is tantamount to extortion. Florida is pretty aggressive toward bad contractors, due to the large senior population. If he doesn't back off, contact the Florida Attorney General's office and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (that's the department that issues his license), and file a complaint
 
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Old 04-16-14, 07:36 AM
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We just finished the remodel and received our final electrical bill (via the GC). The bill seems to be pretty far off. My contractor feels I am being gouged as well.
If there is any gouging going on it is the GC gouging you because the electrican works for the GC, not for you! Who authorized all this extra work? Is there a provision in your contract with the GC for additional work? The electrician has billed the GC for "Extra Work", not for a change order unless there is a formal document stating "this is a change order" which also should state the scope of work and agreed upon price that is authorized for the additional work to be completed under that change order. I would be tempted to pull out the contract and tell the GC to pi$$ up a rope, it's his problem. You hired a GC to manage the project under the terms of the contract and to avoid issues like this.

I would like to pay what is fair but I don't want to be gouged. There are no signed change orders.
If you want to be a good guy, tell the GC to go back to his subcontractor and get this worked out with some justification for the charges and a price acceptable to both himself and you. Remember, the GC will be adding his markup to the final cost of the extra work.
 
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Old 04-16-14, 08:07 AM
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As eluded to above the bill you are looking at is probably not what the electrician gets, being a sub. Thus some of that money may be going into the GC's pockets. If you started with a signed contract specifying certain work and did not sign for the additional work then you should have some leverage to at least trim this down to what you can be comfortable with. That or they do some explaining as to exactly why those amounts are justified.

Start a paper trail by making requests in writing and keep notes as to their response. Don't threaten the AG until you have to as that can shift the conflict to a different level. Was there any language in the original contract for dispute resolution? Are there any other electrical related issues that need to be brought to the table now, as later they may not be addressed? Has a mechanics lean been filed (you should have received a notice). Did they pull an electrical permit? Was all work inspected and approved?

Bud
 
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Old 04-16-14, 08:43 AM
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See the GC and electrician are pals. Its a racket. You can bet they are laughing at you together while enjoying cocktails and crunching the numbers at the local pub at lunchtime.

So when you don't pay what will you do when these scumbags threaten to put a lein on your property?
 
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Old 04-16-14, 10:40 AM
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$200 for the recessed cans and $125 for receptacles seem within the realm of reasonable to me. It's in line with an electrician my parents used a number of years ago.

Installing a subpanel should have taken an hour, maybe 2, plus materials.

But as others have alluded to, we can't really help you much. "Some guys on the internet said..."
Your first line of defense is the GC. He should (in theory) be looking out for you and should be willing to talk with the electrician.

Keep notes of your discussions with the GC and electrician. If you find you're not getting anywhere, find a local lawyer. Many will help with an initial consult for an hour's worth of $$, and just letting the GC and eletrician know that you have a lawyer who said ..., might get them to change their tone - especially if there's no documentation for these upgrades.

Good luck!
 
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Old 04-16-14, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by cws05
See the GC and electrician are pals. Its a racket. You can bet they are laughing at you together while enjoying cocktails and crunching the numbers at the local pub at lunchtime.
Yes, we get it. You got ripped off at some point and now in your opinion all tradesmen are crooks in collusion. Thank you.

So when you don't pay what will you do when these scumbags threaten to put a lein on your property?
Mechanic's liens are a civil remedy. That means they can't attach a lien to the property without taking the owner to court - and winning. And in court they will have to provide proof that you approved the additional work that they are billing you for. This will be especially hard for them to do in this case, because the original work was pre-paid and as such most likely has a written contract.
 
 

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