Invoicing from the Plumber

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Old 07-05-20, 11:07 AM
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Invoicing from the Plumber

This is a follow up on another thread I have in this forum but since its about invoicing I created a new thread.

I called the local plumber to unplug my kitchen sink. One guy came at 2:00PM and worked for about 3-4 hours and he could not unplug the sink and said tomorrow he will bring other equipment to try again. He left without giving me an invoice. I remember the attachment at the front of the snake he was using was something like a spring

The next day a new guy came (from the same company) and tried again for about 30 minutes with the same snake type and then he said I will have to go back to the store to get something else. He came back in 30 minutes and this time he attached to the front of the snake something looked like many small knives. In 10 minutes the blockage in the pipe was gone! then he gave me the invoice for $275.00 and I paid.

2 days later I received an invoice by mail from the company for $577.00 explaining all the work the first guy did. To my opinion I should not pay this invoice because my call to the plumber was to unplug the sink and he was not able to do it.

What is your opinion?
 
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Old 07-05-20, 12:56 PM
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I would not pay it. If they don't have the proper equipment the first time, their bad. They knew what they should've used but did not have. Kind of like a carpenter you hire but he forgets to bring his saw or hammer and wants to charge you for his time.
Note to all...on this type of procedure you should write on your check or invoice " paid in full".
If they fight it, take them to small claims court. File a grievance before they send the bill to a collector.
 
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Old 07-05-20, 06:36 PM
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Have you called them?
If not do so.

I think that your best argument for a price reduction is that the second plumber did not bring the proper equipment and that the first person should have known his tool was inadequate to do the job after an hour, two at max. Here I am assuming that getting to a fitting that could be snaked and it did not take two hours of work just to get to a point where they could start snaking.

I do not think the first call should be no charge it is not totally their fault that they failed, also it is not your fault.
It is the fault of the clog which unfortunately falls on you.

For all I know or you know the clog required special attachments and there may be a reason why this attachment was not used in the first place.

When you talk to them do not loose your cool! Ranting and raving will just get their back up and you will loose.
.





 
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Old 07-05-20, 09:14 PM
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The first guy tried 3 times with the snake to clean the pipe and he should have known from the first try, to my opinion, that he had the wrong tool. I thought all snakes were the same but when I saw the next day the second guy using these knives on the snake I knew right away that the first guy was using the wrong tool.

I got the invoice on Friday so I had no time to call them. I will do so tomorrow morning and I always keep my cool.

To take them to the small claims court my cost is about $150.00 and I’m willing to negotiate with them and pay $150 to settle this invoice although I don’t think is right
 
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Old 07-06-20, 05:16 AM
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I thinking maybe this was clerical error. Two different plumbers submitting their time sheets unknowingly fot the same place for the same job.

It is the fault of the clog which unfortunately falls on you.
Can't agree with this. This is their business and that is why they are in business. You can't blame the homeowner because the the plumber can't fix it. Yes, the homeowner may be at fault for the clog, but not for being able to not fix it.

Suppose I start a project (carpentry, electrical plumbing, etc...) and I mess it up big time. I call pro to fix it. He does so and charges me accordingly for the work, but does not punish me for doing a bad job on my own. He can't do the job he doesn't get paid.

I'd like to see what CWBuff, a fellow forum member has to say about this problem. He going through similar situations.
 
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Old 07-06-20, 11:07 AM
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I'll put my 2cents in. If it's the same company, you should only be getting one bill. Never heard of getting separate bills from different people from the same company for the same job at the same time. Sounds like the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.
I'm sure they would straighten this out with a phone call.

It is the fault of the clog which unfortunately falls on you.
That statement doesn't make much sense to me.
 
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Old 07-06-20, 03:14 PM
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In my opinion, you only need to pay one of the invoices, likely the higher one as there is time spent troubleshooting. There are many times I go to a service call and I do not have what I need to repair the issue. The fact is I can not carry every tool, part, or equipment I might for every service call. If I did I would be driving an 18 wheeler. When I return to repair the issue, all of that time is charged to the job.

I do also agree that the 2nd guy should have brought the proper equipment. The fact he didn't just shows poor communication on their part. I also agree that there is likely a mix up in the billing.
 
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Old 07-06-20, 09:35 PM
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I called them this morning at 9:00 and told accounting that this invoice should be cancelled and they said someone will call me back. By 2:00PM no one called so I called back and spoke to the man in charge and he knew nothing about my previous call. So he said he will check with the man who did my job and he will call me back either later this afternoon or tomorrow morning. He didn’t call me back so hopefully tomorrow AM he will call and if not I will call again.

BTW it is not a small company, they have at least 10-12 service men making the rounds but I find their response today not so good, when you have a customer saying an invoice for $577.00 should be canceled they should have jump and try to solve it immediately
 
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Old 07-07-20, 10:33 AM
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It is the fault of the clog which unfortunately falls on you.
I also do not understand the point I was trying to make but it must have been important.

I do believe that he is probably due a reduction in price but not the whole amount.
The operative word is probably as I was not there.

Perhaps the first person should have given up earlier and the second person should have definitely arrived with the proper tool.

Norm201
I was a service rep for about 25 years and never gave a guarantee that I could fix a unit.
If a customer had demanded a guarantee I would get a PO number and ship him a new unit.


 
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Old 07-07-20, 03:06 PM
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I never mentioned anything about a guarantee, but I get what you're saying.
I depends on the work and type of item. I think most workmanship and product could and should have some type of warranty (not a guarantee).
When I do screen repair I warranty my workmanship for a year and I've had to make good on it at least 2 times a year. But I won't warranty the material. Especially aluminum screen. I'll even make good on a bad screen repair from one of our other stores.

Kolias, please keep us informed of the outcome of this situation.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 03:22 PM
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The guy did not call me today so tomorrow I plan to visit the store and hopefully the issue will be resolved.

In the mean time I have downloaded certain info/forms from the Government’s site related to filing a complaint with the small claims court. There are certain steps to be taken if I have to follow this route so I’m getting ready.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 03:27 PM
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The next day a new guy came (from the same company) and tried again for about 30 minutes with the same snake type and then he said I will have to go back to the store to get something else. He came back in 30 minutes and this time he attached to the front of the snake something looked like many small knives. In 10 minutes the blockage in the pipe was gone! then he gave me the invoice for $275.00 and I paid.
That should have been the end of the story, that invoice should have included all work through the end of that day. Actually this all sounds like a rather small disorganized shop. I have never heard of any company bigger than a one man shop where the service guy wrote up and presented an invoice to the customer. Typically when the customer wants to pay on the spot or for a quick service call the service guy calls in to the shop and the invoice is prepared there with the amount given over the phone and customer writes a check. My experience is that the service company usually mails a proper detailed invoice to the customer.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 03:34 PM
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The guy did not call me today so tomorrow I plan to visit the store and hopefully the issue will be resolved.
At this point, I would not waste your time. You have made a decent effort to let them know about the "extra" invoice. IMO the ball is in their court and they know how to get a hold of you.

I also do not deal with anything with money or invoicing. That is between the shop/boss and the customer.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 03:43 PM
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I agree with Kolias, give it one more shot. But remember to record everything. Get names and times and anything they say that might help your cause. If they argue the point then very politely ask if that is their final word. If so tell them you'll be contacting the local paper and the State Attorney General and the BBB, and YELP, and the local plumber association and small claims court.
What ever they say try to get it in writing.

I still think it's just a clerical error and the office does not know how to fix it. The Principals need to get involved.
Did yo pay in cash or check?
 
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Old 07-07-20, 05:18 PM
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I paid cash which is normal here when you deal with small house call contractors (saved me about $50.00) and in that case I get no invoice so I have no record of what the second guy did. But now I can see a problem if I end up in court and the judge ask for the second invoice.

I also think its best to go tomorrow to their shop and try to put this issue to bed.
 
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Old 07-07-20, 05:28 PM
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Your first post stated he gave you an invoice, now you say he didn't? You paid in cash, did you get a receipt?

I wonder if the second guy still works there....pocketed the cash....

 
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Old 07-08-20, 01:08 AM
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Sorry about that....

After the work was completed by the second plumber I went to his truck and while he was talking to his office and preparing the invoice a friend who happened to be with me said why you don’t pay him cash, so I asked him and he asked his office and I guess they said ok to take cash. So I paid cash, no receipt and as I said its common here to pay cash with no receipt

Pocketed the cash? I doubt it because he was talking to his office about rates and parts cost.
 
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Old 07-08-20, 09:50 AM
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Gotta admit it'd be nice to have the mindset of being able to pay in cash w/no receipt and have no worries. Too many bad eggs south of you for that to happen often. Harkens (sp?) back to a day of being able to trust people.

Hope everything works out.
 
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Old 07-08-20, 10:57 AM
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Finally all is done and the subject is closed although not completely to my satisfaction but I think its much better than go thru courts, which can take forever, wait all day in the court house for your turn and above all the outcome is not guaranty that you will win.

Anyway I had to agree with the settlement he proposed because Iím not a plumber and what he was explaining made sense to me.

I spend close to 2 hours at the plumbers office, partly because they were busy like hell and the manager I was talking to had to take care of many other calls but the guy was good. Basically what he explained to me is that the 1.5Ē sink pipe after the 90 deg elbow on the ground floor is connected to a 4Ē pipe (see attached sketch I had prepare for the discussion). So the first plumber could not use any other attachment on the snake because the only tool for a 1.5Ē pipe is what he used.

Now the second plumber was able to use the attachment with the knives on the snake because he was able to push it after the elbow on the ground floor and then turn the snake with the motor to clean the blockage.

First I offered to cancel the $577.00 invoice but he said the best he can do is $350.00 + taxes and then I said lets settle for $300 tax included and we settled for that.

Somehow I remember that in the plumbing code they are restrictions on the drain pipes which are buried in concrete and the min. size is 4Ē but perhaps Iím wrong. That pipe in my sketch (10 + 16 feet) slopes from the wall to the 6Ē pipe and although by the wall is not buried further down must be buried in the concrete slab.

BTW the second plumber who took my $275.00 cash was there so he still works, LOL



Thank you all for the help
 
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Old 07-08-20, 11:55 AM
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Personally, I think you need to change plumbers. I've never heard of a company working like this, but maybe things are different in Canada.
 
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Old 07-08-20, 12:19 PM
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I know Rolland (the owner) of this company since 1985 when he did the plumbing in a house I was building himself, a good tradesman and honest man. Now Rolland sold the business to his in law (I dont know since when) but still goes there (he is 82 now) just helping around in the office as a hobby.

Most of the tradesman today there are good people but you also have among them some “bad apples” so it’s a matter of luck to find a good one.

In the future if I need a plumber again, definitely I will not go back to them
 
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Old 07-08-20, 02:54 PM
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So, in total you paid 575.00, is that what what your saying? If so you definitely need to find a new plumbing business. You could have bought a good powered snake for that and had it available for the next time, and there will be a next time.
 
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