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#915 - 04/03/01 05:46 PM Customer is always right?
sparky66wv Offline

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2334
Loc: West Virginia
My friend (and former coworker) Joe is an electrical contractor. He received a phone call from a "potential" customer who stated:

"I have a house with some electrical problems and I want you to come out here and tell me it's okay..."

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#916 - 04/03/01 06:29 PM Re: Customer is always right?
Bill Addiss Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA

I've gotten similar calls many times. It seems that they want someone to come over and inspect the whole house as part of a Free Estimate process. It's difficult to know how to handle it sometimes. When something potentially dangerous is found unless you convince them that something will definitely happen it will probably remain as is.

I don't think it would ever be a good idea to tell someone that a violation or a problem is OK. It could come back to haunt you someday.


#917 - 04/03/01 06:40 PM Re: Customer is always right?
Stu T Offline

Registered: 03/17/01
Posts: 28
Loc: Stamford, CT
Many Electrical Contractors in my area are now charging for estimates, people & companies are paying. Helps weed out the ones looking for free advice too.

#918 - 04/03/01 07:31 PM Re: Customer is always right?
Bill Addiss Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA

It is a difficult situation. As estimates do sometimes take a considerable amount of time I can see the justification in charging under certain circumstances. Unfortunately this is a 'blind spot' for many people. I've had several (unsuccessful) prolonged sessions with Homeowners and Business people trying to convince them that Free Estimates should not include extensive troubleshooting.

I've been asked to set a price for fixing post lights on an large estate that were 300 feet from the nearest building. The New owner didn't know where switches were or if they ever worked - Sound Familiar?? I was doing other work there and agreed to look at them. My contention was that after finding no power at the fixture location it should become a time and material job.

I think that the problem is that there's a lot of mistrust out there. Because of a handful of 'Bad Apples' We all have to bend over backwards to prove ourselves trustworthy with Free Estimates. And, of course, there are those (Consumers) that will purposely try to take advantage of the situation.


#919 - 04/03/01 08:52 PM Re: Customer is always right?
Steve T Offline

Registered: 02/14/01
Posts: 312
Loc: Oak Park, IL, USA
I get calls quite often from people who want "free advice" about their electrical systems. I am an AHJ and people moving into town, and sometimes out, feel they can trust the AHJ, but they don't realize that any type of thourough electrical inspection should take a few hours. This is time I do not have for the home inspection process. So I recommend an electrical contractor. The next question is always can I recommend anyone. No, I can't. What's my point? Not sure exactly except that homeowners who do not have a trustworthy electrician have a real crap-shoot at trying to get a good inspection of their electrical system. The things I have seen, that the homeowner said their home inspector said was fine, make me cringe.

#920 - 04/04/01 03:10 AM Re: Customer is always right?
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
Boy you said it Steve,
an NEC inspector & home inspector are entirely different animals.

In my state there is no certification required for a "home inspector". As most of these are semi-retirees working for realtors, you can imagine the bias involved.

So the sitation i'm left with is the "home inpector" says yadayada is NFG, usually meant to be a small item assumably fixable in a short time,eveyone's happy.

the prob is, they want to make the call, and get an insurance voucher from me also (i take the fall!)

this has resulted in my having to stand my ground, an loose biz with these types.

i'm cheap,but not easy!


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