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#70640 - 10/10/06 07:18 PM Ethics: What to do?  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Here is the situation: A plumber calls you. Over the weekend, some poor soul has had an electrician look at his water heater (nearly new), and the sparky finds $450 worth of stuff to fix, before saying the problem is a bad element, and the guy needs a plumber.

The plumber has called you, as he can find nothing wrong with the water heater.

You get there, and - after a modest amount of checking- that the splices in the LB near the panel have completely degraded. Easy wire pull, wires replaced. All is well.

Now, the customer shows you the bill from the other sparky. A large firm, with many trucks, and a pretty decent reputation. On the invoice, the guy had diagnosed "bad element." He has charged for changing four breakers - for the life of you, you can only see two that MIGHT have been changed. And your bill for actually fixing it is a lot less than what the first guy charged. (Especially when the other guy charged $80 for a $5 breaker!)

So- what do you do?

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#70641 - 10/10/06 07:23 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
mahlere  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
New Jersey
Honestly? or theoretically?

Honestly, I hand him my invoice, let him see that we got the problem fixed, show him the bad wire, let him feel the hot water. And let him fight it out with the other company.

If he asks an opinion, tell him the truth. They are a large company, offer good service, etc. However, some of their technicians are more qualified than others. I am a licensed (assuming you are) electrical contractor with x yrs experience, etc.

then I would tell him I made a mistake on the invoice and triple it [Linked Image]

Theoretically? I don't know.

#70642 - 10/10/06 07:25 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
Luketrician  Offline
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 272
Sale Creek, TN USA
I would tell the customer that he should make a complaint to the Better Buisness Buearu. If possible, I would try and give the customer a bit of a break on the bill as well. The customer will remember that the next time they need work done.

[This message has been edited by Luketrician (edited 10-10-2006).]

Luke Clarke
Electrical Planner for TVA.

#70643 - 10/10/06 07:34 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
mahlere  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
New Jersey
bad language post

[This message has been edited by mahlere (edited 10-11-2006).]

#70644 - 10/10/06 08:03 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
GA76JW  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 193
Suwanee, GA USA
What really makes me think is this:

Did the other guy overcharge because he honestly thought all of that was neccesary to find the problem or is it so high because he works on commision and saw a sucker?

Honesty seems to take people farther than overcharing will anyday.

But on the flip side if the market will bear the price and the homeowner is willing to pay without a second opinion who is wrong?

Where was I again [Linked Image]

"If common sense was common, everyone would have it"-not sure, someone here

#70645 - 10/10/06 08:06 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
Luketrician  Offline
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 272
Sale Creek, TN USA

Three things:

1. The one thing the BBB can do is start a history on the contractor. Put yourself in the customer shoes, I for one would'nt just let it go without taking some action.

2. Giving this person a slight break on my bill is a gamble I am willing to take. 50$ is still a good bit of money for some, heck even for me! This person may have friends or neighbors that may need work done in the future. Doing this just betters my odds that they WILL remeber me.

3. I never bash another contractor for honest mistakes. It is hard to believe, that it was a 'mistake' installing breakers and an element that was apparently not needed.

Overall this is just my two cents. I respect your views Roger and understand that we all have different ways of doing buisness. Thank you for your views on my initiall post. [Linked Image]

Luke Clarke
Electrical Planner for TVA.

#70646 - 10/10/06 08:17 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
LoneGunman  Offline
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 141
No break for the HO.

I'm not going to badmoutn another EC for an honest mistake but if the guys a total hack then the HO's going to know about it.

Theres no way that the above scenario was just a mistake, he checked power at the WH, realized a leg was missing then starts changing breakers and leaves without the problem solved. After noticing one leg was missing at the WH he should have checked the breaker, he wouldve noticed the breaker is fine, the only thing that then leaves is an open splice or a cut wire.This is very basic troubleshooting, my apprentices would catch hell for doing this.

In my opinion, the first company there tried to pass off a green helper as an electrician.

#70647 - 10/10/06 08:21 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
LK  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
New Jersey
"bill for it, and make sure that you show the customer what YOU did right for them."

I agree, bill as you would any customer, your vendors, and suppliers are not going to
give you a bit of a break on the bill, and your cost, for responding to the job are still there.

#70648 - 10/10/06 08:29 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
Roger  Offline
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
Luke, the post wasn't mine, I just edited an abbreviation of a word that was improper for ECN.


[This message has been edited by Roger (edited 10-10-2006).]

#70649 - 10/10/06 08:42 PM Re: Ethics: What to do?  
Dnkldorf  Offline
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
nowhere usa
I just think some of you are too funny..

If it was my business, you bet your butt I am helping that consumer.

Plain and simple fraud.

Think they will actually remember that 3 yrs ago you gave them a $50 discount?

You bet they will, and better yet, they will remmember that guy that ripped them off.
And they will tell an average of 13 other people too.

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