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Re: Ethics: What to do? #70670 10/12/06 06:15 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 197
LearJet9 Offline
Our SOP in these cases is to tell the customer; Here is what WE did and your problems has been repaired. I cannot tell you what "the other guy" did or answer for him. We don't bad mouth other EC's because most of the time we don't have ALL of the facts.

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Ethics: What to do? #70671 10/12/06 06:54 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Dnkldorf Offline
I take my car in for a squeeky brakes, the mechanic gives me a bill for $450, and says he installed new plugs, new air filter, and new wires, "cause" they needed them. Then tells me he doesn't fix brakes, and I should take it to a brake shop.
I didn't ask him to put a new air cleaner in, I just asked him to fix my squeek.

Would I pay him? No.
Did he try to pull a fast one on me? Yup.

This sounds like the same thing that happened to this guy.

This guy should not of paid a dime to the first EC.

I would of told him how to get his money back.
And I call that policing our own ranks, to weed out the crooks, and make our image better.

But like Lear stated, we don't know all the facts.

Re: Ethics: What to do? #70672 10/12/06 07:40 AM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
mahlere Offline
that's not policing our own. That's running off half cocked and starting a storm that doesn't need to be started.

calling the owner of the other company and letting him know what's going on, and giving him the opportunity to make it right, is policing our own.

especially, if like Reno said, the company has a pretty good reputation. Give them a chance to resolve it before you crucify them.

Once you have employees, you quickly realize that you don't know everything that happens. And it's nice when someone gives you a heads up instead of just bashing you. As an industry why are we such *******s to eachother? Why are we always looking for a way to pull down another contractor?

We already have the general public thinking we are overcharging thieves, so we help them by cannibalizing eachother? Just doesn't make sense.

I am by no means condoning what contractor one did, I'm just saying give them first crack at fixing the mess they created, before Mr. Burns releases the hounds on them.

Edited to add:
We do a lot of repeat and referral work. But over the years, I've gotten more referrals from my fellow contractors than can ever be traced to any customer. A customer may use us 4-5 times in a 5 yr span, and refer us to 2-3 people, and maybe they will refer us, etc. So if you go out, we can possibly attribute 10-15 jobs in repeats and referrals to one customer in a 5 yr period.

We get 20-30 referrals a year from a single contractor in a year. Overall, we probably get about 120 referrals a year from other EC's. Some of these EC are larger commercial guys that don't do residential, some are our direct competition. But they can't handle the job, they send them to us.

So, you definately need to weigh a customers story (of which you only know 1 of the 3 sides of the story) with good relationships with your fellow contractors.

Now, if contractor #1 had a reputation of being horrible, ripping off customers, screwing up, etc, then all bets are off. But that's not the case according to Reno's OP.

[This message has been edited by mahlere (edited 10-12-2006).]

[This message has been edited by mahlere (edited 10-12-2006).]

Re: Ethics: What to do? #70673 10/12/06 03:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Dnkldorf Offline
Here's my "guess", based on John's "limited info", and his "timely" post about calling the guy question.

John calls him, and has a friendly conversation with the owner, and the owner knows nothing about what happened. All he knpows is the tech was sent out, and the tech made it back.

Owner has a talk to tech, finds out the whole story, and contatcs the customer with an appology, and credits his bill for the messup and inconvinence.

John gets a Kudos from both the other owner and the man he helped out, and the plumber.

But there is a reason John is keeping us "hanging" in suspence....

I hope he tells us.

Re: Ethics: What to do? #70674 10/12/06 09:39 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
mahlere Offline
dangit reno, spill the beans.

Re: Ethics: What to do? #70675 10/13/06 12:33 AM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 83
ExpressQuote Offline

I'd bill the customer. I'd discuss the situation with the HO and explain that while you don't have all the facts, the other company just didn't quite manage to solve the complete problem.

Then I'd explain that if it were one of my Tech's, I'd like to hear from the customer to know about the issue. If it is a training issue for my Tech, I can't fix what I don't realize is wrong.

Then, I would leave it to the client to contact the company who sent out the other Tech.

If it were my company, when the customer called to explain what happened, I would probably offer to pay some if not all of the expenses of the electrician at least and possibly the plumber, if I felt the customer was being truthful and reasonable in this matter. (I might even ask for the telephone number of the electrician who finally fixed the problem). So that I could verify the facts and improve my Tech's abilities.

If I were the customer, I'd appreciate the time of the electrician who fixed the problem and the advice to call the first contractor.

If I were the first contractor, I'd appreciate the opportunity to improve my business through obviously required training. And I would also try my darndest to take care of the customer who has had such a bad experience.

Just my thoughts....

Re: Ethics: What to do? #70676 10/13/06 05:16 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,390
Trumpy Offline
Reno (John),
If this company really cares about it's customers, they would not dick them around like that.
Having a reputation is one thing, but you do not want a reputation from other trades-people that they don't know what they are doing.
Word of mouth, it works both ways.

Re: Ethics: What to do? #70677 10/13/06 07:52 AM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
mahlere Offline
dangit reno, what did you do. I have a bet with one of my salesmen that you called the other EC and talked with him. My salesman says that you bagged the other EC to the customer, since that's what we normally do to eachother. (btw, this salesman works at one my local supply houses, he deals with different EC's all day long)

But, i want him to buy me that lunch.

spill it already.

Re: Ethics: What to do? #70678 10/13/06 10:29 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline OP
Cat Servant
As I said earlier, I make no claims that my response was perfect.

As soon as I found the real problem, and having some issues with what I had been told to that point, the customer presented me with the other guys' (TOG's) invoice. That made me react so strongly I went into "automatic mode" as soon as I got back to my truck. (No point putting on a show for the customer).

The invoice diagnosed a bad element. Then, the 'fix' was to replace one 2-pole breaker, and three 1-pole breakers. Not only was the element perfectly good (in a new water heater), but I had difficulty spotting any new breakers in the panel. There was also a scorch mark, and a burnt wiring smell, in the panel that I could not explain; I wasn't getting the whole picture.

So I "reacted" without thinking. Knowing the shop had a good rep, and considering that the bos never has any idea what happens in the fiels -he can't be everywhere- I thought he would be interested. If, as I suspected, his guy was either a crook, or incompetent, I wanted him to see things for himself.

I called, and was very polite. I made clear that I was "not at war," but thought he should come and see before I tore it all apart.

He came, and was quite professional. He didn't really seem convinced, however, until he saw the fried wires himself. After that, he had no problem recognising that just maybe two breakers had been changed - not four.

He then explained to the customer that he would be making a major reduction to the invoice, only charging for the service call. A $450 bill, reduced to $95. The customer was thrilled.

What happend back at the shop, only the shadow knows....

It looks as if my response was pretty close to what many of you have suggested.

As for my price, well, I sharpened my pencil. This poor guy had already been screwed by whoever had replaced the water heater, as well as the other EC.
Though it would not surprise me at all, if the property owner -who has several such rental homes- calls me in the future! [Linked Image]

Re: Ethics: What to do? #70679 10/13/06 07:43 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
mahlere Offline

thanks for the lunch. I personally think you did the right thing. too many guys would have just sandbagged the other EC without giving them a chance to fix it.

As for sharpening your pencil. 2 things, if you still made money (and didn't take a loss to make up for the other companies mistake) no problem. and B, you left out the part that this was for a property management company, and not just an average homeowner.

But for what it's worth, kudos to you.

PS- did I have the right company in my email?

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