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Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 22018
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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I recently we had a lady plumber in our home on two occasions.

Customer Question

Hi, I recently we had a lady plumber in our home on two occasions. She was referred by Service Master. On the first occasion, she answered a call about a leak in our basement. It was determined that there was a leak in the pipe in the wall. She had to find the leak and began her investigation by removing the toilet on the main floor of the home. The leak was not related to the toilet. However, she spent considerable time putting the toilet back (at least an hour) and then told us that the toilet was too old, that she could not find all the needed parts and we would have to purchase a new one. This surprised us as the toilet was fully functional before she removed it and found it not to be the problem. She subsequently found the leak in the wall downstairs and repaired it after running out for parts.
Anyway, we went ahead and purchased a new toilet. We called her to install it. On this second occasion she came at 8:30 in the morning and took four hours to install the toilet. She ran to her van 35 times! (I decided to count after I heard her run out my front door five times in about five minutes) in the course of her repair work. When I phoned the store where I bought the toilet I was told that it usually takes less than an hour to install. As I said, this lady took four hours, had to re-remove the toilet at least once and managed to burn my marble baseboards, white bathroom cabinet and wallpaper into the bargain. She then went downstairs and took a further three hours to install a new flange on the toilet in the basement. My question is: Where can I have her bills of almost $2000 evaluated for appropriate time taken over the jobs carried out? I feel that she was so slow and inefficient that I should have been paying her by the job and not $105 an hour. She wasted copious amounts of time. I also feel that something should be done to cover or fix the burn marks in my bathroom. I have a nice new toilet, but the wall behind it is very unsightly. Is there a plumbing evaluation service in Calgary to whom I can refer my bills for scrutiny? When I complained by phone message to the manager at FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE'S, he did not even return my call. He has not responded to the Better Business Bureau's request for an explanation either. The company, I now discover, is written up very poorly indeed in online evaluations. Is there no quality or price control for the plumbing industry??
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties but they are not representative of the plumbing trade. Every business has it's bad apples. There are no services that evaluate bills like you describe or formal price or quality controls. The local licensing board is one place you could register a complaint which might get you a response since a threat to the company's license seldom is ignored. However I can give you some input on the fairness of what your were charged and the quality of the work you described. First, simply replacing a toilet would take any competent plumber less than an hour. Replacing a flange generally doesn't take much longer than that (an hour or 2). How you were charged (hourly instead of by the job) is something to settle before the work is done not after. However, in my experience you would, in almost every case (yours would be an exception), pay more by the job rather than by the hour. You're only recourse at this point would be to not pay the bill or only make a partial payment. If you've paid already then you might want to consult an attorney. As far as the damage she caused her company should make it right or pay for the repairs. There is no excuse for this.