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Why do I have such terrible experience with plumbers?

Posted by Jeremy on August 21, 2012 in General |

Obviously I just have terrible luck with plumbers.  First there was the problem with my kitchen sink about 2 years ago and now, my water heater.  The water heater is a special story, so here goes.

The story goes like this, our water heater went out Friday morning.  I called American Home Shield and they hook me up with a contractor who calls me that morning and will be out that afternoon.  That’s awesome.  He’s right in the block of time he said he would be, shows up, looks at the water heater and said it had to be replaced. He said it would take about a week going through American Home Shield. He said he could do it “faster” if we went outside of AHS, so I inquired as to how much it would cost me. He looked at it for about 10 minutes and said “$500 + water heater”. Rough estimates in my head told me that a water heater was $400 or so, add the $500 and that’s probably more than I’m going to spend going through the home warranty, so I tell him I’ll wait for the insurance.

Saturday I call AHS and they tell me the contractor hasn’t called in the estimate and that they are sending them an email to send in the request.  Then Monday morning I get a call from AHS saying that there are some items that they won’t cover for the install….I say ok, so what’s my out of pocket and I’m told $845. I have the lady go over the item list, and it’s venting, pipes, drip pan ( for $135? ) and insulation ( $165 for the foam over the flex tubing? really? ). My wife calls the plumber to see if there’s something we can do about the price….no…informs the woman on the phone that we will be paying with a credit card and is told there will be no problem.  How the fuck is it  MORE expensive to go through the insurance?  He tells me “you get refunded for price of water heater, but they give more…so it balance out, you only pay me $500 or $600 max out of pocket.”  My math is pretty good, I still don’t get this though.

Well, Tuesday comes for the install and the contractor says “I need check”. I hand him my credit card and he goes pale and says “we don’t have card reader, only check or cash”. After 45 minutes on the phone to different people I think some cousin of a cousin of a brother of a roommate processes my card….and tacks on an additional fee for it. At this point I just want the ordeal over with and I say “FINE DO IT”. On top of that, he’s the only guy to show up. To replace a waterheater, that has to be carried upstairs…and remove the waterheater that has to be carried away…yah, he was going to call a co-worker who was “very far away”. He’d been here before. How does a contractor NOT come prepared for a job they had already come and spec’d out to begin with? I helped him move the water heaters in and out of our condo just because I want this done and over with.

I didn’t have much choice with the contractor that American Home Shield sent out, but let me tell you that if I could, I’d make sure to never deal with them EVER again. If you have a choice, avoid this company like the plague.  I can tell you I am going to file a complaint with AHS about this contractor and advise they cease doing business with them.

This could not have been a worse experience for me…well, I guess it could …if the install goes bad, my house floods and the water heater explodes…then it might be worse….maybe.

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