Monday, July 31, 2006

Chris's Plumbing Responds

I have detailed my unsatisfactory experience with Chris's Plumbing Service in Riverview, FL here. I eventually complained to the Better Business Bureau.

Chris's Plumbing Inc. has responded. You can click on the image below for a full-size JPG of the actual letter. The text follows that. I have re-typed it verbatim, including the various misspellings of my name.

Better Business Bureau of West Florida, Inc.
Post Office Box 7950
Clearwater, FL 33758-7950

RE: Case #67063013 McQuiston, John

Mr. McQuistion hired our services at the rate of $75.00 per hour with a one-hour minimum. Upon arrival and an assessment of the job, the technician, Jose, advised Mr. McQustion that there was a needed gasket missing from his kitchen sink faucet. That without this gasket the faucet would not get a proper seal and the use of Plumbers Putty in its place would stain the Granite Counter tops. It was also recommended that he not re-use the disposer.

Mr. McQuiston elected not to have the work done; Jose advised Mr. McQuiston that he'd be charged the one-hour minimum. Mr. McQuiston opted to have the existing garbage disposal re-installed and the drains re-connected. He chose not to have a faucet installed at this time.

Quite frankly, I feel Mr. McQuistions complaint is exaggerated. Home Depots quote of $270.00 is reasonable. The spelling of my companies name isn't relevant to this matter. Jose was correct in telling Mr. McQustion that we will not warrant used or customer provided materials. My technicians are not commissioned; they have absolutely nothing to gain by selling labors or materials. The price on the faucet and disposer at Home Depot is $158.52, our price is $171.44 plus tax. That's a far cry from double and certainly competetive considering Home Depot "Is such a big company".

In closing, Chris's Plumbing Service, Inc. maintains the highest standards of workmanship and materials. We value fairness and customer goodwill and appreciate the efforts of the Better Business Bureau. However, Mr. McQustion received the goods and services on the attached invoice, therefore he is not entitled to a refund.


Chris Hoffman

The BBB site asks, "Do you accept the response from the business?" Not exactly. As Samuel L. Jackson once said in the movie Pulp Fiction, "Allow me to retort."

Thank you for allowing me to respond. I mentioned the peculiar spelling of Chris's Plumbing Service only so you would know that the grammatical error came from the business' name and not from me when you searched for a match in your records.

True, Chris's Plumbing Services did perform the service listed on the attached invoice. The dispute centers on the fact that the service that his technician Jose showed up to perform was substantially different from the one I hired to have done. I accepted such service only under threat of having a lien placed on my home if I did not consent to it.

Mr. Hoffman fails to mention the coercion.

Mr. Hoffman does not address why no one at his office told me that, in addition to the hourly charge, they would want to replace brand new parts, why they would want to do this or that I would have to sign a waiver if I didn’t buy their new parts to replace the new parts I already had. I was in no hurry. I would have welcomed a complete explanation of the process.

The reason, it appears, is simple. A more complete explanation would have made it clear how much more expensive the job would be and it would have cost them the sale. Better to deliver the news once the technician is on the clock at $75 per hour and Chris’s can claim that he sent someone to render service and that if I decline it at that point I still have to pay the $75 minimum or I am the one in the wrong and subject to legal action. Joanne Hoffman said as much when she threatened to have a lien placed on my home if I declined the service.

Perhaps not illegal, the tactic still stinks.

Mr. Hoffman got creative when he compared prices. The technician Jose never mentioned a price for a disposal, only a faucet. "I have one just like this one on the truck," he said, holding my faucet in his hand. The price would be about $120, he said. This was a basic, bare-bones model that you can buy at any Home Depot or Lowe's for around $50. So, yes, the faucet Chris's was trying to sell me was double the cost. Rather than exaggeration, I was being charitable in describing the cost as only double.

(I have replaced the faucet so I don't have the exact model and number at hand but I can ask my home builder for it if we need to verify it.)

Mr. Hoffman also fails to explain why, though the faucet and disposal he wanted to sell were readily available, Jose had to wait 15-20 minutes (on my $75 an hour) for a part I did agree to have installed. Chris's Plumbing Services is 0.75 miles from my home. By car the trip takes about two minutes. I'm sure the meter was also running for the 15 minutes I spent speaking with Joanne protesting in vain earlier that morning in addition to the 15 more minutes it took me to reach her.

The job Home Depot would have done for $270 was a flat fee for the entire job. Before hiring a plumber, I connected the left-hand side drain and pipe to the sink myself and later installed the faucet myself so I ended up paying Chris's $282 for a fraction of the job that Home Depot would have done all of for less money.

I do not expect to ever get any money back. However when Chris's Plumbing Services, Inc. says it values fairness and customer goodwill, I want to make others aware of what this company's idea of fairness and customer goodwill is.

John McQuiston

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I understand your anger i worked for chris