Paying the plumber question

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kool_bean

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Had a plumbing company replace a Moen posi-temp cartridge in my shower. Plumber came and was able to remove existing cartridge. Stem broke off but he was able to remove the remaining plastic housing in bits and pieces. It wasn't easy and it took some effort but final result was the cartridge was successfully removed.

Flushed out the valve and inserted a brand new cartridge but when the water was turned on nothing came out of the shower head. Tried another different cartridge, same result. With the cartridge removed and water off, he blew into the shower head arm and was not able to blow any air through. Figured there was a blockage somewhere in the valve. Tried to back flush 100 psi compressed air into the shower head arm to clear the blockage but it did not work. Concluded that the posi-temp valve would need to be replaced.

Plumber spent 2 hours working on the above process. This included calls to his boss and to Moen customer support for additional advice when he ran into the problem. His recommendation was to replace valve. I elected not to do that at that time until I could further investigate my options. In the meantime, the company charged me $200 for the 2 hours of work.

Question: Do you think this is fair? I do not deny that 2 hours were spent trying to resolve the problem but when I was expecting a functioning shower when the job was completed. Having to paid $200 and not having getting the desired result left me feeling not quite right.

Just wondering what the general thoughts are about situations like this. If the company could not complete the job even though they put in the effort, should the amount they invoice be adjusted for that? I'm not trying to discredit plumbing companies or anything like that. Just did not feel like I got anything for what I paid for.

Thanks.
 

Terry

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Sounds fair to me.
The problem may need even more work.

There may be bits lodge in the small orifice between the standpipe and the valve itself. How do you determine that?

If that is the case, how do you repair it?

There are just some weird things that happen,
It's your home,

Why should they come to your home to find the problem for free?

I had one job with a tub shower valve, and I found a small plastic ball in the cold water side. The home had been built in the 70's
Now how the heck did the round ball get in the 1/2" copper pipe?
I didn't even figure it out until the second trip, when the first thing I did, replace the valve to something pressure balanced, was acting strangely.

The reason I replaced the valve in the first place, the hot and cold were inconsistent. The new pressure balance was supposed to fix it.
The little round ball bouncing back and forth was the Joker in the system.
Until I found it, it was a mystery.

Sometimes plumbing is like gardening.
The weeds keep coming up, and you keep pulling them.
 

MaintenanceGuy

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If he spent two hours he should get paid for two hours, even if you stopped him before he finished.

Imagine if the same scenario happened at your job. The boss gives you a project that ends up more difficult than either of you realized. He decides not to have you finish and then tells you that you won't get paid for the work you did since he stopped you before you finished.
 

Jar546

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I agree. It is fair. Work was performed but the job is not done yet so expect to spend even more money in order to rectify the problem. This is all part of the process with troubleshooting first, diagnosis 2nd then the actual correction.
 

Scuba_Dave

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That's the problem with a lot of things
If everything goes right everyone is happy
But if you run into problems it takes more time, time is money
My Moen posi came out fairly easy with a little persuasion

He did the work required
Its not his fault that it became more work then either of you thought
I'd have to say pay him

I had the same thing happen with some plumbing I had done
The plumber saved me $1500 in other costs, but ended up costing $1500 due to problems found after we opened the wall. I was happy to have the problems exposed & fixed
 

max432

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I understand that there can be unforseen problems and as a consumer it is only fair that I pay for them. The reason I too would have a problem with the charge is that I assume the shower was useable even with the faulty cartridge and now after a visit from a professional it is not useable. Had the plumber told him prior to removing the cartridge that they sometimes break apart during removal and if that happens he could left with no water or be looking at a considerably more expensive repair he then could have made a more informed decision whether to make due with the existing one. It is the professionals responsibility to paint an accurate worse case scenario based on their experience and I do not believe that was the case here.

If this scenario had been written as a DIY project gone bad or a "handyman" project gone bad you all would be pointing the finger at how stupid the homeowner was for not hiring a professional plumber and saying they got what they deserved.
 

kool_bean

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Thanks for the inputs and comments. Like I said, I just wanted to get the general feeling for such situations but I do need to clarify 1 thing.

I had tried to remove the cartridge myself but did not succeed. I have had difficulty with Moen cartridges before and so I suspected it could be tough. I did not spend a lot of time on it, I did not hack at it. When it did not appear to be budging at all, I decided to let a professional handle it.

When I called for an estimate and explained the situation, I was asked if the cartridge stem was broken off. With it not broken off the estimate was $95-$125 to remove and replace it. It I had broken it off, then it would have been $165-$225. From my perspective, I decided that I would be willing to pay up to $125 to have the cartridge removed and replaced.

Here is where it gets murky. First, since the plumber (and not me) broke the the stem off, should they have stuck with the lower estimate instead of charging me the higher one? Second, if they estimated $X to do a particular job (in this case, new cartridge, fully functional shower which I would say both professional and customer were hoping for) but the result is less than that (new cartridge, non-functional shower), should the cost remain at $X or should it be less than $X? In my original post, I did not mean to imply that he should not be paid at all for his efforts. For a consumer, would it be fairer be charged at some discount but not at the full estimated price, solely because the result was less than we both anticipated. From a consumer's perspective, they essentially bid on a job with an anticipated outcome but did not obtain the desired results. Yes, I do understand that sometimes unforseen problems occur. As simple analogy, if I bid to mow your yard for $20 could not complete it because my lawnmower broke down (unforseen problem) halfway thru, would you pay me $20 or $10?
 

Frenchie

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Plumber spent 2 hours working on the above process. This included calls to his boss and to Moen customer support for additional advice when he ran into the problem. His recommendation was to replace valve. I elected not to do that at that time until I could further investigate my options. In the meantime, the company charged me $200 for the 2 hours of work.

Question: Do you think this is fair?

Yes.

Just did not feel like I got anything for what I paid for.

You got what you paid for: a diagnosis and a recommendation. You decided not to fix it. Your decision is their fault? I don't mean to sound dismissive, just trying to state it plainly.

Meantime, if you're handy & want to do it yourself, you're in the right place.




If this scenario had been written as a DIY project gone bad or a "handyman" project gone bad you all would be pointing the finger at how stupid the homeowner was for not hiring a professional plumber and saying they got what they deserved.

:eek::D Yeah, right.:rolleyes:

If he decides to do it himself, are you going to help him figure it out? Or just sit around, trying to pick fights where there aren't any? Your call.
 

Cookie

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Thanks for the inputs and comments. Like I said, I just wanted to get the general feeling for such situations but I do need to clarify 1 thing.

I had tried to remove the cartridge myself but did not succeed. I have had

Here is where it gets murky. First, since the plumber (and not me) broke the the stem off, should they have stuck with the lower estimate ?

Quite honestly, the plumber did not break off the stem, there was something wrong with the stem, and that is why it broke off. You, could not get it off and if you continued trying to, the stem would had broken off at that time with you trying.

The stem is at fault, not the plumber. You owe the plumber whatever, he is charging you.
 

Frenchie

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Here is where it gets murky. First, since the plumber (and not me) broke the the stem off, should they have stuck with the lower estimate instead of charging me the higher one?

That is murky. I, personally, would have eaten that part of it. But the later problems, the 2nd cartidge & the compressor, that's still yours, because it's not related. This is just a personal opinion, based on what you've said so far, subject to change with new info... are you sure you didn't damage it when you tried, before?

Second, if they estimated $X to do a particular job (in this case, new cartridge, fully functional shower which I would say both professional and customer were hoping for) but the result is less than that (new cartridge, non-functional shower), should the cost remain at $X or should it be less than $X? In my original post, I did not mean to imply that he should not be paid at all for his efforts. For a consumer, would it be fairer be charged at some discount but not at the full estimated price, solely because the result was less than we both anticipated. From a consumer's perspective, they essentially bid on a job with an anticipated outcome but did not obtain the desired results. Yes, I do understand that sometimes unforseen problems occur.

This, to me, isn't murky at all. You can't hold them responsible for what's outside their control. Unforseen circumstances belong to the house, not the tradesman.

As simple analogy, if I bid to mow your yard for $20 could not complete it because my lawnmower broke down (unforseen problem) halfway thru, would you pay me $20 or $10?

If you're hiring out to mow lawns, the condition of your mower is within your control. Not having a backup mower, is within your control.

It's not like one of his tools broke. If a tool breaks down in the middle of a job, it's my problem. If I discover 20 times rot that foreseen, it's the homeowner's problem.
 
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Cookie

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Plumbers or service repair people, need to protect themselves from situations like this. It is clearly, simple to do, to me. All that needs to be claified, or just simply said, is that if that part is hard to get off, if that part is not budging, I am not at fault.

Everyone who has ever tried to fix something, and finding something hard to remove knows that the part may snap.

That is because there is something wrong with the part, not the plumber or the repairmen.

It is sad, to read that people will state they couldn't get the part off, and yet, expect since a person declares himself a professional he should be able to do something without that part snapping maybe, due to age, neglect, or whatever.

I would not eat that Frenchie. You are not responsible for a part breaking due to its state of condition.

I would just make sure that the customer knows the part may break and you are not going to be liable for that in the event it happens.
 
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WV Hillbilly

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I just have one question . Would water come out of the shower head before the plumber worked on it ?
 

Terry

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I just have one question . Would water come out of the shower head before the plumber worked on it ?

It doesn't even matter. Before the attempt at the repair,
The cartridge was stuck, but intact.

The process of digging it out, most likley is part of the reason for the plugged port.

If you leave the leaking cartridge there, no problem.

I had a full tune up on my van,
I year later I blow a spark plug.
I bring it back and they heli-coil in a new spark plug.
It's a mechanical thing.
The moment I drive it off the lot, it starts wearing.
I expect that.
It's why we have mechanics.
 

Kingsotall

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If this scenario had been written as a DIY project gone bad or a "handyman" project gone bad you all would be pointing the finger at how stupid the homeowner was for not hiring a professional plumber and saying they got what they deserved.

You know what assumptions make of one...

I'm glad that the homeowner is asking this question and now we just have millions more to inform of the weeds we sometimes have to keep pulling no matter how hard our hands are working.
 

Dunbar Plumbing

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You can't blame the plumber for having a faucet that is notorious for problems as it ages.

So often these faucets create more problems than they are worth.


Reasonable thinking by you should be understanding that every attempt was made to correct the problem, and you spendthrifting over the situation is an insult to anyone who works for you as a service provider.


Get the faucet replaced with anything other than a moen, would be a good start. Otherwise you'll be in this same boat again, trying to whittle the contractor down because of a bad plumbing situation.
 

max432

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This answer goes to my original point. As a professional plumber it is YOUR responsibility to share this type of information with the customer BEFORE you begin repairs. Had this information been offered to the customer even at the job site they could have decided to just put in a whole new unit and not roll the dice on the old one or paid the plumber for the service call and advice and been out a lot less money.



You can't blame the plumber for having a faucet that is notorious for problems as it ages.

So often these faucets create more problems than they are worth.


Get the faucet replaced with anything other than a moen, would be a good start. Otherwise you'll be in this same boat again, trying to whittle the contractor down because of a bad plumbing situation.
 

Cookie

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There are sites where you can check before you buy something, it is consumer reports, I believe they check on everything including parts and facets.
Maybe, if you had, consumer reports would had said something about Moen. Just a guess, I don't have my crystal ball here with me. I do take it with me to the mechanics.

I don't understand though, how the plumber was supposed to tell all that stuff to save a service call visit? Would the person be agreeable to it on the phone anyways if he would had it said Moen is junk and just to replace the whole shebang? Then, the customer would had thought the plumber was trying to talk him into spending more money in that direction. Then it would be said, " but you didn't even see it."
 
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Cass

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This answer goes to my original point. As a professional plumber it is YOUR responsibility to share this type of information with the customer BEFORE you begin repairs. Had this information been offered to the customer even at the job site they could have decided to just put in a whole new unit and not roll the dice on the old one or paid the plumber for the service call and advice and been out a lot less money.

While the valve cartridge has problems it is very rare that the cartridge can't be replaced...in all the 100s of cartridges I have replaced I have never had to replace a valve and this kind of problem is unusual...I feel that I would be doing a disservice replacing a valve or talking the H/O into replacing the valve B 4 trying to replace the cartridge...I have never had a customer want he valve replaced B 4 trying to replace the cartridge... if you were asked if you wanted to spend $150.00-$200.00 or $600.00-$800.00 or more plus tile and or drywall work, Which would you want...I offer this, if you say the later then you as the H/O would have bought up the idea of total replacement when I arrived and it would have been discussed...
In all the years you have taken your car to be repaired has the mechanic explained to you all the problems that could possibly occur during the repair...I think not.
 

hj

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valve

I am not sure what happened to cause the problem or whether it really should have taken two hours to diagnose it, and/or whether a new valve is the only option. But since you stopped him at that point then you should pay him for the time. If you had not stopped him, eventually you would have had a functioning shower, although it might have cost $400 or more. Why should he have done the diagnostic work, then not charge for it, so you could call someone else and tell him what the first guy found out. Then he does not have to spend his time and your money doing what you got from the original plumber for free?
 
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