Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Scammed by the Plumber

You expect businesses to make a profit; that’s what they are in business for. You might even expect some of them to overcharge for goods and services, such as convenience stores or mom-and-pop shops. But you don’t expect a well-known operation that advertises on TV every day and touts their professionalism above all else to rip you off.

Well, I learned my lesson. I had a small leak from the supply pipe under my bathroom sink. I’m not handy, nor did I want to get down there and tighten it, lacking tools, so I called a plumber. It was Attaboy Plumbing in Indianapolis. One of their claims to fame is that there is no up-front service fee if they do the work.

So the guy comes out, tells me there will be no service fee and then looks at my pipe. “Oh yeah, that won’t be too bad. It’s pretty simple,” he said. So then he looks through his price list and shows me. “This is the discounted price I’m giving you,” he said as he pointed to what I knew had to be a misprint. It said $147.

“What? You’re charging me $147 to replace a five-dollar piece of copper?” I asked. “Why don’t I just pay you the $89 service fee that you’re NOT charging me?”

He said he couldn’t do that. I suspected as much.

So after I told him it had only cost me $69 in labor to install an entire toilet that I bought at Lowes, he called his boss. His boss told him to come down to the minimum amount they charge for anything, $131.

I had little choice. I could pay $89 for nothing and try to fix it myself, or I could pay the $131. I paid it.

So if you live in the Indianapolis area and if you ever need a plumber, call someone else and pay for the service call. Most places include at least 30 minutes worth of labor in that price. It took the guy less than 15 minutes to replace the pipe. Attaboy Plumbing has a nice scam going on.

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