JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Plumber blues

I am gunuinely interested in what you, dear reader, would do.

A couple of days ago a plumber came to our house. He was recommended by a friend, but we knew little about him.

Our hot water heater has been leaking for some time. He took a look, said we needed a new compression tank and a valve. “Not a big job,” he said. “the tank’s around $60, the valve is $30.” He had to come back the next day, which he did. The wife was home. He went downstairs, fixed the heater, handed her a bill for $510—$285 parts, $225 labor.

“What the hell?” I asked the wife.

She hadn’t been there for Day 1, so she was unaware of the original estimate. We haven’t paid him yet, but I’m irked/annoyed/frustrated. This happens all the time in home ownership—guys overcharging, coming up with mystery parts, etc. I’m not saying he necessarily ripped us off, but if you say one thing, then do another—well, I’m not happy.

When we spoke via phone (see above video), he said he’d take $50 off. I told him I’d talk to the wife and call back, just to think this over. I’m thinking of sending him a check for $300 (still too much) with a note.

What would you do?

PS: Music by DJ White Owl.