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Thread: Plumbing ethics

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Plumbing ethics

    Ethical question
    Plumber is called to install replacement hwh. installs the Amtrol model as requested. Tank begins to leak after 28 mo. from the factory weld at the head outlet. I call and inform him.
    He inspects the tank leak, says he will call company for warranty and replace. A few wks later I hear that the tank's warranty was not being honored. I check out model on Amtrol site & see that tank has 6 year warranty on some parts, a 10 year on others and the option for much longer warranty through Amtrol. I ask Amtrol to run the serial number and was actually manufactured in '83. He removed the leaking tank, installed a new hwh last week.
    Today a bill for $1000 labor. In my mind He never disclosed tank age,and didn't check the warranty status prior to install. i paid him between $3000-$4000 for the first tank and labor,don't feel like i owe him a cent. Over 10yrs worth of various work done for us (paid cash), not looking to crucify, but why should i be paying for his slightly slight of hand. I bet that he didn't charge me the 1983 price in 2009!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    A reputable tradesman would have installed a new waterheater three years ago, not a 25 year old model and passed it off as new. A reputable tradesman would have also provided you with warranty paperwork to register your new waterheater when it was installed. A reputable tradesman would also be licensed, insured, and bonded, as well as provide you with written contracts as to what work is being done and what equipment is being installed. How you paid your bill doesn't affect any of the above.

    What your rights are now will largely depend on whether or not the guy is licensed or not. If he is, then he can lien your property for the amount owed, not an overly big deal until it comes time for procuring a loan on or resale of the property.

    If he is NOT licensed, then he has no recourse should you decide not to pay. He could possibly take you to small claims court, however as an unlicensed tradesman doing business he'd be opening himself up for a world of hurt from the governing establishment.

    Options:
    1 - Pay and forget about it
    2 - Don't pay and forget about it
    3 - Don't pay and report them to your local contractors governing body. Licensed or not, these are shady practices that should be brought to the attention of your contractors board.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    Most warranties will cover the tank and not the labor for the replacement. As far as the tank being 1983 it was probably setting in some warehouse. I doubt that the plumber had the tank since 1983 and he had no idea of the age of the tank. It is a item that wouldn't be something he stocked in his shop. He more then likely purchased the tank for your job. He probably had to prove to Amtrol that he recently purchased the tank from his supplier to get them to honer there warranty.

    John

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    Thanks for the comments. I may split it with him, since he has been my plumber for a long time and i don't want to burn a bridge. Although this is the last new work that i can ever send his way.
    His father was a plumber and passed around 2000. I have a feeling that Dad bought this tank and it sat for a couple of decades. Amtrol was shocked when i read theserial number to them earlier today! Cheers. Lesson learned, consumer sadly must be a pitbull or suffer the consequences.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    Even if the tank was made in 2012 there would have been no difference in what it would have cost you to replace the tank. It's a sad fact but warranties don't cover labor. This is true of just about everything we purchase. What did the plumber do wrong? Why should he eat the labor?

    John

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by SLM View Post
    Lesson learned, consumer sadly must be a pitbull or suffer the consequences.
    You don't have to be a pitbull, but you do have to be smart to protect yourself. You do that by always using a licensed professional and getting at least three quotes for any work you want done. Even if you continue to use the same guy, this keeps them honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o View Post
    Even if the tank was made in 2012 there would have been no difference in what it would have cost you to replace the tank. It's a sad fact but warranties don't cover labor. This is true of just about everything we purchase. What did the plumber do wrong? Why should he eat the labor?
    Good points, though I don't believe we have the whole story. If everything is on the level, then replacement labor cost is reasonable and the plumber shouldn't have to eat anything. If things are not Kosher, then maybe a review of the ethics involved is the right course of action and a lesson learned by all involved is the better way to go.

    Again, I don't think all the facts have been put on the table.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    Howdy two issues here. One is the age of the tank. The new tank - is it a new one per the manufacturer?

    The other a fair labor rate for work done. So consider calling another plumber and ask what the labor rate would be for the work done. Armed with this contact the plumber and share what you know about the tank and ask for an explanation. You'll have to then make a decision once you have the plumbers version.

    If it was a used tank you having to pay its replacement labor is something for negation because the likely hood of incurring any replacement cost for a new tank failing is very low - contact the manufacturer about new tanks failure rates so you can relay it to the plumber. Hows that go knowledge is power- get the hint?
    Any an all of my comments are just my opinion and not to be confused with facts.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
    Howdy two issues here. One is the age of the tank. The new tank - is it a new one per the manufacturer?

    The other a fair labor rate for work done. So consider calling another plumber and ask what the labor rate would be for the work done. Armed with this contact the plumber and share what you know about the tank and ask for an explanation. You'll have to then make a decision once you have the plumbers version.

    If it was a used tank you having to pay its replacement labor is something for negation because the likely hood of incurring any replacement cost for a new tank failing is very low - contact the manufacturer about new tanks failure rates so you can relay it to the plumber. Hows that go knowledge is power- get the hint?
    I don't think I would have very much faith in a quote given with the knowledge that the work has already been done. Any reputable plumber wouldn't give a price on this type job with out seeing it first.

    John

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by SLM View Post
    Ethical question
    Plumber installs the Amtrol model as requested. Tank begins to leak after 28 mo. from the factory weld at the head outlet. I call and inform him.
    I ask Amtrol to run the serial number and was actually manufactured in '83. He removed the leaking tank, installed a new hwh last week.
    Today a bill for $1000 labor. In my mind He never disclosed tank age,and didn't check the warranty status prior to install. i paid him between $3000-$4000 for the first tank and labor,don't feel like i owe him a cent.
    SLM: you seem ready to move on, but I think you shouldn't do business with him any more.
    First, he sold you a stale boiler. You can't tell me he didn't didn't know it was an "older" model -- manufacturers need to upgrade their products either in form or substance or get squashed by their competitors. Even carpenters will say that new wood is "manufactured" differently (more green). He should have disclosed this and/or sold it to you at something like 50% (his cost was 0%) or if he actually bought from a supplier, go back to the supplier and cram down the cost. Just this is ethically bad on his part. Again, the boiler is not some piece of hardware (like solid brass) that "is made like they used to be" -- the boiler has some life span fatigue or obsolecence.

    Second, I never heard of Amitrol and don't know how complex the installation is. There are tons of OP's asking how much for an installed (residential) HW tank, and the general answer is $400 for a consumer brand 50-gal. tank, 1 hour of labor to install ($100/hour), plus permit fees. Again, a consumer brand HW tank installed should be $700 tops. Fortunately, my last experience (in No. Calif) in 2003 was $600 for a 40-gall basic Rheem Fury model, 45 minutes removal of old & installing new, and $94 permit (incl. in $600) and I was crying about the cost.
    Did your guy pull a permit ??
    After paying $3-$4,000 for the first Amtrol tank/installation and another $1,000 on this, I would be walking away and maybe consider a BBB complaint, and definitely get on Yelp.com and yelp a little if I could.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Plumbing ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Brookworld View Post
    SLM: you seem ready to move on, but I think you shouldn't do business with him any more.
    First, he sold you a stale boiler. You can't tell me he didn't didn't know it was an "older" model -- manufacturers need to upgrade their products either in form or substance or get squashed by their competitors. Even carpenters will say that new wood is "manufactured" differently (more green). He should have disclosed this and/or sold it to you at something like 50% (his cost was 0%) or if he actually bought from a supplier, go back to the supplier and cram down the cost. Just this is ethically bad on his part. Again, the boiler is not some piece of hardware (like solid brass) that "is made like they used to be" -- the boiler has some life span fatigue or obsolecence.

    Second, I never heard of Amitrol and don't know how complex the installation is. There are tons of OP's asking how much for an installed (residential) HW tank, and the general answer is $400 for a consumer brand 50-gal. tank, 1 hour of labor to install ($100/hour), plus permit fees. Again, a consumer brand HW tank installed should be $700 tops. Fortunately, my last experience (in No. Calif) in 2003 was $600 for a 40-gall basic Rheem Fury model, 45 minutes removal of old & installing new, and $94 permit (incl. in $600) and I was crying about the cost.
    Did your guy pull a permit ??
    After paying $3-$4,000 for the first Amtrol tank/installation and another $1,000 on this, I would be walking away and maybe consider a BBB complaint, and definitely get on Yelp.com and yelp a little if I could.
    You are comparing prices for a hot water heater. What he had installed was a indirect water heater. They are in no way the same product. And the installation is far more involved with the indirect. I would suggest that before you quote prices you have a understanding on what each system is and the work involved. Making uninformed statement will help no one. Plus it makes you look alike a (well you get the point)

    John

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