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Would you guys say "I've got screwed if you get charged extra hour of labor?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by geek, Feb 14, 2010.

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  1. geek

    geek Minister of Fire

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    I really didn't want to post this but then I said what the heck....

    This is about when my boiler was fixed recently to stop the leaking from the coil area.

    Rep showed up at 8:30am, by the time he started putting his hands on the boiler was 9am (you know, looked at the issue and thinking what he's going to do and then running to the van to get the tools).

    Rep called me at 1:30pm saying he just finished fixing the problem.

    He handed a bill to the wife which states 5 and a half hours of labor plus around $101.61 in "material". Labor was $70/hour. This company is the next town over about maybe 7 miles from my house.

    If you do the math, from 8:30am to 1:30pm is 5 hours, and by the way the wife tells me that when he called me at 1:30 he had finished earlier perhaps half an hour earlier, so around 1pm.

    The parts he used were a rubber gasket and a couple bolts to replace. The order says
    "Replaced gasket and broken bolts on tankless coil. Had to drill and tap broken bolts, changed air vent".

    Material $101.61
    Fuel Charge $3.50
    Labor $385.00
    Tax $29.20
    --------------------------
    Total $519.31

    Please don't take me wrong, I am happy I didn't have to replace the boiler at around $5,000, however I like honesty and like most everyone don't like to see myself being screwed with little things here and there.

    I told myself I wouldn't call to inquiry why I was charged extra time but then said to myself I'd post the question here to see how you guys think.

    $3.50 "fuel charge".......give me a break..!!!

    ..

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    A lot of places charge from the time they leave the shop to the time they get back to the shop so that call would be from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM which is 6 hours.

    You were lucky he didn't have a helper.
  3. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    well, the math doesnt work right on the labor either.....and the materials price seems high, but dont know what the gasket actually goes for, and the nebuslous "changed air vent"....which isnt an expensive part, really.......

    This is a tough one.......I say "live and learn", I guess.......pay it, chalk it up to experience, and dont hire him again if you dont trust him......
  4. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    5.5 hours x $70.00/ hour is $385.00
  5. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    my bad! missed the half hour! Hey, how much are lawyers these days, per hour, and can they fix your boiler?
  6. missrobo

    missrobo Member

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    Feel that if you don't ask for a full accounting of the cost of parts (mark ups are expected) and time spent for labor and exact travel time, they will continue to pad the cost of the bills. If they are a reputable company they will have not problem honoring your request. I won't be a jerk about asking but in a nice way I would at least ask for a more detailed accounting. Just being an educated consumer.
  7. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Most shops also get paid travel time. I did when I part-timed on the service side. They should have stated that before they came out though.

    Hey it can't hurt to squack a bit. Maybe they will reduce the bill some. Worth a try anyway.

    Keep us posted
    jay
  8. geek

    geek Minister of Fire

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    exactly, that's what I was thinking.

    As I said I am happy my expense was not to replace the system, but I don't like when people take advantage, you know?

    It is a reputable company, I'll give them a nice call just to inquire, but I'll move on....

    ..
  9. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Some lawyers could fix the boiler, some lawyers could talk like they could fix the boiler. Finding which of the lawyers is which could be a major problem. The last lawyer fee schedule per hour rate I saw was more than geek's entire bill and didn't include staff time.
  10. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    lol- my point was actually that at least with the boiler guy you got something concrete, and he actually DID something, whereas, with a lawyer, you get nothing concrete, and answers such as "maybe", "possibly", etc, and they cost a helluva lot more!
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    What's even worse Lousyweather is that most of them think they actually do something concrete. I do believe I mentioned their per hour cost factor being higher than geeks entire bill.
  12. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    most lawyers are between $225-$300/hr.........gimme that boiler guy back at a picayune $70/hr!!!! this is probs gonna go to the Ash Can pretty quick now!
  13. breklaw

    breklaw Member

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    Service is usually billed "portal to portal", and it is always in the fine print, but means you pay what it would take to travel from their shop to your building and back again. It is usually billed at the prevailing hourly rate, as that revenue producing employee is just that. This is, and has always been, an issue that is somewhat negotiable. In advance. That being said, and realizing everybody needs to feed their kids, I think if you knew just what was involved with this job, and maybe have ever done something like it, without turning it into a 2 - 3 day job by breaking more things while you were replacing the broken/corroded things, which happens ALL the time, you might find this a fair price.

    As far as replacing the air separator, any service guy that didn't look around for problems while you are paying him to watch the water drain from your boiler isn't worth his salt. If he sees something corroded and happens to be draining that area of the system, and replaces it, he is saving you money. Gar ron TEED!!

    For what it is worth, I have a local small company that advertises 24 hour service come in and give my 30 year old hardly used oil fired boiler a cleaning once and a while. Costs $75 for 45- 60 minutess work. While here last trip, told me the stovepipe should be replaced. How much, I said. He says $75, but I have to get stock and come back- can I do it tomorrow? Yup! No Problem. Came home to a well done job the next day.
    Bill
  14. hossthehermit

    hossthehermit Minister of Fire

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    Last time I had an oil burner serviced, it was shutting down at odd times, hit the reset it would start, usually. Service guy came out, replaced part "A". Three days later, same thing, shut down, hit reset, started, every couple days for a week. Service guy comes out, replaces part "B". Yadda, yadda,finally, part "E" gets replaced, runs fine rest of the season. Bills are coming in from oil company, calling me, I tell 'em, "Hey, when it's fixed, I'll pay ya." Finally paid a $1372 bill discounted to $312 for what actually fixed it. We don't do bizness any more.
  15. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I have a friend who works for a small company, they service and install all kinds of heating systems. He is one of the better folks at handling gas devices, people call the shop he works for and ask that he be assigned to do their work and will wait until he is available.

    He will not leave a place that has any condition that is a safety issue without it being taken care of.
  16. flowercat

    flowercat New Member

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    Here you don't get charged tax for labor. Tax seems high if for only parts.
  17. mike1234

    mike1234 New Member

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    +1 You can ask without being a jerk, or having them think you are one. I use a company to fix some of my major appliance at my stores, and when I see a bill I don't understand, or if my mangers say this is not right, I call the owner, I tell him my questions, he makes a couple of calls, then calls me back and says, yes the bills right here is why, or every now and then, he will correct something. It does not hurt to ask questions, they will not increase the bill because you ask questions.

    And for the travel cost, some do it, some don't. Everyone did it when gas was really high, many have removed the cost now that it is lower.
  18. smilejamaica

    smilejamaica Feeling the Heat

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    for $35.00 i would not say a word . unless he did not do a good job also for 519.31 your up an running with heat, hotwater . you got away lucky they could have told you he couldnt fix buy a new one.just my thinking though.
  19. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Exactly. Anything less than 10% of a new one is to be expected on any service call. I've seen guys physically break something else just to get the uneducated consumer to buy a newer system. If you have heat...then great. If you do replace the system....this tread can remain relevant if you install a pellet boiler.
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