He shows me the agreement to sign. $988!
"What?! This is for real?" I asked. "Even in Alaska this would be very high." They were going to go buy the parts and come back.
"The parts don't cost that much. I'll go to the hardware store and get them."
"OK" he says, "that will make it much cheaper. I'll refigure the estimate."
He comes back after a while having recalculated the bill. Now it's only $488.
"It was $500 for parts?" I asked incredulously. "That leaves almost another $500 for labor? Even if it takes you an hour for each faucet, that's almost $250 an hour."
He points out that since my mom is a member of Mr. Rooter, there's a discount for that, and also a 15% senior discount. That was already taken off the bill!
"OK, I'll get the parts and call you back."
|Silver faucet pops up out of pipe and leaks|
He pulls out a demo of that wall mounted fixture and shows me the part.
"Mine doesn't have this red o-ring."
"That's what keeps it from popping up." Long story short, he finds an o-ring that sells for 40 cents. Yes, 40 cents. Then he gets what I need for the shower. That's a lot more expensive - $8.95.
In the picture you can see two grooves. The lower one has a black O-ring. The upper one has nothing. That's what was missing.
I go home and get the kitchen sink fixed in eight minutes. The shower is a little trickier because an old screw is rusted into the old fixture. So I can't secure the new faucet handle in with a screw. But I made a few adjustments and the shower handle fits on and works. I may do a little more work late.
But for under $10 and less than two hours, this amateur plumber, fixed what the 'professional' plumber said would cost $988.
In my opinion, that borders on criminal. Get little old ladies (my mom's 92) and get a cute young, sweet talking salesman to accompany the plumber, and presto, lots of bucks. Add in guarantees - for who knows how much extra - and senior discounts, and you quickly convince these folks who really don't understand plumbing, that you are giving them a bargain when you're making huge, evil profits.
I don't even want to think about how much my mom has paid to Mr. Rooter before.
On the up side, I saved her $990, which is more than cost of our trip down here. And I met Fernando, who was very helpful, and he will come out to my mom's if she has any other plumbing problems. He said he was flying several times a year to Peru when his mom was older, so he understands.