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Home Repairs - Did I Get Screwed?

ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
edited March 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Okay, so our garage door recently broke. It's been crap since we moved in, we knew it would need to be replaced, and it fell off the rail a couple days ago. Suck, but we saw it coming.

So we called a repair guy who had done work for us before. My wife talked to him. We were at work at the time, but he said he would run out there, look at it, try to figure out a bid, and close the door if he could (it was partially on the rails, still). He then calls us last night, tells us he's working on a bid, and it'll be $75 for closing the door.

Buh? $75 for closing the door? He told us that he would do it, but I didn't think he would charge us money for it, and had I known that, I would've told him not to bother, since we're going to have it fixed within a couple days anyway, and there's nothing in the garage that anybody would want to steal that's worth more than $75.

Do I have grounds to dispute this, or should I have known better, and I'm pretty much stuck paying for it?

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Posts

  • crakecrake Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    If he didn't mention a charge for it, and didn't even give the impression that he would charge for it, then you've got grounds to make a fuss with him. He should have told you, and he'll learn his lesson (assuming you win the argument)

    I would assume he wants your business, so he'll probably give in? If you loose the argument, make sure he knows you're pissed, and not giving him any further business or recommending him to any friends. Should help keep him from screwing other people in the future.

    crake on
  • Chief1138Chief1138 Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Plumbers and the like try to pull stunts like this all the time, unfortunately there's not much you can do it about it. General rule of thumb is to not let them touch a thing unless you know how much you're going to get charged for it.

    If this guy is associated with a repair company you could try calling them to complain about it. If he's independent it will be harder, but either way just make it clear to him that you are not happy. Maybe he's not a total ass and will apologize and waive the charge. There could be some kind of law against this kind of douchebaggery, you just have to decide whether it's really worth your time and effort to dispute it

    Chief1138 on
  • SpackleSpackle Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Call him out on it man. Tell him you were under the impression this was going to be a no cost thing. You said he's done work for you before so you must have a business relationship. Do a little research as well, see if you can find some information on what a repair man can and can't charge for.

    Spackle on
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  • SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Just from the other side, often there is a show-up fee, lets say 40 bucks, and then a charge per every fifteen minutes. If it took him a lot of time and effort to get the dang thing closed, he should be paid 1) for showing up to investigate, and 2) any work done while he was there.

    When he said he would do something and you agreed, the default assumption is that people work for money, not out of the goodness of their hearts. To be the advocate here (I'm sorry you're in an unpleasent situation btw, just seeing it from his side) when he asked if he should keep working, you should have either said no, asked him how much it would be, or agreed to a flat rate. Buddy probably thinks he gave you a deal and did the right thing by you, as his past experience would tell him. He asked before working, you nodded, so he did his part. That was your moment to clarify, and you missed it.

    I ain't saying he won't understand your situation, most guys are pretty understanding, but I would encourage entering into a renegotiation with the idea that he believes he covered what needed to be covered, and that you legitimately owe him that amount of money.

    Sarcastro on
  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I think you’re stuck paying for it. $75 is a rip-off, and I’m sure his reason for not telling you it was $75 is that most people would never agree to pay $75 to close a stuck garage door that’s about to get fixed, but you should never expect or assume that any professional will show up and do any work for free.

    But don’t let this guy repair replace the door, after all, he did fuck you over. Ask friends for recommendations, or call the better business bureau and ask them to recommend someone legit. Garage door repair scams are pretty common (just ask Google!) so it’s good to be careful, and it’s also good to get multiple bids and let the contractors know you’re doing it. Hell, our home contractor just took $5,000 off some work we’re having done just because we mentioned that we’re getting more bids.

    supabeast on
  • khainkhain Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Sarcastro wrote: »
    Just from the other side, often there is a show-up fee, lets say 40 bucks, and then a charge per every fifteen minutes. If it took him a lot of time and effort to get the dang thing closed, he should be paid 1) for showing up to investigate, and 2) any work done while he was there.

    When he said he would do something and you agreed, the default assumption is that people work for money, not out of the goodness of their hearts. To be the advocate here (I'm sorry you're in an unpleasent situation btw, just seeing it from his side) when he asked if he should keep working, you should have either said no, asked him how much it would be, or agreed to a flat rate. Buddy probably thinks he gave you a deal and did the right thing by you, as his past experience would tell him. He asked before working, you nodded, so he did his part. That was your moment to clarify, and you missed it.

    I ain't saying he won't understand your situation, most guys are pretty understanding, but I would encourage entering into a renegotiation with the idea that he believes he covered what needed to be covered, and that you legitimately owe him that amount of money.

    Repairmen are always suppose to tell you the cost before they do something, not after the fact. Obviously people work for money, but if he's already out there to look at the project to get a bid on it and then mentions that he'll close the door for you I'd assume that he's doing it for free to encourage you to accept his bid.

    khain on
  • NexusSixNexusSix Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    $75 is a good chunk of change. You have the following on your side if you feel you shouldn't have to shell out the dough:

    * An oral agreement is a legal contract, but it’s difficult to prove exactly what you both agreed to. I doubt he would want to go through legal hassles for $75.

    * Based on your O.P., the price and means of payment were never agreed to beforehand, nor put down on paper anywhere. Doesn't sound like there's a hard copy of a contract anywhere and you never signed anything, so I'd say it would be pretty hard for him to hold you to making this payment unless you want to make it.

    It could have been a simple misunderstanding, so talking with him about it before doing anything else would be your best bet. If he's actually a nice guy, you should be able to work something out. If he's a complete tool, I don't think you'd have any problems skipping the payment and finding someone else.

    NexusSix on
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  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Bah, you guys are pricks.

    This guy isn't exactly a wealthy corporation trying to scam you, is he?

    Were you in his business, you might also realize that if you can't get at least $55 - $75 dollars, it really isn't worth your time to drive out somewhere.

    Anyway, he said,
    he would run out there
    This is generally interpreted to be a charge only if he says it is
    look at it,
    Same as above. "look at it" is a free service unless they are clear about a charge for it.
    try to figure out a bid,
    Estimates are usually free
    and close the door if he could
    Which likely means you will be charged for labor if he can close it.

    That is how I would have interpreted it.

    Your best bet is to wait for the estimate, and then ask him to credit your $75 towards it, since if he had fixed it the first time, it would have closed on its own.

    Yar on
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Yes, he should have told you, "It'll probably be like $50-100, Ok?"

    But if work was performed after you agreed, then yeah, I'd pay it. Just as you can complain to your neighbors about him, he can complain to other contractors about you.

    I'd say suck it up.

    MichaelLC on
  • SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    khain wrote: »
    Sarcastro wrote: »
    Repairmen are always suppose to tell you the cost before they do something, not after the fact. Obviously people work for money, but if he's already out there to look at the project to get a bid on it and then mentions that he'll close the door for you I'd assume that he's doing it for free to encourage you to accept his bid.

    Being in a position where I show up to fix things on site for people, I would tend to disagree. Sometimes it's possible to give a rough total estimate, but generally one just states an hourly charge and gets the okay for whatever task. If no charges were discussed though, yah, I'd agree it's pretty shady to hand in a bill after the fact.

    It really depends on how this was worded to the guy coming out. If the client (OP) knew the opener was broken before hand and asked this guy to come and take a look at the opener specifically, than additional charges should have been discussed prior to extra work being done.

    But if the OP was like "Um, yah. I can't get my garage door to close? Could you come take a look?" then buddy was there to close the door, and that's what he did. If it came to light after the fact that the reason the door wouldn't close is because the opener was broken, then that is a different and separate job to be performed, with it's own work bid. Two seperate jobs, two separate bills.

    Sarcastro on
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