Paying contractors for incomplete work

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jwblue
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Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by jwblue » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:03 pm

I did a Google search for this topic and saw a lot of different opinions.

A plumber came to our home to fix a toilet and do an inspection. The toilet was not fixed properly. Should we have paid the plumber?

A lot of people say a contractor is paid for their time and not for successfully completing a task. Others say the task needs to be completed in order to be paid.

I am kind of torn. We did pay him but not sure we should have.


:confused

Ragnoth
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Ragnoth » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:39 pm

I think that the "real" answer would probably require a contracts lawyer (or somebody with a formal legal training for the rules of your state), and a lot more information about exactly what was said and done.

There are reams of texts written about what is normally supposed to happen if he promised to fix something and quit ahead of time (in which case, you don't need to pay anything), versus somebody that does a substantial amount of the promised work with a few minor defects (in which case, you might have to pay but could sue for the subjective cost of the defects themselves, although this may fall short of the cost of fixing them), versus somebody who promises to do their best without making any guarantees (in which case you need to simply pay for the time), etc. etc. Most of it boils down to codifications of what common sense would tell you.

I would have paid the guy if I were in your shoes. I would then call him up, let him know you were unsatisfied, and ask if he will do anything to make it right--making it very clear that you will not be paying for anything further. I've seen situations where these types of contractors will try to cut you some slack (free labor, or a partial refund) if it means avoiding a bad review on Angie's List or Yelp.

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pezblanco
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by pezblanco » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:45 pm

jwblue wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:03 pm
I did a Google search for this topic and saw a lot of different opinions.

A plumber came to our home to fix a toilet and do an inspection. The toilet was not fixed properly. Should we have paid the plumber?

A lot of people say a contractor is paid for their time and not for successfully completing a task. Others say the task needs to be completed in order to be paid.

I am kind of torn. We did pay him but not sure we should have.


:confused
You'll probably get a lot of opinions here also ..... I've GC'ed a couple of houses and had minor/major remodels on a couple of more. I have learned the hard way to NEVER EVER EVER pay a contractor until the work is done and a release of lien (if applicable is signed). If you pay before the work is done, your priority to get it finished drops to zero. Of course all of this is contractor dependent. If you have other information, then let that guide you ...

FraggleRock
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by FraggleRock » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:47 pm

You learned an inexpensive lesson.
Get a new plumber.

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Kenkat
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Kenkat » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:49 pm

Once you pay, you lose all your leverage to have them come back and fix the problem. For a good contractor, it won’t matter as they will come back and make it right regardless. There are a lot of bad contractors out there however.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by DaftInvestor » Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:53 pm

Not sure you provided enough information - can you explain how the job wasn't completed?
Why did you pay if he didn't do the job? Was the problem un-fixable / Out-of-his-control?
If he showed up and you had some old toilet that couldn't be repaired for some reason and you didn't want him to replace it he should charge for his time.
If he claimed he fixed it and then you later discovered he didn't you should call him and ask him to rectify the problem. If he doesn't - complaining to BBB and Yelp can cause results to happen.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:26 pm

A plumber who is fixing a toilet is more of a service provider than a contractor, so you might want to modify your Google searches appropriately. A service provider typically has an hourly fee, diagnostic fee, visit fee, or some other such fee (i.e. the "service fee") that is paid regardless of the successful completion of the task. Most will be clear about this when you book the service visit. For example, it costs $55 for my plumber just to come out to my house, and there may be an additional charge depending on the nature of the repair.

Some businesses will come out a second time without charging the service fee if their first visit did not resolve the problem. Have you asked the plumber if they would do so?

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jwblue
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by jwblue » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:52 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:53 pm
Not sure you provided enough information - can you explain how the job wasn't completed?
Why did you pay if he didn't do the job? Was the problem un-fixable / Out-of-his-control?
If he showed up and you had some old toilet that couldn't be repaired for some reason and you didn't want him to replace it he should charge for his time.
If he claimed he fixed it and then you later discovered he didn't you should call him and ask him to rectify the problem. If he doesn't - complaining to BBB and Yelp can cause results to happen.
The toilet flapper needed to be replaced. Water was leaking into the bowl. It is an older toilet and we had the same issue repaired a few years ago.

I guess I thought that was something that could be repaired.
Mudpuppy wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:26 pm
A plumber who is fixing a toilet is more of a service provider than a contractor, so you might want to modify your Google searches appropriately. A service provider typically has an hourly fee, diagnostic fee, visit fee, or some other such fee (i.e. the "service fee") that is paid regardless of the successful completion of the task. Most will be clear about this when you book the service visit. For example, it costs $55 for my plumber just to come out to my house, and there may be an additional charge depending on the nature of the repair.

Some businesses will come out a second time without charging the service fee if their first visit did not resolve the problem. Have you asked the plumber if they would do so?
We called another plumbing company. Didn't care to deal with them any more.

I don't think my line of thinking is really off base. We will pay to have this done. If it is not done than we should not pay.
At the same time I understand the thinking of paying someone even if they do not fix the problem. Everyone has to eat.

Church Lady
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Church Lady » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:17 pm

Not to rub salt into the wound, but even the Church Lady fixes her own toilet flapper. This from someone with virtually no strength, mechanical skills, or training. Youtube and Lowes/HD are your friends if you want to have a go at it. It takes longer to select a new flapper and find a youtube video than to install it.

Someone had to point this out to me, so I'm passing on the favor. Youtube is your first stop for toilet issues. I encourage you to check out this possibility. Good luck!

A licensed plumber should fix something as basic as a flapper if I can do it. Is there something unusual about your toilet? If he won't fix it, you should report to BBB or some such entity. Good luck!
Last edited by Church Lady on Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:8

Mudpuppy
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:24 pm

jwblue wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:52 pm
The toilet flapper needed to be replaced. Water was leaking into the bowl. It is an older toilet and we had the same issue repaired a few years ago.

I guess I thought that was something that could be repaired.
A toilet flapper is definitely not a "contractor". That is squarely in the realm of "service provider" where you have to pay the service fee just to get them to come out, whether or not it is repairable and whether or not it is actually fixed. But why pay for a plumber for such a simple repair. Replacing a flapper is a job that you can easily DIY and save yourself the money. I don't call a plumber to replace the toilet flapper as it's a less than $5 part that takes maybe 10 minutes to replace and adjust, if even.

The most vexing thing with replacing a flapper is getting an adequate seal between the flapper and the valve seat, plus adjusting the chain to the proper length to allow operation without the chain getting into the way when the toilet flushes. It's not uncommon to have to fiddle around a little bit to get everything adjusted properly, but it's also not hard to do yourself. Very rarely do you actually have to replace the valve seat, at which point you might want to call in a plumber.

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pezblanco
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by pezblanco » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:03 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:24 pm

A toilet flapper is definitely not a "contractor".
+1

mouses
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by mouses » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:08 pm

Church Lady wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:17 pm
Not to rub salt into the wound, but even the Church Lady fixes her own toilet flapper. This from someone with virtually no strength, mechanical skills, or training. Youtube and Lowes/HD are your friends if you want to have a go at it. It takes longer to select a new flapper and find a youtube video than to install it.
Good for you. This is one of the many things I prefer to hire someone to do.

dbr
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by dbr » Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:18 am

If nothing else you now know who not to call. It isn't a bad thing to know that before you look for someone for something bigger.

As for DIY plumbing there are lots of things the homeowner can do until he can't. Things of this sort have a way of not cooperating they way it looks in the YouTube video you just watched.

deikel
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by deikel » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:05 pm

jwblue wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:52 pm

At the same time I understand the thinking of paying someone even if they do not fix the problem. Everyone has to eat.
Hell no. If they come out on a diagnosing charge because no one knows whats going on, than yes, I pay the diagnosing charge (and would expect it to be applied as credit to the later bill) - otherwise, no money gets payed if the job is not getting done.

This is where we are heading when we give good grades in school just for being physically present ....

I also would expect any respectable contractor to warrant his work for at least 6 months, so I know he/she stands behind the work done.

Fixing a flapper should be a simple finger exercise for anyone calling themselves a plumber - they should carry the pieces in their bag anyway, just needs a couple of 'one fits all' items to fix in 15 min tops.

Now, if he is than charging you an arm and a leg (aka 'by the hour') for dragging him out to do such simple work, that's a different story - but that's what you pay for not wanting to do it yourself.
Everything you read in this post is my personal opinion. If you disagree with this disclaimer, please un-read the text immidiatly and destroy any copy or remembrance of it.

sschoe2
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by sschoe2 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:27 pm

Toilet repairs should be DIY. You can rebuilt a whole tank for $25 and an hours work (a bit more if the darn bolts are rusted and cause problems).

spectec
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by spectec » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:00 pm

With most toilets, the hardest part of the whole job if lifting the lid of the tank. I think that thing weighs 10 lbs.
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F150HD
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by F150HD » Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:15 pm

jwblue wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:52 pm
The toilet flapper needed to be replaced. Water was leaking into the bowl. It is an older toilet and we had the same issue repaired a few years ago.

I guess I thought that was something that could be repaired.
I have to ask....what did this guy charge to come fix that?

2comma
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by 2comma » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:56 pm

If they fixed it you or he/she would have flushed it a few times and seen that it no longer leaks into the bowl. Did you do that? If yes and it didn't leak pay him. If it still leaked don't pay him - as simple as that. This is a DIY or handy man thing at best so are replacing fixtures and hoses and such.
If I am stupid I will pay.

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F150HD
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by F150HD » Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:59 pm

2comma wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:56 pm
If they fixed it you or he/she would have flushed it a few times and seen that it no longer leaks into the bowl. Did you do that? If yes and it didn't leak pay him. If it still leaked don't pay him - as simple as that. This is a DIY or handy man thing at best so are replacing fixtures and hoses and such.
you should read the first post. he already paid him.

doneat53
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by doneat53 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 8:46 pm

Depends on your agreement at the start of the job. If he said "I can fix this, it should take me 3 hours" and he discovers something hard to predict... cracked bowl or something else... then I'd likely pay him but I might specify up front that he needs to solve the problem and the you intend to pay him for the time it takes to do so.

If he spends less than 3 hours on it and doesn't fix it with no surprises I'd ask him to complete the job before paying him. I might adjust the amount up if it takes unexpectedly long. It isn't digital is the bottom line. Some jobs take longer because of unforeseen circumstances and the contractor deserves to be paid for their time, especially if their effort identifies a problem beyond their expertise.

On the other hand, if the contractor doesn't put in a "good faith effort" and still demands to be paid for coming to your house and thinking about it for some time then I would ask them to finish the job before being paid.

Bottom line is I think these things require some calculation by the homeowner as to the effort put towards the job and a reason for why the job can't be completed with the skills at hand.

2comma
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by 2comma » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:11 pm

F150HD wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:59 pm
2comma wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:56 pm
If they fixed it you or he/she would have flushed it a few times and seen that it no longer leaks into the bowl. Did you do that? If yes and it didn't leak pay him. If it still leaked don't pay him - as simple as that. This is a DIY or handy man thing at best so are replacing fixtures and hoses and such.
you should read the first post. he already paid him.
Understood. I was just saying that from the start it's a simple test - it's either fixed or not. I don't quite get that it's not fixed and he paid him.
If I am stupid I will pay.

wilked
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by wilked » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:00 pm

Please don't pay anyone to replace a toilet flapper... this is akin to paying someone to hang a picture.

Youtube is your friend! Watch a video and you will see what I mean - it is that easy

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Sandtrap
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:20 pm

jwblue wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:03 pm
I did a Google search for this topic and saw a lot of different opinions.

A plumber came to our home to fix a toilet and do an inspection. The toilet was not fixed properly. Should we have paid the plumber?

A lot of people say a contractor is paid for their time and not for successfully completing a task. Others say the task needs to be completed in order to be paid.

I am kind of torn. We did pay him but not sure we should have.


:confused
First question:
There is indeed a "standard of work and professionalism. . to completion" that is written into the contractor's licensing requirements. Also, nearly every professionally written project contract.
In general, the job must be finished, and a reasonable expectation of service must be met. This is no different than having a new home built, a new HVAC system installed, or taking your car to Sears to have tires installed.
"The customer is always right" is not just "old school".
"Callbacks" are a normal part of every trade profession and to be expected.
Demand what you paid for and don't settle for less.

Now. . . . addressing the "toilet flapper" issue. Which Is. . . interesting? :shock:
Get the brand and model of the toilet. Go to Home Depot or Lowes. Find the one that fits, and also a couple of universal one's. They are dirt cheap. Buy the good ones with better latex.rubber compound because they are softer and seal better.
Go home. Slip fit or snap it in place. If it doesn't seal well after 10 flushes, watch, sit there, then try another flapper. Find the one that your toilet likes. Return the rest as "wrong fit" for full refund.
Should cost you less than $20 and 20 minutes.
If your toilet is unhappy with all and any flappers, then install the 2 piece ring and flap kit whereby the base ring installs onto the tank outlet with a peel and stick adhesive and the flap is snapped onto it. It will seal perfect.
Used to do 100's of these on our rentals.

j :D

ArmchairArchitect
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:31 pm

Make sure you write a review on Yelp to warn others. It's the only way this industry (home contractors) can improve over time.

barnaclebob
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:46 pm

These kind of headaches are part of non DIY life. Pretty much anything involving a toilet should be "you get paid when its fixed" type of payment because its so stupid easy for a plumber.

In the time you spend reading these replies you could google how to fix it yourself.

Rupert
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Rupert » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:05 pm

What exactly did the plumber do if he didn't fix the flapper? Did he refuse to fix the flapper or say he couldn't fix it before he charged you? Or did he temporarily fix it but then it broke again? If the latter, then I'd just call the guy (or another plumber from the same company) back out. Every plumber I've ever used guarantees their work for some period of time.

iamlucky13
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by iamlucky13 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:07 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:24 pm
jwblue wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:52 pm
The toilet flapper needed to be replaced. Water was leaking into the bowl. It is an older toilet and we had the same issue repaired a few years ago.

I guess I thought that was something that could be repaired.
A toilet flapper is definitely not a "contractor". That is squarely in the realm of "service provider" where you have to pay the service fee just to get them to come out, whether or not it is repairable and whether or not it is actually fixed.
I would pay neither plumber, nor a cleaning service provider either if they came to my house under a service fee arrangement, but didn't fix plumbing or clean.

Obviously, there are some exceptions, like if it turned out to be a cracked bowl for the plumber, in which case at least he diagnosed it. Or the time we called a cleaning service for a neglected home we had purchased, then found out they only provided upkeep cleaning, not deep cleaning. She was paid as agreed, even though she accomplished almost nothing beyond removing loose dust from the caked on grime, because we had unrealistic expectations of what service she provided. Had she not even attempted anything and left without explaining why, then for all practical purposes, it would be the same as if she had never showed up at all.

I get the sense some information is being left out, however. Fixing a leaky flapper valve should have been no problem for any plumber.

likegarden
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by likegarden » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:24 pm

I would pay for some of the work, there was some work done, and ask for another appointment to complete it.
I just did not pay a pest spraying service because they did no work. A technician visited at the start of November and said that ticks would be dormant then and he could not spray. Though he did a free inspection, and I signed a contract for 2018. Six weeks later - yesterday- I got a bill for $107 for pest spraying service on that November date, and I wrote an Email to them, that since there was no spraying I will not pay the $107.

bikechuck
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by bikechuck » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:00 pm

Church Lady wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:17 pm
Not to rub salt into the wound, but even the Church Lady fixes her own toilet flapper. This from someone with virtually no strength, mechanical skills, or training. Youtube and Lowes/HD are your friends if you want to have a go at it. It takes longer to select a new flapper and find a youtube video than to install it.

Someone had to point this out to me, so I'm passing on the favor. Youtube is your first stop for toilet issues. I encourage you to check out this possibility. Good luck!

A licensed plumber should fix something as basic as a flapper if I can do it. Is there something unusual about your toilet? If he won't fix it, you should report to BBB or some such entity. Good luck!
I replaced my own flapper on a second floor toilet and I did not get the water supply line hooked up properly. It led to a leak and ceiling damage on the first floor which required a paid visit from a plumber followed by an expensive dry wall repair. I wish I had used a plumber for the flapper repair instead of doing it myself to "save" money.

HongKonger
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by HongKonger » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:17 pm

What is a flapper?

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:42 pm

HongKonger wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:17 pm
What is a flapper?
From Wikipedia:

Flappers were a generation of young Western women in the 1920s who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles, and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms.[1] Flappers had their origins in the liberal period of the Roaring Twenties, the social, political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of World War I, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe. :D

Broken Man 1999

Edited to add: My wife replaced a flapper in one bathroom, and a handle assembly in another last month. Both very simple repairs.
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

lws6772
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by lws6772 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:34 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:46 pm
These kind of headaches are part of non DIY life. Pretty much anything involving a toilet should be "you get paid when its fixed" type of payment because its so stupid easy for a plumber.

In the time you spend reading these replies you could google how to fix it yourself.
Saw a guy in Walmart one day in the oil isle that only had ONE ARM and I asked him "do you change your own oil?", he said "sure do, I even built a house! :shock:
Rule 1. Never lose money. Rule 2. Never forget Rule 1.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Paying contractors for incomplete work

Post by Mudpuppy » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:14 am

bikechuck wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:00 pm
I replaced my own flapper on a second floor toilet and I did not get the water supply line hooked up properly. It led to a leak and ceiling damage on the first floor which required a paid visit from a plumber followed by an expensive dry wall repair. I wish I had used a plumber for the flapper repair instead of doing it myself to "save" money.
Why did you disconnect the water supply line to replace a flapper? I don't even turn the supply line off most of the time for a flapper replacement, as the time it takes to swap the flapper out is only a small amount of water wasted compared to having a leaking flapper. I only disconnect the supply line to replace a fill valve, which is a whole different level of DIY than replacing a flapper.
iamlucky13 wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:07 pm
I get the sense some information is being left out, however. Fixing a leaky flapper valve should have been no problem for any plumber.
For all we know, it was actually fixed when the plumber was there and then it started leaking again at some point after the plumber left. That happens from time to time with flappers, particularly if the chain isn't quite right or if the flapper isn't sitting on the valve seat reliably. And sometimes it's user-dependent. My dad frequently causes the toilet to run in my guest bathroom, even though it works flawlessly for every other guest. It's just something with the way he hits the flush handle that gets the flapper misaligned with the valve seat.

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