Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

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cdu7
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Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by cdu7 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm

I just arrived home for the 4th of July holidays to discover that my parents just yesterday paid 580 dollars to have their garbage disposal replaced. The replacement part used was lower quality and this was a job I could have done myself for them in 30 minutes. Plumbers are expensive, but the max I’ve ever heard for something like this is 200 (and even that seems steep).

Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future? I feel like this guy charged more than normal sensing that he could rip off my parents. He works for a big company so if I call and complain could it make a difference?

Wabbit
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Wabbit » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:32 pm

It's always worth a try to call the parent company. However, I wouldn't expect much. I expect that it is entirely the company's choice as to refunding your parents any amount. After all, the company was hired to do a job for a certain price, and they did it. But maybe they would choose to refund some of the price to appease an upset customer (or child of customer).

mhalley
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by mhalley » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:38 pm

You can always threaten a bad yelp etc review, as well as getting local news involved. They love elder ripoff stories like this one.
https://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/02/22/ ... tallation/

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unclescrooge
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by unclescrooge » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:59 am

Where I live, everytime a plumber comes out the estimate is a thousand dollars :oops:

I was talking to a 24 year old plumber who works for a large company. He makes $80k/year and had a 401k plan with company matching. He said he 2 years he should be making $120k. :shock:

GCD
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by GCD » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:04 am

Plumbers are expensive. That sounds about right for my area -- Northern Virginia DC suburbs.

livesoft
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by livesoft » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:28 am

There are likely worse ways that your parents have been getting ripped off, so you probably need to make them feel that they can call you for advice anytime they have to spend money.You are the best person to know how to talk to your parents.

I can see the plumber making 3 trips: One for diagnosis, one to go get the part, and one to install.

Past bogleheads.org thread on a $713 disposal:
viewtopic.php?t=157430

But apparently, garbage disposals are something daughters are supposed to replace for their parents, too.
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yatesd
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by yatesd » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:43 am

If this is in the US, your parents didn't get ripped off and may not have been charged as much as the company needed to be profitable.

Not sure what you do for a living but I assume you make at least minimum wage. If the plumber makes $20, their wholesale burden rate is at least $40.

- $20 per hour (average 30 minutes travel)
- 50 cents per mile mileage reimbursement
- 25% inefficiency (bathroom breaks, training, vacation, talking to your parents to schedule appointment)
- vehicle expenses
- tools
- administrative overhead (whoever is taking the calls, scheduling, management)
- advertising
- rent
- utilities
- taxes (fed, state, local, permits, etc.)

50% margin and they need at least as much as they charged. In our area an onsite visit is around $150 with 1-hour minimum. If your parents wanted to do the job themselves they could have saved money but a company can't be profitable for much less.

Momus
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Momus » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:02 am

Yes, your parents got ripped off.

You can literally buy a new garbage disposal at Amazon + add on the local service tech installation (pay Amazon $89.10 for expert installation and disposal of broken one). I just bought this service myself for my rental 2 weeks ago.

Nothing you can do about it now.

FI4LIFE
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by FI4LIFE » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:57 am

A little high but not awful. How much time would it have taken you to look at the disposal and diagnose what was wrong, figure out what part you needed, go to the supply store and get the part, drive back and install the part? A lot more than 30 minutes.

ponyboy
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by ponyboy » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:58 am

It amazes me that everyone always thinks they're ripped off because "they" could have done it for less.

No kidding!! You can buy a garbage disposal for less than $150 and install it in less than an hour...if you know what you're doing. Is it difficult, not at all...but there are a lot of people who have trouble screwing a light bulb in.

Your parents paid for a service that they couldnt do themselves. They didnt have to agree to the price or let the plumber install it. They agreed to it. Most plumbers arent going to show up and install a garbage disposal for $200. Its a waste of their time. On easy jobs like this, they provide a bid so high, it makes it worth their while if the consumer accepts it. Thats how contractors work. Not to mention all the behind the scenes things you're paying for, overhead, insurance, vehicles, etc etc. Most people have no idea whats involved with running a business.

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Nate79
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:12 am

Nothing.

spectec
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by spectec » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:42 am

ponyboy wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:58 am
It amazes me that everyone always thinks they're ripped off because "they" could have done it for less.

No kidding!! You can buy a garbage disposal for less than $150 and install it in less than an hour...if you know what you're doing. Is it difficult, not at all...but there are a lot of people who have trouble screwing a light bulb in.

Your parents paid for a service that they couldnt do themselves. They didnt have to agree to the price or let the plumber install it. They agreed to it. Most plumbers arent going to show up and install a garbage disposal for $200. Its a waste of their time. On easy jobs like this, they provide a bid so high, it makes it worth their while if the consumer accepts it. Thats how contractors work. Not to mention all the behind the scenes things you're paying for, overhead, insurance, vehicles, etc etc. Most people have no idea whats involved with running a business.
Totally on point! As an accountant who has advised clients over the years who are engaged in the service trades, I was constantly urging some of the startups to increase their prices. Those who didn't usually went out of business after a couple of years. It's astounding to total up the actual cost of sending a skilled, licensed trandesperson to a residence just to diagnose a simple problem. If they don't have the part on their truck, then there's a second trip to the supply house and back. People expect repairs to be under some sort of warranty, which is rightfully expected, so the cost of providing warranty service must be factored into the price of doing business.

I'm comfortable doing lots of plumbing, electrical, and other minor repairs around the house. But I cringe when I think of the day I can't do those things or when I'm gone and my wife must hire people to do them. I can replace a $3.00 electrical outlet or wall switch in 10 minutes, but I wouldn't drive my car to your house to do it for less than $150. Now let's talk about licenses, insurance (liability, medical, vehicle, etc), cost of a truck, warranty, truck stock, tools, advertising, administration, etc.
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by MrBobcat » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:56 am

cdu7 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm
I just arrived home for the 4th of July holidays to discover that my parents just yesterday paid 580 dollars to have their garbage disposal replaced. The replacement part used was lower quality and this was a job I could have done myself for them in 30 minutes. Plumbers are expensive, but the max I’ve ever heard for something like this is 200 (and even that seems steep).

Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future? I feel like this guy charged more than normal sensing that he could rip off my parents. He works for a big company so if I call and complain could it make a difference?
The only difference I can see is the company would refuse to do work for your parents in the future.

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SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:23 am

livesoft wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:28 am

I can see the plumber making 3 trips: One for diagnosis, one to go get the part, and one to install.
My experience has been that plumbers typically ask for photos, and can then quote immediately for simple replacement/repairs. They can also tell you if you need extra parts.

It should be easy to shop around in non-emergency situations (and a garbage disposer is normally not an emergency or even urgent). Also, you can likely get the part yourself (and have it delivered if its too bulky) from the likes of Lowes before the visit.

So you'll still pay for the visit but not for any extras.

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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by onourway » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:24 am

No licensed plumber is going to install a garbage disposal in the vast majority of the USA for $200 unless they are cutting a deal for a friend. They have to come to the house, investigate what's going on, go purchase the appropriate disposal. Come back and install it. You have no idea whether it was straightforward or there were issues that complicated the removal and/or installation of the disposal. They have to warranty their work. The fact that you value your time at $0 doesn't mean you get to think you're being ripped off because a business doesn't feel the same way. $580 might be steep if the disposal was a budget model, but your parents chose not to shop around. $400-500 is the minimum I'd expect this to run.

What does the invoice say, in detail?

FI4LIFE
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by FI4LIFE » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:31 am

ponyboy wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:58 am
It amazes me that everyone always thinks they're ripped off because "they" could have done it for less.

No kidding!! You can buy a garbage disposal for less than $150 and install it in less than an hour...if you know what you're doing. Is it difficult, not at all...but there are a lot of people who have trouble screwing a light bulb in.

Your parents paid for a service that they couldnt do themselves. They didnt have to agree to the price or let the plumber install it. They agreed to it. Most plumbers arent going to show up and install a garbage disposal for $200. Its a waste of their time. On easy jobs like this, they provide a bid so high, it makes it worth their while if the consumer accepts it. Thats how contractors work. Not to mention all the behind the scenes things you're paying for, overhead, insurance, vehicles, etc etc. Most people have no idea whats involved with running a business.
Exactly. This is why I got out of the home improvement business. I don't have the personality to deal with unreasonable customers.

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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:34 am

cdu7 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm
I just arrived home for the 4th of July holidays to discover that my parents just yesterday paid 580 dollars to have their garbage disposal replaced. The replacement part used was lower quality and this was a job I could have done myself for them in 30 minutes. Plumbers are expensive, but the max I’ve ever heard for something like this is 200 (and even that seems steep).

Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future? I feel like this guy charged more than normal sensing that he could rip off my parents. He works for a big company so if I call and complain could it make a difference?
Assuming they have have a working disposal, they weren't ripped off. Perhaps they didn't pay the optimal amount but they paid what is in the range of what other people pay. Parents doing things you don't consider optimal is something you have to get used to and accept - it's part of life. Some day your kids will have to bite their lips when you do things they think are incredibly stupid too. If they're older than five they're probably already doing that.

I've replaced a couple of disposals and each one took me hours, not even including researching and choose a model. Maybe if I had more experience it would take me less, although I seem to recall that just getting under and then out from under the sink seemed to take hours.

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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by abner kravitz » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:45 am

Momus wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:02 am
You can literally buy a new garbage disposal at Amazon + add on the local service tech installation (pay Amazon $89.10 for expert installation and disposal of broken one). I just bought this service myself for my rental 2 weeks ago.
This interested me so I checked it out. Unfortunately, all I got for all the services they offer was "sorry, no techs in your area". It sounds like a good service, but sounds like the area it is available in is limited.

Other than something like this, I think the expectation of a $200 garbage disposal replacement is a little unrealistic, although $580 does sound high.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:47 am

Comparing DIYer's costs to a tradesperson's cost is an exercise in futility. Apples and oranges stuff.

OP, while you are at your parent's home, scout around to see if anything needs fixing and do it while they are there. Flush all the toilets, run the bathroom tubs/showers/sinks.

Check their dryer vent, inspect their roof, check their AC/heating.

You might be able to save them a few bucks that way.

I have a plumber coming between 1PM and 4PM to fix a slow draining shower, and a gurgling toilet. For some reason my wife is unwilling to snake the drain, even though her replacement knee will be two weeks old this coming Friday. I fear she is suffering lifestyle creep! :D

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:50 am

cdu7 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm
I just arrived home for the 4th of July holidays to discover that my parents just yesterday paid 580 dollars to have their garbage disposal replaced. The replacement part used was lower quality and this was a job I could have done myself for them in 30 minutes. Plumbers are expensive, but the max I’ve ever heard for something like this is 200 (and even that seems steep).

Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future? I feel like this guy charged more than normal sensing that he could rip off my parents. He works for a big company so if I call and complain could it make a difference?
Nobody got "ripped off".
The defective disposal was replaced with a new one that works.
The drain lines do not leak. Parts may have been replaced or rerouted.
The electrical line to the disposal was transferred over. Works. Nobody gets shocked.
And, your parents agreed to have it done. They were not forced to have it done.

The price may be high or lower than others comparitively speaking.
There's no way to know unless you call several plumbers in your area and have them look at the job and get written quotes. Having "heard" prices were $200 is not hard data.

Disposal replacement is one of those things that are simple on "YouTube" but in reality can go very smoothly or very bad (poor fit, warped sink drain, brittle drain pipes, etc). The plumber comes armed to deal with all of this in knowledge and a van full of inventory, and gets it done. Such is the price.

No DIY compares to someone that does it all day every day all year round for a living, in price and , etc. So comparisons there are not helpful.

Lesson.
What might have happened: Take the sink out of service for awhile. Schedule visits by plumbers for estimates. Then schedule to have it done. Perhaps all plumbers were weeks out backlogged and only one was available and "fit it in".

Yes. You should have done it yourself. But, it is too late for that. However, you could swap out a quieter better unit in 30 minutes if your parents want a better quality unit.

All things considered, it may be slightly pricey but everything worked out okay.

These are random thoughts and meanderings based on personal and professional experience. YMMV. Every situation is different.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:55 am

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:47 am
Comparing DIYer's costs to a tradesperson's cost is an exercise in futility. Apples and oranges stuff.

OP, while you are at your parent's home, scout around to see if anything needs fixing and do it while they are there. Flush all the toilets, run the bathroom tubs/showers/sinks.

Check their dryer vent, inspect their roof, check their AC/heating.

You might be able to save them a few bucks that way.

I have a plumber coming between 1PM and 4PM to fix a slow draining shower, and a gurgling toilet. For some reason my wife is unwilling to snake the drain, even though her replacement knee will be two weeks old this coming Friday. I fear she is suffering lifestyle creep! :D

Broken Man 1999
+1
OP:
The list:
1 Snake all drains. Especially bathroom for hair.
2 Replace toilet wax ring seal and hold down bolts
3 Replace toilet flush fill antisiphone valve and flap
4 Yes. HVAC system, filters
5 Check under all sinks for leaks, drips, any angle stops that are corroding or water supply lines
6. Check to make sure that showerheads and downspout tubes are not leaking, or leaking in the wall.
7. Etc.

All DIY items that can be done without calling a plumber.



*best wishes for replacement knee surgery, especially the long rehab road.
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Kenkat
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:01 am

I’ve replaced my own in the past and while it’s not all that difficult, there’s no way I would do it for someone else for $200, especially if the part is also included in that price. Plumbing is a skilled trade so you are looking at a minimum of $75/hr. to have someone come out to your house on demand. It’s just not worth it for someone to work for less than that. Plus, they have the part in stock and ready to go, so expect some markup for that service as well. $580 is on high side maybe but not a blatant rip off in my opinion.

fru-gal
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by fru-gal » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:05 am

That really doesn't seem much out of line. I forked out about $260 recently for replacing a sink faucet (the new faucet itself was high quality, metal not plastic, but had a scratch on it, so they offered it to me for about $30) just recently. I obviously could have done it much more cheaply myself, since I would only have the parts cost, but I know zero about plumbing and have no desire to learn.

As to hiring amazon techs, I will guess they operate like Lowe's and hire basically anyone vs. having their own employees they send out. Having worked with Lowe's techs, never again. It's even almost impossible to reach someone in authority at Lowe's if there is a problem.

If you said they sent $20,000 to Nigeria, I'd be more concerned.

fru-gal
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by fru-gal » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:07 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:50 am
There's no way to know unless you call several plumbers in your area and have them look at the job and get written quotes. Having "heard" prices were $200 is not hard data.
Plumbers will charge for estimate visits, I think $50 at least. Although they might guess at a price range over the phone.

Helo80
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Helo80 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:38 am

I took an unpopular opinion in this thread: viewtopic.php?t=284148 about a person showing up to an ER, simply triaged by the nurse for basic vitals, and then left... charged $790. I am not interested in re-litigating this thread as it was closed by the staff for a reason (not because I was being an ass).

However....
1) A broken garbage disposal is not an emergency... by any means.
2) There is usually some competition for the trades unless your folks live in the sticks
3) You can go to Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, and I'm sure other places and type in "Garbage disposal" and get a spot estimate of their prices. E.g. if somebody tells me a garbage disposal cost $500+ to replace for parts.... it better either A) double over as a smoothie blender or B) have an electrical Rolls Royce engine in it or C) something else. I think I paid $70 for my disposal, on-sale at Costco.
4) As an extension to bullet 1), America likes garbage disposals, Europe... not so much. There are even some schools of thought that garbage disposals are bad for the sewage system and we as a country need to get away from them.
5) Again, not emergency, your parents could have called you as I would have for a $500+ bill
6) Your parents agreed to the price, or hopefully had enough foresight to get an estimate on the price prior to agreeing to service.

My pet peeve is information asymmetry that is rampant in hospital pricing. However, with the trades... literally while writing this email, I went to Amazon.com, typed "Garbage disposal" and then clicked the first, non-sponsored Amazon link that is "Amazon recommended" (it's the insinkerator model) and then the option for "expert install" is another $110. (The great thing about Amazon, is that if the installer screwed the job up and you had to call a real plumber, Amazon would probably refund you the install fee with proof of a real plumber's receipt).

It sucks, and i agree... your parents were ripped off.... but this situation was avoidable and a good lesson learned.

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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by renue74 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:42 am

unclescrooge wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:59 am
Where I live, everytime a plumber comes out the estimate is a thousand dollars :oops:

I was talking to a 24 year old plumber who works for a large company. He makes $80k/year and had a 401k plan with company matching. He said he 2 years he should be making $120k. :shock:
+1

I live in a LCOL area and plumbers are still expensive. I just got a rental property whole house replumbed. It costs $500 per fixture to run supply lines and DWV lines. I got a sewer line snaked back in the winter and it was $280.

For every 10 plumbers retiring, only 4 are entering the profession. It's going to get more expensive in the next decade or so, unless theres a wave of millennials who want to get dirty.

Coburn
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Coburn » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:45 am

1. Assuming the repair wasn't an emergency, why didn't your parents call you first before engaging outside repair?

2. House call repairs are always expensive...get more than one quote if you can.

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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:50 am

Your parents should have:

1) called around and gotten ball park numbers to install the disposal.

2) when every estimate given was $1,000 suck it up and pay that or call their son and ask him to put it in.

2b) or just not use the disposal
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Jags4186
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Jags4186 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:04 am

OP, why don’t you call the company and ask what the price is for a garbage disposal replacement? If you get back a price that’s $580 then you know your parents didn’t get ripped off. If you get back $200 then you can complain. If you the price is $580 or thereabouts and you still think it’s expensive then you will have learned either one of two things:

1) This company is expensive
2) You’re out of touch with the cost of trades

Personally, I wouldn’t spend 2 seconds thinking about this unless there is *actual* elder abuse. Not just “I think my mom got a bad price on a job”.

dbr
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by dbr » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:19 am

You didn't say how much of the price was the garbage disposal itself, which is hardly a "part." You did evaluate that it was an inferior model. A top of the line disposal with higher HP motor can be as much as $300. A cheap model can be under $100. We recently bought a new garbage disposal which was installed by the appliance store. Due to different configuration there was a lot of plumbing re-do under the sink that cost an extra $150 just for that. All said that price does sound high. Rip-off might be the case. Maybe they should have inquired at an appliance store for a replacement disposal. One does not usually just call a plumber for an appliance repair or replacement.

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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by playtothebeat » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:21 am

Ripped off? Let’s say they paid an extra 100 or 200 if you think the “market price” is lower. Fine.
You say you just arrived home for the holiday. Presumably your parents wanted to make sure they had a functioning kitchen before the family comes for the long weekend. And they didn’t want you to have to run around for parts, have to figure out the install etc. Perhaps the $100-200 is just not a material amount to them?

FYI I think the price is not unreasonable for a replacement with parts and labor on what I assume was somewhat of a short notice before a holiday weekend.

Don’t be the guy that writes a negative review because YOU feel it is an unfair price and you can do it cheaper. That’s apples and oranges. Ask your parents if they’re satisfied with the service.

HomeStretch
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Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:30 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:50 am
cdu7 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm
I just arrived home for the 4th of July holidays to discover that my parents just yesterday paid 580 dollars to have their garbage disposal replaced. The replacement part used was lower quality and this was a job I could have done myself for them in 30 minutes. Plumbers are expensive, but the max I’ve ever heard for something like this is 200 (and even that seems steep).

Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future? I feel like this guy charged more than normal sensing that he could rip off my parents. He works for a big company so if I call and complain could it make a difference?
Nobody got "ripped off".
The defective disposal was replaced with a new one that works.
The drain lines do not leak. Parts may have been replaced or rerouted.
The electrical line to the disposal was transferred over. Works. Nobody gets shocked.
And, your parents agreed to have it done. They were not forced to have it done.

The price may be high or lower than others comparitively speaking.
There's no way to know unless you call several plumbers in your area and have them look at the job and get written quotes. Having "heard" prices were $200 is not hard data.

Disposal replacement is one of those things that are simple on "YouTube" but in reality can go very smoothly or very bad (poor fit, warped sink drain, brittle drain pipes, etc). The plumber comes armed to deal with all of this in knowledge and a van full of inventory, and gets it done. Such is the price.

No DIY compares to someone that does it all day every day all year round for a living, in price and , etc. So comparisons there are not helpful.

Lesson.
What might have happened: Take the sink out of service for awhile. Schedule visits by plumbers for estimates. Then schedule to have it done. Perhaps all plumbers were weeks out backlogged and only one was available and "fit it in".

Yes. You should have done it yourself. But, it is too late for that. However, you could swap out a quieter better unit in 30 minutes if your parents want a better quality unit.

All things considered, it may be slightly pricey but everything worked out okay.

These are random thoughts and meanderings based on personal and professional experience. YMMV. Every situation is different.
j. :happy
+1.

Check anything else that requires a ladder so your parents aren’t climbing one.
- replace lightbulbs
- working batteries in thermostats, CO/smoke detectors
- check gutters are clear
- check roof shingles in good condition

Wakefield1
Posts: 1041
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 10:10 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Wakefield1 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:31 pm

If they installed an inferior or substandard unit perhaps the plumber should be asked to exchange it and install one at least as good as the old one that failed

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2599
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:33 pm

Wakefield1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:31 pm
If they installed an inferior or substandard unit perhaps the plumber should be asked to exchange it and install one at least as good as the old one that failed
Only if the parents pay parts and labor for the new unit. If the one installed was not what they wanted they should have said so before it was installed. The plumber can't read your mind or know your budget, and did not contract for future free labor.

Cody6136
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:54 am

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Cody6136 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:43 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:33 pm
Wakefield1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:31 pm
If they installed an inferior or substandard unit perhaps the plumber should be asked to exchange it and install one at least as good as the old one that failed
Only if the parents pay parts and labor for the new unit. If the one installed was not what they wanted they should have said so before it was installed. The plumber can't read your mind or know your budget, and did not contract for future free labor.

Consider yourself lucky OP, I live in an area that's booming in SW Montana and have a friend who is a plumber. He has been working for 20 plus years and has just raised his hourly rate to $350. Yes, you read that correctly. His meter starts running door to customer's door. And not one single time has a high-net worth client said, I'd rather not, I'll find someone else.

wootwoot
Posts: 364
Joined: Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:37 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by wootwoot » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:01 pm

So if you call a plumber, agreed to have them install something, then paid for said work how is that being ripped off?

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 2599
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:01 pm

Cody6136 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:43 pm
NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:33 pm
Wakefield1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:31 pm
If they installed an inferior or substandard unit perhaps the plumber should be asked to exchange it and install one at least as good as the old one that failed
Only if the parents pay parts and labor for the new unit. If the one installed was not what they wanted they should have said so before it was installed. The plumber can't read your mind or know your budget, and did not contract for future free labor.

Consider yourself lucky OP, I live in an area that's booming in SW Montana and have a friend who is a plumber. He has been working for 20 plus years and has just raised his hourly rate to $350. Yes, you read that correctly. His meter starts running door to customer's door. And not one single time has a high-net worth client said, I'd rather not, I'll find someone else.
Very cool.

I found out my mom paid $600 to have her taxes done whether she itemizes or not. So I talked her (and my siblings) into letting me do them with Turbo Tax. You can save a lot of money by being handy.

Cody6136
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:54 am

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Cody6136 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:13 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:01 pm
Cody6136 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:43 pm
NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:33 pm
Wakefield1 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:31 pm
If they installed an inferior or substandard unit perhaps the plumber should be asked to exchange it and install one at least as good as the old one that failed
Only if the parents pay parts and labor for the new unit. If the one installed was not what they wanted they should have said so before it was installed. The plumber can't read your mind or know your budget, and did not contract for future free labor.

Consider yourself lucky OP, I live in an area that's booming in SW Montana and have a friend who is a plumber. He has been working for 20 plus years and has just raised his hourly rate to $350. Yes, you read that correctly. His meter starts running door to customer's door. And not one single time has a high-net worth client said, I'd rather not, I'll find someone else.
Very cool.

I found out my mom paid $600 to have her taxes done whether she itemizes or not. So I talked her (and my siblings) into letting me do them with Turbo Tax. You can save a lot of money by being handy.
yeah, to quote Red Green, If the ladies don't find you handsome, at least they will find you handy.

Or, to quote someone else...Caveat Emptor

WhiteMaxima
Posts: 1932
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:04 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:20 pm

The going rate of a plumber is $250/hr, plus the disposal cost $100, so total $350 would be a fair price. You can post ad craiglist and charge $400 per disposal to make it even and feel better.
Last edited by WhiteMaxima on Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dwickenh
Posts: 1700
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Location: Illinois

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by dwickenh » Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:25 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:50 am
cdu7 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm
I just arrived home for the 4th of July holidays to discover that my parents just yesterday paid 580 dollars to have their garbage disposal replaced. The replacement part used was lower quality and this was a job I could have done myself for them in 30 minutes. Plumbers are expensive, but the max I’ve ever heard for something like this is 200 (and even that seems steep).

Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future? I feel like this guy charged more than normal sensing that he could rip off my parents. He works for a big company so if I call and complain could it make a difference?
Nobody got "ripped off".
The defective disposal was replaced with a new one that works.
The drain lines do not leak. Parts may have been replaced or rerouted.
The electrical line to the disposal was transferred over. Works. Nobody gets shocked.
And, your parents agreed to have it done. They were not forced to have it done.

The price may be high or lower than others comparitively speaking.
There's no way to know unless you call several plumbers in your area and have them look at the job and get written quotes. Having "heard" prices were $200 is not hard data.

Disposal replacement is one of those things that are simple on "YouTube" but in reality can go very smoothly or very bad (poor fit, warped sink drain, brittle drain pipes, etc). The plumber comes armed to deal with all of this in knowledge and a van full of inventory, and gets it done. Such is the price.

No DIY compares to someone that does it all day every day all year round for a living, in price and , etc. So comparisons there are not helpful.

Lesson.
What might have happened: Take the sink out of service for awhile. Schedule visits by plumbers for estimates. Then schedule to have it done. Perhaps all plumbers were weeks out backlogged and only one was available and "fit it in".

Yes. You should have done it yourself. But, it is too late for that. However, you could swap out a quieter better unit in 30 minutes if your parents want a better quality unit.

All things considered, it may be slightly pricey but everything worked out okay.

These are random thoughts and meanderings based on personal and professional experience. YMMV. Every situation is different.
j. :happy
You can tell that Sandtrap has been there and done that. His advice on rentals, properties, and repairs of same seems to always be spot on.
Thanks for the great info J.

Dan
The market is the most efficient mechanism anywhere in the world for transferring wealth from impatient people to patient people.” | — Warren Buffett

123
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by 123 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:11 pm

Don't hassle your parents about it. They did the best they could. They likely did not want the disposal problem to interrupt their time with you.

Relax.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 8060
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:32 pm

dwickenh wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:25 pm
Sandtrap wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:50 am
cdu7 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm
I just arrived home for the 4th of July holidays to discover that my parents just yesterday paid 580 dollars to have their garbage disposal replaced. The replacement part used was lower quality and this was a job I could have done myself for them in 30 minutes. Plumbers are expensive, but the max I’ve ever heard for something like this is 200 (and even that seems steep).

Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future? I feel like this guy charged more than normal sensing that he could rip off my parents. He works for a big company so if I call and complain could it make a difference?
Nobody got "ripped off".
The defective disposal was replaced with a new one that works.
The drain lines do not leak. Parts may have been replaced or rerouted.
The electrical line to the disposal was transferred over. Works. Nobody gets shocked.
And, your parents agreed to have it done. They were not forced to have it done.

The price may be high or lower than others comparitively speaking.
There's no way to know unless you call several plumbers in your area and have them look at the job and get written quotes. Having "heard" prices were $200 is not hard data.

Disposal replacement is one of those things that are simple on "YouTube" but in reality can go very smoothly or very bad (poor fit, warped sink drain, brittle drain pipes, etc). The plumber comes armed to deal with all of this in knowledge and a van full of inventory, and gets it done. Such is the price.

No DIY compares to someone that does it all day every day all year round for a living, in price and , etc. So comparisons there are not helpful.

Lesson.
What might have happened: Take the sink out of service for awhile. Schedule visits by plumbers for estimates. Then schedule to have it done. Perhaps all plumbers were weeks out backlogged and only one was available and "fit it in".

Yes. You should have done it yourself. But, it is too late for that. However, you could swap out a quieter better unit in 30 minutes if your parents want a better quality unit.

All things considered, it may be slightly pricey but everything worked out okay.

These are random thoughts and meanderings based on personal and professional experience. YMMV. Every situation is different.
j. :happy
You can tell that Sandtrap has been there and done that. His advice on rentals, properties, and repairs of same seems to always be spot on.
Thanks for the great info J.

Dan
Thanks Dan.
Here's a "fun" story.
My uncles had a "few" rentals when I was 12. I worked with them on weekends to get spending money.
Rusted in disposals under rusty sinks with rusty iron pipes (no pvc/abs in those days were given to me because I was little and could lie under the kitchen cabinetry. Everything fell in my face. The drain pipes into the wall broke off from rust. It was nasty. But, it was spending money. How I ended up with R/E rentals instead of going to Med School is beyond me. :shock:
Thanks,
jim :happy
Last edited by Sandtrap on Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tesuzuki2002
Posts: 733
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by tesuzuki2002 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:10 pm

ponyboy wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:58 am
It amazes me that everyone always thinks they're ripped off because "they" could have done it for less.

No kidding!! You can buy a garbage disposal for less than $150 and install it in less than an hour...if you know what you're doing. Is it difficult, not at all...but there are a lot of people who have trouble screwing a light bulb in.

You nailed it!! Should have, could have, would have... DIY is much cheaper if you have learned the skills and want to do the work.

The next generation has no clue how trades are coming back and more and more people completely lack any of those skills... pretty soon it will cost $2000 for a disposal replacement.. because they can change that much if said person doesn't have a clue.

Replacing a disposal almost seems on part with changing a lightbulb.. it is a very basic home maintenance task.

Broken Man 1999
Posts: 2945
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 11:31 am

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:24 pm

Broken Man 1999 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 7:47 am
Comparing DIYer's costs to a tradesperson's cost is an exercise in futility. Apples and oranges stuff.

OP, while you are at your parent's home, scout around to see if anything needs fixing and do it while they are there. Flush all the toilets, run the bathroom tubs/showers/sinks.

Check their dryer vent, inspect their roof, check their AC/heating.

You might be able to save them a few bucks that way.

I have a plumber coming between 1PM and 4PM to fix a slow draining shower, and a gurgling toilet. For some reason my wife is unwilling to snake the drain, even though her replacement knee will be two weeks old this coming Friday. I fear she is suffering lifestyle creep! :D

Broken Man 1999
Well, all my drains are draining, and all my toilets are flushing nicely.

Cost: $279.00.
Domestic tranquilty: Priceless!

My casa is quiet once more. An insignificant price to pay. I am at peace.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

7eight9
Posts: 238
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by 7eight9 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:19 pm

This thread is timely as I had plumber come out today. New kitchen faucet. I bought it at an orange big box store. Installed it myself. Then came the problem. The new faucet came with attached 3/8" supply lines. Coming out of my wall? Polybutylene (PB) with a 1/2" connection (Manabloc system installed circa 1995). So bought an adapter at said big box store. Connection leaked. Tried a couple of times. Couldn't get it to stop leaking on the PB side. So I called a plumbing company that I've used before.

Plumber came out. Had to make a trip to the supply store for crimps. Installed two shut off valves. Additional supplies were 6 crimps, about 1' of Pex, and two transitions between the PB and PEX. Cost? Just shy of $200. Time spent - less than an hour.

Did I feel ripped off? Not at all. Could I have done it myself? I suspect so if I was interested in buying a crimping tool and dealing with the learning curve. I know what needed to be done. I just didn't want to try doing it. Frankly I was happy just to pay the money and have someone do it.

Your parents paid for something that they couldn't or wouldn't do themselves. They hired a professional who did the job requested for a price agreed upon. I'm not seeing how they got ripped off.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.

JoeRetire
Posts: 2807
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:52 pm

cdu7 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm
Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future?
Clearly they should call you for any appliance issues in the future. Sounds like you can do the work quicker and cheaper than anyone they could hire.

Did your parents ask for your help?

Topic Author
cdu7
Posts: 282
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:34 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by cdu7 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:51 pm

My dad called 4 other plumbers who quoted him way lower prices. He became quite angry and called the company demanding a partial refund (he has been doing a lot of business with them over the past 7 years). His complaint was escalated all the way to an owner of the company and they had a 15 min conversation which seemingly went nowhere, but they will call him back next week.

I hope he gets some money back, but I’m not holding my breath.

Topic Author
cdu7
Posts: 282
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:34 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by cdu7 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:52 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:52 pm
cdu7 wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:14 pm
Is there anything I can do now other than warn them to shop around in the future?
Clearly they should call you for any appliance issues in the future. Sounds like you can do the work quicker and cheaper than anyone they could hire.

Did your parents ask for your help?
They didn’t and I live out of town. It happened the day before I arrived. That said I don’t think they thought to ask me.

Topic Author
cdu7
Posts: 282
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:34 pm

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by cdu7 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:05 pm

For all the naysayers saying my dad wasn’t ripped off, he really was. He called this company because he used them for years and trusted them, they had been fair to him in the past. He even has a yearly service contract with them.

When I said 200, I meant the cost of labor, not the part, sorry for not making that clear. Here were the quotes from 4 other licensed plumbers in the area (not random people out of a truck): 325, 298, 315, 310. Notice they are all in the same price range, and notice they are all significantly LOWER then 580 dollars. Yes he was ripped off, it was his fault ultimately, but he trusted someone he had done business with for years, and they abused that trust to the tune of $260+ dollars.

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 20986
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: New York

Re: Parents got ripped off, what can I do about it?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:27 pm

cdu7 wrote:
Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:51 pm
My dad called 4 other plumbers who quoted him way lower prices. He became quite angry and called the company demanding a partial refund (he has been doing a lot of business with them over the past 7 years). His complaint was escalated all the way to an owner of the company and they had a 15 min conversation which seemingly went nowhere, but they will call him back next week.

I hope he gets some money back, but I’m not holding my breath.
Lesson learned- if it’s not an emergency, shop around before you agree to hire them. Other thought to soften the blow, if disposal lasts ten years, think of it as a $58 annual expense.

The real lesson - don’t trust anyone and dump this guy. Your father should do zero business with him going forward. My own local plumber tried to convince me I needed a brand new toilet that would set me back $850 (no it wasn’t made of gold either), I told him where to go stick it. He lost me as a customer. The problem was a $4 part and 20 minutes of my time.
Last edited by Grt2bOutdoors on Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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