Customer Review #1:
Date Entered: 2020-09-15
Job description: repair broken PVC pipe
Overall experience: bad
How much were you charged? 1089.17
Was the charge fair? unfair
Comment: 20 June 2020
I sent the following letter to the company and heard nothing from them, other than to cash my check:
Re: Outrageous Bill for PVC Pipe Repair
To the person in charge at Harbor Plumbing:
I called Harbor Plumbing to repair a broken PVC pipe going to a yard hydrant in our garden. The person that I spoke to indicated that they had a hydrant in stock and could replace the old one. I said that I did not need a new hydrant that the old one was working fine. I just needed the PVC pipe to the hydrant repaired. I had already dug out the pipe and had about a three-foot diameter hole to work in. After I was told that no one was available until the day after tomorrow, I cut the broken pipe off square and put a cap on it so we could turn our water supply back on.
I began to have regrets about calling Harbor Plumbing when two trucks and two plumbers showed up to fix a broken PVC pipe at the bottom of a two-foot deep and three-foot diameter hole. My regrets deepened when Plumber Y for lack of a better name, since he did not introduce himself, asked me if I had a supply of PVC fittings since he did not carry any on his truck. I do have lots of PVC fittings and Plumber Z said he had a few in his truck. It is hard to believe that these plumbers were responding to my call to have a broken PVC pipe fixed.
The situation for the plumbers to repair consisted of a capped 1-inch PVC pipe and two open ¾ inch PVC pipes which were part of the irrigation system that were cut to make the hole easier to dig. The existing hydrant with the broken piece of PVC pipe in the end needed to be connected to the 1-inch line, one ¾ inch line needed to be connected to a sprinkler pipe on a post at the edge of the hole, and the other was a spare to be brought over to the post and capped just above ground.
Plumber Y backed his truck into the middle of our orchard and disappeared for a while and Plumber Z went back to his truck. I assumed they were getting parts and tools. The next time I see Plumber Y, he is putting fittings on a fancy green hydrant at the back of his truck. I protested that I had a working hydrant and did not need a new one. He claimed that his work order said to replace the hydrant. I indicated that I wanted to use the old hydrant and he went over, picked it up, stabbed at the nubbin of PVC left in the end with a giant pipe wrench, and declared he couldn’t get it out and would have to replace the hydrant. Later I took the old hydrant to the barn, drove a ¾ inch wood chisel into the center of the PVC, put a Crescent wrench on the chisel blade, and turned that nubbin out with ease. It took no more than 5 minutes to do.
Plumber Y proceeded to prep the new unwanted hydrant while Plumber Z mostly sat on the edge of the hole with his legs dangling in the hole. The 1-inch PVC was cut (the water had been turned off for over an hour) and the remaining water in the system began to drain while the plumbers watched. Since this was the lowest point in the system, it trickled for quite some time. I had a similar problem when I put the cap on two days before, but I propped the pipe at an upslope with a rock, dried it off, put on some wet set cement, popped the cap on and held it for a minute, let it set for two hours and turned the water on. No problems. I suggested to the plumbers that they might do something similar, but Plumber Y mumbled some words about water contaminating the wet set cement and making the joint leak. After much time watching the pipe drip, they finally put a rock under the pipe and made the connection.
At this point I gave up in disgust and went into the house, knowing that the bill for this simple broken PVC pipe repair was going to be unbelievable. I am 84 years old and the only reason I called for help on this repair was because my wife insisted that I not work down in the hole. I sent her out to tell the plumbers that they should just leave when they finished connecting the pipes. I would fill in the hole so they would not have an excuse to bill us for any more hours. Plumber Y told my wife that we shouldn’t turn the water back on for 24 hours, which is pure fantasy. The wet set cement instructions indicate that you can test the joint at 130 psi after 2 hours at 60 degrees. When I went out after they had finally packed up and departed, I found that the two ¾ inch PVC pipes were not reconnected as I had specified. The spare pipe was to be routed over to the post, taken a few inches above the ground, and capped. Instead, it was sticking up out of the ground in the yard at least a foot from the post – fodder for the lawn mower. I requested hat the sprinkler pipe be brought over to the post with two 45 degree elbows which I supplied, but they used two 90 degree elbows instead. I tore out what they did and rerouted the pipes the way I had requested.
Before I choose to contest this outrageous bill further, I feel that I must pay it for the maintenance of my good credit rating. Especially since the invoice indicates that it is due on the same day that it was prepared. The invoice also states that the penalty for being overdue is 0.00% per annum. Strange! Would you please address the following questions?
Why did you send two plumbers to repair a simple broken PVC pipe?
Why did you send a truck with no PVC fittings to repair a PVC pipe?
Why did you send a plumber with inadequate tools or knowledge to remove a threaded nubbin?
Why was I given no alternative to having my hydrant replaced with an expensive, overkill hydrant?
Why does the new hydrant say “non-potable water only’? I connect my motorhome water supply to a hydrant.
Why do you not itemize the materials and labor portions of your invoice?
I look forward to hearing your response and defense of your company’s decisions.
(spelling and grammar as submitted
*** Personally identifiable information removed (JTP))
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