Customer Review #1:
Date Entered: 2018-08-02
Job description: replace toilet seal
Overall experience: bad
How much were you charged? $2500
Was the charge fair? unfair
Comment: Angelo Prunella, New Systems Plumbing & Heating
982 Smithfield Rd, Millerton, NY 12546-4508
Phone: (914) 804-9417
Web: www.newsystemsplumbing.com [website taken down after this incident]
Name: Angelo J Prunella, owner
He represents himself as a licensed and insured “master plumber”, but he is not licensed in New York State https://appext20.dos.ny.gov/lcns_public/lic_name_search_frm effective Jan 3 2018
His license in CT lapsed Oct 31, 2017 https://opengovus.com/connecticut-license/261913
Most recent history:
Work was done at my residence on Dec 28-29 2017 to remediate his previous work. There was a leak, water at the base of this toilet. I phoned repeatedly since early December, but he did not respond to phone calls. Suddenly on Dec 27 he showed up without phoning; loud knocking on the glass window of the door. He removed the toilet, saying: “I’ve seen this before.” The lead lead pipe was deteriorating. It needed to be replaced. He said it would cost $2500. I didn’t have a chance to think, it was so sudden, and so expensive, it took my breath away! But friends were warning me that it might be sewage seeping into the ceiling, that would leak from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor, damaging ceiling and piano below the toilet. Fearing the worst, I paid the “deposit” he demanded, $1000. I “trusted” him because we had various other work done by him for 7 years. He was known to us.
However, in this instance, he provided No scope of work, No written estimate. Upon completion of the work Dec 29, he provided no written receipt. No Guarantee.
I politely requested a receipt with itemized labor and materials Jan 1 2018 by email; within the hour, Prunella replied, stating that he would “drop it by or send by email.”
On Jan 3 2018, I phoned him twice; first to repeat the request for the itemized receipt, and again to request that he send it by end of the day. He answered both calls and agreed that he would provide the receipt. This was not done.
When I had checked his website, on Jan 1, 2018, it showed the blue BBB shield logo; today his website was taken down. I regret not having taken a screen shot.
On Dec 27, when he made his “discovery” he explained that this major work was needed because the “work had been done improperly”, but since 2012, all the previous work on this toilet had been done by himself improperly!!!!
On Dec 29, he came with his nephew Anthony as his assistant. Anthony carried the old toilet out, the new one in, and carried the cement into the house.
The job involved grinding out some of the old cement around the toilet bowl to get access to the old lead pipe. Replace the lead pipe. Pour cement, let it set overnight. Install new toilet.
Specific complaints about this incident:
1. Excessive charge: $2500. He told us when doing past work here, that his hourly rate is $120/hr. Total time spent here: 2.5 hours. Allowing another [generous] 1.5 hours for shopping for the cast iron, Quickrete cement and new toilet, total hours = 4. He arrived at 10:15 am on Dec 28, left at 11 am to “get parts” and have lunch; returned after 1 pm, left the job at 2 pm. On Dec 29 he arrived at 11am, finished by 11:30 am. $120 x 4 = $480.
He probably paid his nephew for his time, perhaps $25/hr x 4 - $100.
My cousin does building maintenance in Brooklyn and Queens: plumbing, boilers, carpentry, electrical work. He estimates that the maximum total cost for toilet, concrete and cast iron liner would have been $500. That is generous; with Angelo’s business discount, it would have been considerably less; contractors have 45 days to pay; they are not required to pay on the spot.
Using generous figures, his total materials cost: $500
Using generous figures, his total labor cost: $580
How did Angelo figure I should pay $2500 for this job? He took advantage of a female senior citizen. Code of ethics violated; swindled an elderly person who had trusted him.
A good contractor should give you a quote for materials and labor and should stick to this quote unless something unexpected happens like termites, rot ...
2. Failed to provide invoice/receipt. Consumer protection laws require businesses to offer you a receipt, without asking, on purchases of $20 or more.
3. Failed to provide a warrantee. All the work that is documented on the receipt is guaranteed by law for 12 months unless stated on the receipt/invoice produced. What guarantee should the plumber give to the customer? “When a plumber is doing a complete job, and not a temporary fix, then the plumber must give a 12 months guarantee as any work that is carried out within the instructions and the bylaws then warrants a 12 months’ worth of fairness wear and tear to a standard type of traffic as long as a domestic job has not been done under high commercial traffic use.”
4. Discarded trash improperly in City trash basket - violation of city ordinance. I offered to put it out with my trash, but Anthony said: “that’s OK, I put it out across the street.”
Previous history with Prunella vis à vis this toilet:
1. In Nov 2012, we paid Prunella $225 because of moisture leaking from base of the toilet. Prunella claimed the toilet had been “seated improperly”, and that he would reseat it. However, I had noticed moisture immediately after he had “reseated” the toilet and reported that something was wrong. At that initial step, Prunella should have observed the deteriorating lead pipe, having removed the toilet.
2. Prunella checked the toilet again, Jan 9 2013. His conclusion then was that the toilet was defective, that he would have to “take it apart”, despite the fact that water was from a leak at the floor. He replaced the cut-off valve. Total payment, $375.
3. July 10, 2014 discoloration persisted - leak continued, plumber was called again. Action not recorded.
4. I called Angelo Prunella to the house September 15, 2017 because the moisture seepage persisted; he stated that the leak was due to water “spurting from the tank”; but I did not agree. It was seeping from below; there is water accumulating from the leg of the toilet. Charged me $100, explaining the water pressure in the tank was too high so he adjusted pressure. This made no improvement.
Prunella was here for other work so did not question his integrity at the outset. Complained to BBB and NY State; at his hearing, the decision was to revoke his license; will not be reinstated until he pays $5000 fine. He has solicited "recommendations" from friends, published online. Obvious who they are; apparently he did not cheat them [yet].
(spelling and grammar as submitted
*** Personally identifiable information removed (JTP))
Add your comment, answer, or another review of this contractor.