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This is the archive for September 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I have a listing in Wallingford (hip, trendy section of north Seattle) for a cute as a button condo close to Lake Union, Gas Works Park, the Burke Gilman trail and the University of Washington. A couple weeks ago we had an offer on the place and a contract was signed to purchase. After doing the inspection, a couple minor things were noted on the inspection report. The dryer makes noise, and the bathroom sink drain drains slowly. The dryer will be covered by the 1 year warranty the buyer gets when they close on the home. The sink drain needed someone qualified to look at it, i.e. a plumber.

The way our inspection contingency is written in the NWMLS, if a seller agrees to make repairs, those repairs will be done by someone qualified to do the work. While I've done plumbing in the past and know that a slow drain is usually an easy fix, I'm technically not qualified to do the work. (Although, since my seller is out of state, I would have been happy to accomodate this for them) So I had to call a plumber.

If you've been in the Seattle area for any amount of time, you've probably heard Beacon Plumbing's ads "Stop Freakin' Call Beacon". As I did not have a reliable plumber in the Seattle area, that's exactly what I did. As I live about an hour away from the condo, I asked that they give me ample time to get there when they were ready for me. They did. The plumber arrived at the condo just a few minutes after I had. While I was waiting for him, I played with the stopper in the sink and determined that with some adjustment, the problem would be resolved.

When the plumber came in, I told him what I had discovered and after looking at it, he agreed with my assessment. He played around with the stopper for a couple minutes only to exclaim "It's not coming up far enough" He pulled the stopper and showed me where it had worn out and the lever was no longer able to move it far enough up to allow the sink to drain properly. He said "Let me go get a new one" and headed off to his truck. He returned a minute later with a nice new brass stopper. (The previous one was cheap plastic) After 5 minutes of replacing the stopper and testing it, the job was complete. The plumber was there LESS than 20 minutes all together.

I knew the trip charge was $50.00. I know those stoppers aren't more than 10 bucks at Home Depot. I figured he'd charge me for 30 minutes of labor and the whole bill would be around $100.00. After writing up the bill, he comes out of his truck and says "Now don't freak out on me" (or something to that effect) and I replied "Uh-oh, that can't be a good sign". He shows me his book where this particular job is located. The basic charge for that job is $248.00! Add to that the trip charge, his labor cost and tax and the whole job came to $346.62! Nearly $350.00 for 20 minutes of labor and $10.00 (at the OUTSIDE) in parts. I was completely flabbergasted!

First off, I was supposed to (according to the scheduler) receive a bid prior to any work being done. I did not get that. Secondly, this is simply highway robbery. So I'm telling everyone I know, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE HIRE BEACON PLUMBING TO DO A JOB FOR YOU. THEY ARE A RIP OFF! I guess they've got to pay for all those fancy radio and TV commercials. So, when you call Beacon, START FREAKIN'!

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