Bishop Plumbing / prices and selling pressure
I once read that you can tell the true character of a person by the way they treat children and the elderly, well you don't want to subject your old mother or father to Bishop Plumbing. They came out when my mother's plumbing temporarily froze and wanted $4000 to remedy the situation. She had already paid $179 just to have them come out which was charged to her credit card over the phone prior to them coming. Okay, she agreed to that.
If you don't want to read all of this, I will tell you right now that two nonprofessionals with a heat gun fixed the problem!
When she got the addition quote for $4000, she called me and I spoke to the plumber, Joe, on the phone and told him it was ridiculously high. He said that he had to get two ice breakers, one he had with him, and the other he said which he wasn't sure he could locate and we would be lucky to get over to the site. I told him I wanted to make some phone calls for some additional quotes and information and would call him back within 15 minutes and in the meantime he could see if he could locate this ice breaker. For those of you who may not be familar an ice breaker is a machine that transmits electrical currents similiar to a battery cable. Ask what the dangers are in using this because I was told by someone else that the pipes can crack and if the meter is not disconnected properly, it can be damaged.
I called Joe within the time period I mentioned and lo and behold, he tells me that he is setting up ice breaker! Amazing not only because neither I nor my mother told him to go ahead, but he found one at the office and managed to get it there and off the truck even though his office is more than 15 minutes away. Keep in mind that I had asked my mother NOT to sign anything and she hadn't at that point. She also told me later that no machines or cables had been brought into the house and nothing was set up outside.
I reminded him that we had not authorized this job and that I had found someone else to take care of the problem. He then informed me that he wanted $325 for having diagnosed the problem and I asked him to leave the bill with the owner's phone number and I would take care of the following business day. He agreed over the phone then tells my frail, scared 85 year old mother who weighs less than a hundred pound that he can't leave her house without a check! Exact words, he can't leave. Then he demands a check for $660 (double what he told me) and has her initial the invoice that she said he was writing out as he and I talked saying that she agreed to the charges.
You can only imagine the words I hve for him. And guess what --- he did not, I repeat, did not diagnose the problem correctly.
Please, if you have frozen pipes, try a few things first. It's not all that difficult and will save you lots of money.
First, located where the pipes come into the house and wrap them with a heated insulation product that you can buy at the hardware store or if you can't get out, use a hair dryer or a heat gun. If the pipes are in a basement or crawl space, try to get the room warmer even if, as one decent plumber told me, you have to use a fan to draw warm air from one room into the subject room.
If you think you have any exposed pipes outside, make sure you check them! In our case Mr. Joe the Plumber did not check our sump pump and did not know that that was the problem. In some cases, esp. where the system has been in place for a while, some of the main water line coming in from the street is exposed- meaning if you pick up the manhole cover you will see the pipe is not covered by dirt, hence will not be under the freeze line. All it took was 15 minutes with a heat gun to get the water going. If you have an exposed pipe like this, it is possible you may have an electrical outlet in the area for the sump pump (we did, but the outlet is not functioning correctly). Get some heat wrap and plug it in during the winter months. (Most electrical outlets accomodate two plugs, one for the sump and another for the heat wrap or whatever.) If you can't get heat wrap, use blankets, even hay. Yes, hay is a great insulator even though I realize it may not be readily available but use your imagination. I am not a plumber, but esp. ladies, do not be intimidated by these things. Ask questions, read books. I've even heard of another plumber charging an old lady $100 to change her toilet seat. Come on. It's two screws and you can buy one at the store for less than $15 with tax!
Last thoughts - I hope this saves some one else money and do not be afraid of contacting your local state's attorney and complaining.
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