The most trusted and popular consumer complaints website
Explore your opportunities! Create an account or Sign In

Gillece Services / Overcharged Gouging Obscene Pricing

1 3347 Industrial Bethel Park, PA, United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 412-831-6199

Richard F. Hawthorne
5590 River Oaks Drive
Titusville, FL 32780

February 19, 2010

To: Office of the Attorney General
Bureau of Consumer Protection
14th Floor, Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120
PA Attorney General – 888.520.6680

Pittsburgh Bureau of Consumer Protection
Office of Attorney General
Manor Building, 6th Floor
564 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Phone: 412.565.5135 or 800.441.2555

Subject: GILLECE Plumbing Services: Request for Investigation for Unethical Pricing/Alleged Fraudulent, Unreasonable and Unfair Business Practices


Business of Subject Investigation Request:
GILLECE Services
Thomas J. Gillece, President
Jan Thiele, Corporate Controller
Joe Benz, General Manager
3347 Industrial Blvd.
Bethel Park, PA 15102
Phone: 412.831.6199

Dear Madam/Sirs,

I am writing you concerning the highly questionable business pricing practices endorsed and performed by GILLECE Services at the above listed address. Whether they are committing FRAUD will be a question that you as the attorney general and your counsel will have to determine, however, I wish to alert you to an entire string of bad, dishonorable, questionable, unfair and unreasonable pricing practices being committed by GILLECE Services.

The bill for less than 2-hours of work totaled: $1, 307.87 for a routine plumbing service call which would normally cost $400.00 at the most and usually much, much less, even if the plumber were to charge $90.00 per hour, plus parts!* “Jerry” the GILLECE serviceman left the box that the part(s) he replaced came in. It was a “PROPLUS Waste & Overflow” (Model # BD1522), which is commonly sold at better supplies stores everywhere. At “ABLE’S TruValue Hardware” this same item is sold ‘retail’ for: $23.99 plus 7% tax = $25.67 -- which is the total cost of parts!!

I believe GILLECE is cheating not just my 90-year old Mom, whom has congestive heart failure and was taken gross advantage of, but the entire city of Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania, where GILLECE is offering and performing services, and I believe must be immediately investigated for possible fraudulent business pricing practices.

On February 12th, 2010, my 90-year old mother along with my sister whom quit her job in order to care for Mom contracted with GILLECE services to, “replace bathtub waste & overflow trap, drain & reconnect drain, ” which work was performed by Gillece.

Instead of charging ‘by the book’ and ‘by the hour’ as a car mechanic would do, as “Jerry” the GILLECE serviceman indicated to my sister, when he showed her ‘the book’, GILLECE charges ‘by the task’. (Except with Jerry's argument, they do NOT charge by the hour as do car mechanics!) In other words, GILLECE is taking the most mundane and routine of plumbing services and charging outrageous prices and taking advantage of unknowing and unsuspecting customers through designed and planned deception and in short deceiving the people of Pittsburgh as they did my mother.

On Monday, 15 February 2010, I contacted GILLECE to attempt to get my mother’s bill reduced, speaking to the ‘Customer Relations Manager’, Ms. Susan Cavill, whom quickly passed this responsibility off to ‘Celest’ whom when I called told me she would have to, “…pull the bill and check with the service rep” and that she may know something by, “…the end of the week.” When I further inquired why she, “…just can’t go across the hall and get it”, she told me that the crews do not come into the office every day… (The work was performed the week prior.) She said she would speak to the “CFO” about in the morning. I told her I would call back in the morning. That afternoon when I did call, I left a message with her and since then, have not been contacted. It’s Friday, February 19th 2010, and clearly GILLECE has no intention of contacting me back. And Here’ why!

I checked with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), first thing Monday morning. I inadvertently called a relative of Thomas GILLECE, Mr. Mark GILLECE who has a separate plumbing business, after checking Mark’s record with the BBB. His record showed one (1) complaint over the past 36-months for a BBB rating of “A+”, which any reasonable person would agree is an outstanding record of performance in the community.

When Mr. Mark GILLECE politely interrupted me as I was relating how Mom had been taken advantage of only to tell me that, “…we did not perform that service at that address.” I asked if the 831-6199, was not his number and he said “no.” He would not answer any question concerning them at all, but only said, “Call that number.”

Upon checking again with the BBB, this time I correctly brought up the record of “GILLECE Services” with Thomas GILLECE as president and much to my sickening shock, learned that ‘GILLECE Services’ record with the BBB showed a whopping (114) one-hundred and fourteen complaints over the past 36-months for a rating of “F”, which any reasonable person would agree is a consistently sustained, unsatisfactory track record of performance in the community, upsetting and frustrating scores of good citizens falling prey to this company, when all they did to deserve such treatment was simply do what my sister did: Looked in the phonebook!

Can such a business remain unscathed and beneath the Attorney General’s radar if so many people are being treated so unfairly and unreasonably?

Little wonder GILLECE had absolutely no intention of either calling me back or rectifying the gross billing error since I’m nothing to them but “complaint number 115” and they don’t believe they made an error because they are not in the business of performing reasonable, responsible plumbing services and would rather accrue and average of 3+ complaints to the BBB per month! (I can only imagine how many people are dissatisfied and do NOT contact the BBB! Surely, the BBB complaints are just the tip of the iceberg!) GILLECE Services does not care my Mom lives on less than $400.00 a month and they managed to clean out better than 4-months of social security checks with one-outrageously overpriced job!

As for Mom’s plumbing problem: It was an existing problem that was leaking drops down into the cellar for years. It wasn’t an emergency. It was a routine plumbing job, learned by novice plumbers during ‘Plumbing 101.’ Now, no question, it can be a complicated job. But not Mom’s. The house, though 60-years old, has a direct access panel, just the other side of the tub, in through the master bedroom closet, needing 30-seconds to gain access…after moving a few shoe boxes out of the way. It was a gravity leak. A simple fix by removing the old drain and putting in a new one; no need for heat with new copper pipe, just put in a piece of pvc-plastic pipe, which “Jerry” probably had laying on the floor of his truck and some glue. Truth is, a water-resistant, duct tape probably would have fixed the problem. No high tech, plumbing cameras required either. Less than 2-hours and done – out the door.

(Also realize, to put their outrageous pricing into perspective: I could have flown up from Florida, flew my brother in from Utah so he could ‘help’, stayed at the downtown Hilton, rented a car at the airport, fixed Mom’s minor leak, stayed a few extra days for vacation, charged dinner…and still spent LESS than what GILLECE charged Mom for this simple, basic repair! And…we had our entire house in Florida taken off a septic tank, dug to the street, laid new pipe to connect to the main sewage line, took a week to complete… for about the same price!)

I understand businesses are in business to make money. But not to CHEAT the public just as GILLECE Services sustained track record of performance indicates!

I implore you to open an investigation and get to the bottom of GILLECE Services gouging the disadvantaged and bring this unfair and unacceptable billing scam to an end.

Sincerely,


Richard F. Hawthorne

To aid in your investigative efforts, I’ve included the BBB web link address below:

http://www.bbb.org/pittsburgh/business-reviews/plumbing-contractors/gillece-plumbing-heating-cooling-electrical-inc-in-bethel-park-pa-1246/

Sort by: UpDate | Rating

Comments

  • Re
      27th of Apr, 2010
    0 Votes

    I sympathize and have also had a bad experience with Gillece. I called to get a quote to hang a chandelier in our two-story entryway but the operator said she could not give me any idea and that a technician would have to come to the house. My wife wanted the light put up right away, so we agreed to the visit. When the technician arrived, he looked up and pulled out a price book. He said it would be $740 to put it up or $670 total if we purchased a membership. I laughed out loud and said a few things I won’t type. Because we did not pay this outrageous price, we had to pay $65 for the visit. When we called another electrician, he provided a price range of $175-$275 over the phone and it ended up costing $250. We learned a valuable lesson about Gillece. I don’t know if anyone actually pays Gillece’s high prices or if the whole business model is to earn $65 for each five minute estimate call. Either way, don’t get taken in by this scam!

  • Fr
      20th of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I have to agree also that Gillece is ripping people off, a few years ago I had them come in and give me an estimate to upgrade my electrical service from a 100 amp to 200 amp, I had gotten several quotes prior to theirs, they ranged from $1000 to $1600. Then I got the shock of their quote of $5000. When I asked them if they were going to replace all the wiring in my house for that he laughed at me. I advised him of the other quotes I had recieved and he said that is not possible. I said a few choice words to him and told him to get out of my house. I ended up paying $1000 for the job and it only took a few hours to complete.

  • Wh
      25th of Jul, 2010
    0 Votes

    Yesterday, July 24, my air-conditioner broke and we contacted Gillece to see if we could get a service call that day in Springdale. The girl said yes and I scheduled between 12PM to 4PM which I thought was great. Around 3:30 someone called to say they were behind and could they come between 4 and 7. I agreed. At 6:30 they called and said they were really behind and couldn't come. Did I want to reschedule. I told them no, I did not want to go through another day as I have trouble breathing. My son tried to fix it but finally called a guy who opened his own business last year and has been a longtime friend. His friend told him to check a wire on the blower, it was probably broken. It was and in 5 minutes we had our air on. With Gillece it would have cost us a lot to have it done, according to all the comments I've read since then. I'm glad they couldn't come. It saved me a lot of money which I couldn't afford anyway. Thank goodness for A to Z in the New Kensington area.

  • Ho
      22nd of Mar, 2011
    0 Votes

    What a joke. Plumbers can't afford to charge the same as they did in the sixties! I had them repair my sewer line and they were cheaper than two other estimates. I thought they did a proffessional job and I love the lifetime warranty. I am a customer for life.

  • Co
      5th of Apr, 2011
    -1 Votes

    I would be willing "Homeowner A" is a Gillece employee. do you think quoting 7000 for a new furnace for an average sized one family home makes any sense? As soon as I told them I had done online research they began to back track and said oh but our product is made in america. I don't know anyone who would pay 3 times the going rate just to have a product made in america. I got a quote from Mitchell for 1/3 of that price. They also tried to scare me with carbon monoxide levels measuring high. Why isn't my brand new alarm for this going off I asked?? "I can't explain that" was the answer. Well, they gave me a faulty reading! In the end my furnace didn't even need replacing and was perfectly safe! When it does need replacing I will go to Mitchell plumbing. Gillece really should be brought up on charges for their beyond shady practices.

  • Ho
      6th of Apr, 2011
    0 Votes

    This company has been nothing but good to me and my family. They give a permanant solution, not a handyman fix. They are good people that work there and they even installed a hot water tank for my mom for free because of her medical condition. I know when they leave my house it is fixed correct. Sometimes you gotta pay to get it done right.

  • Pr
      14th of Jun, 2011
    0 Votes

    This is a complaint board. If theres no complain, then don't post. Go to a different review site.

  • Ho
      15th of Jun, 2011
    -1 Votes

    We like to brag about good service as it is hard to find. What's the problem with defending your repairmen?

  • To
      4th of Aug, 2011
    0 Votes

    Gillece came to my house 2 years ago for a $20 furnace inspection. They found $500 worth of repairs, told them to get lost. 2 years later my heating system (which at the time was only 9 years old) is still running like a charm. Have since made sure to use other, reliable, non-### companies. Gillece could care less about their reputation, as long as they rip enough unsuspecting people off to continue their unprofessional business practices.

  • Se
      8th of Feb, 2013
    +1 Votes

    I live in a house my parents purchased years before I was even born. About 15 years ago my parents had some work done by Gillece on the outside sewer line. My dad had complaints like many of you i see on here saying that after the fact he payed too much and he regretted going with them. Until this year when my sewer needed repaired again. Gillece was not joking when they said lifetime warranty. They sent a tech out to look at the problem an within a few days the issue was fixed. We didnt pay a penny. At the time was the work expensive? Im sure it was way more than any local plumber but in the long run it ended up saving us a ton of money. Im sure if we would have went with another plumber they wouldnt have come back 15 years later and repaired the issue for FREE...but this is just my personal story. Sounds like many of you on here are just cheap and too stupid to know or admit it.

  • St
      3rd of Aug, 2016
    0 Votes
    Gillece Services - Ridiculously High Prices
    Gillece Services
    Pittsburgh
    Pennsylvania
    United States

    We had a separated pipe in the basement. The drywall had been removed and we attempted but were unsuccessful in getting it to glue back together. Our water was off, and we called Gillece at 10:30 at night. They returned the call at 6:30 the next morning and said the technician would be out between 8 and 12. He doesn't arrive until 3, and then quotes me a price of $600!! and won't guarantee the work until he is able to check the water pressure, which couldn't be done until the repair was made. An additional cost would have been charged if the pressure needed to be fixed so the guarantee would be granted. I also asked him to quote me a price on a leaking garbage disposal. Price for both the downstairs repair and garbage disposal -- $2600!!! I refused the repairs and had to pay a $65 fee for him to make the visit. We were able to get another plumber that evening who made the repair with Pex and couplers (Gillece repair would have been PVC and glue) for $200. Plus, he noticed that both shut off valves on the water heater were left off by the Gillece tech which could have caused the heater to blow from the built-up pressure.

  • Jo
      3rd of Aug, 2016
    0 Votes

    First of all, it sounds like you had a unlicensced person; (definetly not a licenced plumber) do the repair for you.
    2nd, it also sounds like he had shark bite fittings used for a perminent repair. Shark bite fittings are for temperary repair only.
    3rd im not sure what kind of pipe you have through out your house, but if its polybutelene. you might be on borrowed time anyway.
    polybutelene (gray) will fail completly. Only a plumber would know this.
    4th your water heater will not "blow" because your incoming and outgoing water valves are off, water temp will reach therostat or gas setting for heat, and will maintain temp, if pressure does build up, it will discharge through your relief valve any ways, only a licensed plumber would know that.
    and finnally, repair may very well have cost 600$, but i have trouble beliving a new garbage disposer replaced, cost 2000$. so either your bull ###, or not telling something in your ### complaint

Post your comment