I recently purchased a natural gas water heater from Home Depot. The telephone operator that processes phone orders told me the installation charge would be $200. He also said there was the "possibility of more charges to meet code". When I asked what code, he said "building code for your county". OK--so I may have to pay an extra $50 or so. When the plumber arrived, of course he found a myriad of 'code violations' requiring new parts and service. I asked him what 'code' was he referring to and who established these charges? He said the charges are "determined by Home Depot" and the code is "the State of Georgia". OK, so what does this mean? Who knows? I was then told that I had to purchase an inspection permit for $50 so that a building code inspector could come out and validate the job. Do inspectors really visit all the homes that install a hot water heater? "Yes, sir, they do".
The final upcharge was $450. I complained and the plumbing company said "Home Depot doesn't charge tax, so I will discount it $70." Doesn't charge tax? It's ridiculous that consumers have to pay $650 to install a $300 hot water Also, the plumber had all of the upcharges printed on one page---to clarify: the plumber just checked off all of the upcharges from a printed list. He knew (and Home Depot knows) exactly what the extra charges are going to be in advance. Home Depot needs to be upfront and honest about these charges when consumers call in for a job that takes no more than 1-2 hours of work because of some "code".