Plumbing 911 / Overcharge for water leak repair
On February 11th, 2010 my wife contacted a company called Plumbing 911 regarding a leak at the front of our house. I believe their main office is located on 312 Brentwood Avenue, Trussville, Alabama 35173. I believe the company is owned by a Tony C. Gowins.
Unfortunately I have been out of town and my wife was at the house (with our 15 month old) when they showed up at 4 pm. Over the phone the company said there would be a $39 service charge for showing up but that would apply to any repairs that would be made. The two employees proceeded with the repair and they completed it by 7pm for a total of 6 manhours. They then called their office and were told to charge my wife $2675 (they had to dig a hole with shovels to access the leak and replaced some fittings). I contacted their office the next day to challenge the charge and I was told that they would call me back- they never did. I called back several times and they finally called me back on 2/18. I explained the situation by saying that with 2 manhours of travel time, 6 manhours of work and $50 in material that they were charging $328/manhour of work. She replied that they charge by the type of job. I asked if that if they charged by the type of the job why didnt they provide an estimate up front. Her response was that didnt my wife ask for one. I wasnt extremely pleased with that response as Im sure my wife was more concerned about taking care of a 15 month old since I wasnt around to help. Is it legal in Alabama for a plumbing contractor to proceed with work without an estimate? To be truthful I probably would have demanded one but I would have never in my wildest imagination thought that this job would cost $2675
We did fail to check out the company with the Better Business Bureau. If we had of done that we wouldnt have used them. They have a D+ rating and if you read some of the reviews it is pretty clear this isnt this first time they have used this practice.
Is there anything that can be done about this company? It is a shame that they have business practices like this and it is even more aggravating that they took advantage of my wife who was trying to care for a child with a husband out of town. I doubt I will ever get my money back but Alabama businesses that operate in this manner need to be held accountable. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.