Waldron Electric, Heating & Cooling — overcharged for services
A couple of years ago I had a company named "Brite House" add an electric outlet to the wall in a room upstairs in my home. They did a good job and charged a reasonable & fair price.
I noticed recently that there was no power (electric current) in this outlet. We had been having a problem with red squirrels in our attic and walls, so I thought that the squirrels may have chewed through wires and shorted out the power to this outlet.
I wanted to call Brite House for this job but couldn't find their number, and they were no longer listed in the yellow pages. So I called Waldron because their West Mifflin office is not far from my home.
I was told that there would be a $65 trip fee. That sounded reasonable because I figured it compensated them for fuel and time. I was also told that they do not accept checks. I later realized that were it not for their "no checks" policy, Waldron would surely have numerous stop-payment orders from unhappy customers.
When the repairman arrived the very first thing he needed to do was to get me to sign off on the $65 trip fee. Then before he could tell me how much this repair would cost, he needed to do a "diagnostic." He had to look up the cost of this particular "diagnostic" for how much it would cost. The "diagnostic" fee was to be $380. Needless to say I was taken aback by having to pay $380 for what amounts to a fee for an estimate.
I told him I would have to discuss it with my husband who was downstairs. We decided that $380 was too much to pay for an estimate, so I returned upstairs & told the repairman we were not going to use his services. I would have been out only the $65 trip fee had he not then said "well, show me where your breaker box is. It might be just a tripped breaker."
I didn't realize that when Brite House installed this outlet they had put it on its own circuit breaker in the breaker box (in other words, they had done the job right.) It never occurred to me that the problem wasn't in the wiring but was a simple tripped breaker, easily solved by flipping a switch. Since we had recently been dealing with squirrels in the attic & walls, I automatically assumed that they had caused the electrical problem.
Waldron's repairman flipped the breaker switch and we went back upstairs to test the outlet for current (using MY tester, by the way, for which I received no discount.) Then he charged me $140 "reset fee" for flipping that breaker switch!
I know that had I been able to contact Brite House and describe the problem to them, their first question would have been "did you check the circuit breakers?" And they would have charged me NOTHING, because that is how honest, reputable companies operate. Judging from the other complaints I've read, ripping people off by overcharging for services ($140 for flipping a switch! $380 to give an estimate) is Waldron's M.O., just the way they make their money.
Needless to say, next time I will shop around and start with a company that gives free estimates and is not afraid to accept checks. Customers who have been stung by Waldron may have little legal recourse, but we can warn friends & family, we can report them to the Better Business Bureau, we can post complaints such as these, and we can be smarter the next time we need the services of an electric repair company. There are plenty of companies that don't need to overcharge their
customers in order to be successful.