Ripped off by plumber? - Dripping shower faucet

RudyBirdJuly 20, 2012

Hi! I was wondering if I got ripped off by the plumber. Sorry for the long post. Just wanted to provide some background!

We had a leak from our Delta shower faucet in our master bathroom. The drip was pretty steady - I�m guessing about a gallon a day based on how much was caught in the bucket throughout the day.

We are first time homeowners and we�re trying to learn how to do things ourselves. We did some research online, determined it was the cartridge, and purchased one at the local hardware store for about $40. Unfortunately, the hex screw on the handle was stripped and we weren�t able to get it off. Delta customer service said to drill it off and they sent a new handle for free.

When my husband and his friend tried to drill off the handle, it wouldn�t budge. They were also having difficulties turning off the water to the house. My husband decided it was time to call a plumber.

I was the one who was home during the repair since I�m a stay at home mom. The plumber originally quoted $346 but he agreed to do it for $173 if we supplied the cartridge. He had some difficulty drilling through the handle and eventually had to break it off. It took him more than an hour to fix it, probably closer to an hour in a half. Is $173 a reasonable charge? My husband thinks we got ripped off since we provided the part. We live in Indianapolis but I�m not sure what the going rate for plumbing repair is here.

What do you think? Thanks!

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To do anything one needs the knowledge and the tools. Lacking either usually results in calling a professional.

We call a pro to do a job we either can't do or the pro will do better than we would/could.

$173 may seem a lot to pay for replacing a cartridge but remember... the plumber doesn't live next door. He/she has travel time and overhead just to get to your house. Then there's the hour and a half it took to effect the repair and the tools and knowledge required.

Don't overlook that if your husband and friend hadn't tried to fix it first it may have only been a half hour job for the plumber. Like Clint Eastwood said in Magnum Force... "a man's got to know his limitations"

Consider the $173 tuition in the continuing education of home ownership.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:31AM
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No, you weren't ripped off at all if the problem is fixed. You weren't able to do the job in quadruple the amount of time and you created more difficulty for the tradesman who ultimately came out to fix it. It's the old adage. A tradesman charges $100 an hour for his services, but $150 if you watch, and $200 if you try to help.

This is only a preview of things to come with homeownership. Any labor that you will have to pay will always be much higher than the parts because you are paying for the knowledge and experience as well as the time. So, gain more knowledge and experience yourself if you want to lower the cost of owning a home.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 12:44PM
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What am I missing here?

When you called the plumber he quoted $346 and obvously you thought that was fair because YOU okayed him to do the work.

When the plumber arrives he finds you already have the $40 part so he drops his price from $346 to $173, which is 1/2 of the original bid and now you wonder if you got ripped off?

What do you want, free installation and the plumber to bring you a pizza to eat while you watch him work?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 1:18AM
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