advice on sewer contractor

jbmt74May 12, 2010

We just switched over from septic to public sewer and the connection was done by cutting a trench through our basement foundation through the width of our house from back to front. The first day on the job the excavation worker cut the concrete foundation dry with a gas-powered saw. No containment system was in place and our entire house - every square inch was covered in dust and the whole house had a noticeable gas odor.

The contractor immediately accepted fault, put us up in a hotel for five days, gave us some gift cards for meals, hired a restoration company to come in and do a complete cleaning of the house including washing every piece of fabric in the whole house, and completed the sewer connection job satisfactorily.

To say the least, the experience was a huge upheaval for us for a week with time away from work, coordinating alternative childcare arrangements, and unpacking boxes and putting away things that were taken away to be cleaned. All in all I think my husband and I both pretty much had to write off the week for productivity.

The contractor presented us with the bill today. The original estimate was $4500 and the bill he presented us with was $4900. This included about $800 worth of repairs that were necessary on our main water line (they found a leak) and curb box that were not originally anticipated but had to be done to complete the job. They knocked off a total of $400 from the bill for our "inconvenience".

We know for a fact that the company filed an insurance claim to cover the costs of the restoration company ($11,000) and costs related to our displacement (~$1000). So my question is, what is a fair amount that we should actually pay for the job? I feel like the time away from work for both of us is worth much more than $400 as is the time it has taken us to unpack clothes, toys, books, etc. that were removed and reorganize things that were moved around during the cleaning. The fact that all this was caused by complete incompetence makes me not want to pay much at all, but the company did fulfill their contract and do an adequate job. But I definitely don't feel fairly compensated for my time.

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