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Consumer Complaints

BBB Accredited Business since 04/03/2002

Larry Downs Jr. Plumbing

Phone: (850) 457-6157Fax: (850) 457-1650

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Customer Complaints Summary

1 complaint closed with BBB in last 3 years | 1 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Advertising / Sales Issues1
Billing / Collection Issues0
Problems with Product / Service0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints1

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (1)BBB Closure Definitions
10/07/2014Advertising / Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint
Does not give hourly rate over the phone the charges $125.00 service call and once arrives gives outrageous price,but says you still owe $125.00
I called his office to get a quote for a leak under my sink the pipe had rotted under the house,I was trying to get a hourly rate but was told it depends on the job,so I asked if they gave a senior discount they said 10% so I set up a appointment which I can't see to clear on the invoice of X-XX-XX two employees showed up found the leak but had to stand around a hour or so waiting on the boss he showed up saw the issue,stated well it might run you 400.00 then said maybe 5,6 or700.00 but you know you owe me $125.00 for my service call.So this practice puts the consumer in a very bad position,Legally he did make a service call but had I refused I still would have been out 125 with no job done and open myself up to the same thing if I called another plumber.They all seem to be allowed to charge these crazy service fee then put their price out of this world and use you owing the service fee as leverage to pull you into accepting their price. So of course my bill was712.50 the senior discount was only applied to the 125.00 service call. The invoice number is 11122 I paid by check in full. This job should have in no way cost over 350-400.00 max but allowing these contractors to not give hourly rates up front puts the public into being sucked into a service call bill and get ripped off in the.e process. The actual job was a hour long.so I feel by allowing contractors these crazy service call fees puts us all in a very bad position of being gouged.

Desired Settlement
A FAIR PRICE for the job with out using service call fees as leverage to getting jobs $300.00 refund.

Mr. ***** ******** contacted ***** ***** Jr. Plumbing Company on June 16th, 2014 and wanted an estimate on what it would cost to repair a leaky pipe under the kitchen sink/ house area. I, ***** ****** (Secretary), informed Mr. ******** that we are unable to give him a free estimate on what he is describing, due to the fact that we will have to investigate the source of the leak, diagnose the leak and determine our next course of action, which would involve labor. I informed Mr. ******** that he would be looking at our hourly rate if $125.00 per hour, however we could extend to him a senior discount of 10 percent. We are able to give out free estimates on things like repipes, sewer replacements, remodels and things of that nature, but not on things that we have to investigate and spend labor time in order to reach a determination. Mr. ******** was in agreement and asked to be placed on the schedule. I put him on the schedule for the very next day. Our plumber & helper arrived at Mr. ********'s home around 12pm on 6/17/14 and began diagnosing the leak for repair, which included crawling under the house. Once, we diagnosed the leak, it was determined that Mr. ******** had a bigger problem than a simple plumbing repair. Mr. ********'s cast iron drain that was located inside the wall and under the house was deteriorated beyond repair. Rather than make a costly repair without informing the homeowner of the costs involved, we then have Mr. ******** an estimate of what we believed the repair would cost. This estimate was separate from the diagnosis fee/service call fee of $125.00, which was $600.00 to terminate his existing cast iron drain & vent located inside his wall & under his house and to replace it with 8 feet of 2" PVC and 4 feet of 3" PVC with necessary fittings. We base our estimates on several factors, such as how long do we believe the job will take, how many plumbers we need for the job, material cost, ease or difficulty of the job, etc. The proce of the actual repair was put before Mr. ******** and Mr. ******** had the option of saying, OK...make the repair or NO, I believe the cost is too high. He still would have been responsible for the service charge of $125.00 + 10% discount due to the work that had already been done to that point. Mr. ******** agreed to the repair and we proceeded to purchase materials for the job and begin repairs. This was a job that required 2 people, which we factored into our estimate. The material and equipment cost was $168.75, leaving $431.25 towards labor, which counts for 1 plumber at $125.00 per hour and 1 helper at $47.50 per hour for approximately 2.5 hrs on the labor portion. We believe this is a fair price. The hourly rate is not so we can "arrive & give an outrageous price", but to diagnose, investigate and determine the course of action on what was a bigger problem than a simple plumbing repair. Had it been a simple repair, we would have proceeded to make the repair and charged him what is our hourly rate, however, due to the repair job itself, after diagnosis, investigation (hence our service call fee), we opted to give Mr. ******** the price, in advance of making a costly repair that he may have not been able to afford. Again, Mr. ******** had the choice to choose our repair price or go with someone else. The service fee was not used as "leverage", but towards the labor involved in determining the issue at hand. I believe it is unreasonable to assume we are to show up, crawl under houses, take fixtures apart, etc. free of charge. Based on material cost alone, if we were to refund Mr. ******** $300.00 on our estimate that he accepted, we would have done this extensive job for only $131.25, which is unreasonable and is barely over our hourly rate (this job took longer than an hour and included picking up and purchasing materials for the job). Mr. ***** did not charge for his time. I take and keep excellent records, which is the reason I am able to be so accurate, even 3 months later. I am hard pressed to understand why it took 3 months for Mr. ******** to express his disapproval. I am disappointed that this is the first time we have heard of any issues and I am curious as to why Mr. ******** did not attempt to resolve this issue with us in any way or even ask questions, as I would have been more than happy to answer them and he may have had a better understanding.. As a matter of fact, Mr. ******** expressed his happiness with the work that we had done and was laughing and joking with our crew. We believe the charges are fair for the work that was done.

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
They did NOT have to take anything apart to diagnos the problem as a mater of fact they took a video of the problem with a cell phone to show the boss who he himself never even had to go under the house to get dirty,as for hours spent on the job the majority of that was his employees standing around for an hour waiting for the boss to even show up,they did not! Give a hourly rate to me over the phone when I called and as I stated previously the price given me was on the job and it went from 4 to maybe 5,6 and quite possibly 700.00 which is when ***** stated you know you owe me $125.00 for my service call, which I felt was leverage because I was already out 125.00 for a cell phone video so I was either left to pay his price or do it again with another agency,at NO time was I given a definite price it was between 4 and 700.00 the only time I knew the actual price was when the bill was presented. Yes I did get along with the laborers because they had nothing to do with what their boss does, so why take it out on them, but I even cleaned up the mess because of his quotes and they left the damaged parts under my house and didn't even remove that.

Final Business Response
I am of complete understanding that Mr. ******** would not accept our response. It is quite clear that Mr. ******** is attempting to use the Better Business Bureau as leverage to get an extensive plumbing repair, which was made under the house and under the kitchen sink, done at a substantially cheaper price than he agreed to at the time of the service. I understand that the Better Business Bureau is in place to protect the consumer, however, I believe, in this case at least, that the Better Business Bureau is being used as a weapon against our business. Mr. ******** stated that "they took a video of the problem with a cell phone...." Obviously, we had to crawl under a dirty and obviously wet environment, due to his decomposing drain system to see why his kitchen sink was leaking. When we get a call wondering what it would cost to repair a leaking sink, toilet, tub, etc., my response is always the same. We cannot give you a price, due to the fact we do not know why it is leaking. I hate to call anyone a liar, as I would always like to assume the best in people, however, in this case, Mr. ******** is definitely bending the truth to get a refund on a major repair so that he can receive plumbing work at a much discounted rate. Our hourly rate is $125.00 per hour. Mr. ******** knew what our rate was when he called this office because I gave it to him. The hourly rate would have been sufficient, if we were repairing a faucet or a minor leak under his sink, a p-trap that needed to be replaced, etc., however, once again, this was not the case. This man's kitchen sink cast iron drain lines had deteriorated beyond repair located inside the wall and was causing damage and would have caused substantial damage to his home without repair. We had 2 men on the job at all times. It would be nice to have a "genie in a bottle" to tell us exactly what we would find before we arrived on the job site to determine what we needed to do to repair his "leaking sink" and be able to give him an exact price on the phone, before we have even had a chance to look at what his repair problem was, but unfortunately, no such thing exists. Therefore, naturally there was no way possible we could have known what it would have cost before we arrived on job site. Any reasonable person would know this. We are obviously not dealing with a reasonable person. The plumbers did not have to sit around and wait for an hour for *****, as ***** showed up on the job site within 15 minutes of the call. There would be no reason for ***** to "crawl under his house", when our plumber is perfectly capable of investigating and repairing the decomposing drain. The plumber and his helper had already been there for an hour before they even put a call in to *****, all the while doing an investigation of the leak . In addition to the time spent under Mr. ********'s house, they also spent time under his kitchen sink cabinets so that they could determine what the best course of action was for the repair of the drain. The reason Mr. ***** was called to the job was because our technicians realized this was much bigger than a simple plumbing repair and so they called ***** in so that ***** could access the situation and give a fair price for the work that needed to be done. I am reiterating, once again, that *****'s time was not charged. The service call fee of $125.00 is our hourly rate. Every customer must pay our hourly rate (Mr. ******** was not singled out) and if we find a bigger issue, it is customary to let the customer know what we found and what it will cost to repair it. This is a standard practice. Mr. ********, once again, had the option to refuse the estimate that was put before him and he approved the estimate of $600.00 to repair/replace his drain lines under the kitchen sink and under his house. We were on the job at least 4 hours, not 1 hour as he states, even so, the hourly rate didn't count, as Mr. ******** was given an estimate of repairs. Whether the job took 4 hours, 8 hours, 15 hours, etc.....It would not have mattered, as Mr. ******** was given an estimate, which he approved. ***** ***** also left the 2 men on the job, while he went and picked up materials for this substantial repair. I am sure even Mr. ******** understands operating costs, even if he does not run his own business. Unfortunately, fuel for vehicles is not free, nor is general liability insurance, worker's comp insurance, administrative fees, payroll costs, etc. For example, *****, at the time of that call for just one hour, is paying around $50.00 for employees, worker's comp, etc alone. That excludes fuel for the plumbing trucks, insurance and operating costs. That leaves $75.00 to cover remaining overhead.....remove fuels costs of nearly $100.00 per day and you can deduct another $10.00 or so from the $75.00, deduct insurance, utilities, plumbing equipment, vehicle upkeep, etc., that leaves around $35.00 or so. Not to mention cell phones, advertising, taxes, etc. Obviously, ***** is not making a huge profit after operating costs and overhead. It is absurd for Mr. ******** to expect us to do a job, such as his for $300.00. Subtract the materials from that $300.00 and we just did the job for $131.25, subtract the payroll for the two men on job, plus administrative and we just did the job for $6.25. I did not even include the gas to get there and pick up materials for the job. If I were to add that cost in, ***** basically did this job for free and at a cost to himself. I am hard pressed to understand how any reasonable person would expect a job of that nature to cost $300.00 with labor and materials. It is absurd for Mr. ******** to expect us to do a job, such as his for $300.00 and for him to state in his complaint that we are a rip-off. that we "Gouged" him and that our prices are out of this world, is ridiculous, furthermore, showing that Mr. ******** is unreasonable and unethical . We have countless customers that use us time and time again, because they are completely satisfied of the work that we have provided to them. I am sure he could find a plumber that uses piece meal parts and haphazard labor and shoddy workmanship. We do not quite operate that way, however. We use the beast in materials and work hard to produce a quality job. In Mr. ********'s unethical complaint, he has not once mentioned the quality of the work that was done for him. As a matter of fact, Mr. ******** expressed his pleasure. I am still surprised it has taken 3 months for a complaint to arise. He did not call us once to express his disapproval of the bill since the job has done and is using the Better Business Bureau as a weapon to receive money that he agreed to spend to make his repair. I am sure he expects us to "bow down" and just refund him the money that he expects, however, it is the principal of it. Mr. ******** seems to be working the system and it is disappointing and unethical to say the least. He should be ashamed of himself. Once again, the job that was done for this man was done at a fair price and we are not willing to be blackmailed into giving him a refund on fair work and materials that now reside under his kitchen sink and under his house. Mr. ******** approved the estimate and we would not have made the repair, had he said not to. I am sure Mr. ******** will not accept this either, as it is obvious that he has found his "Ace in the hole" on trying to receive money back on a purchase that he made and work that has already been done to repair his home.


Final Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
I do not know where they state I did not respond, I responded to this site every time I received anything,As for calling me a liar that is their choice just as Mr. Downed posted on his business face book page of comments I made, I could have posted my words word for word but I did not, because they definitely would not match with what Mr.****** printed. I also received numerous photos from Mr Downed, 10 of which were various poses of young and older individuals flexing arms and clenched fists, I do not know what this has to do with the issue at hand, but if it was meant as a intimidation tactic it worked on a 60 year old woman like my wife. Again there was no reason for such actions, now if Mr ****** wants to call me a liar again this was all saved to our computer to verify just how he responds to unfavorable complaints against his business. Again I was never given a hourly rate other than what I described in my initial complaint.
After, reading Mr ****** representatives response again, they should be very careful in making comments that they to can not document, we have cameras all around our home and unlike the statement Mr. Downed crew did sit around reading a magazine, they did NOT stay here the entire time while he went to get parts, they to left, and returned, I also have a letter from Mr. Downed on Facebook which we copied and saved which contradicts a lot of the statements they are making, so who is putting a spin on things? If they do such great business as they are proclaiming to do why did they leave as they describe a filthy environment, the filthy old materials under my home now if a representative of the BBB would like to come and view the documentation we have concerning our statements posted publicly against Mr. ****** they are more than welcome to do so. That is This company has made a issue of my time frame I explained that to Mr. ****** in a instant message which is time stamped at the date and time I sent it and when he received it, but yet hours later he posts publicly again why did I wait to complain, this can ALL be documented by third party information so who again is stretching the truth here?
One other thing we would like to point out is I believe in one of their responses it was stated I was sent a plumber and a plumbers helper, well if this was a qualified plumber sent to me Mr. ****** should have never been at my house! People call for a professional not unqualified people who are just used to inflate a bill!

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Plumbers, Leak Detection

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