I discovered I had a leak in my water line when I got my last bill from the City of Seattle. I wasn't able to find where on my property the leak was but I knew it was outside my home. Believing, my water line was broken somewhere, on March 3, 2014 I signed Aurora Plumbing Invoice #XXXXX to replace my waterline with Pex pipe. I was very anxious to have the work done ASAP because of the ongoing leak, and ***** (an Aurora Plumbing estimator?)assured me they would try to have the people who run the boring machine come to my home on Wednesday, March 5th. On Tuesday, March 4, ***** stopped by my house to have me sign the credit card portion of the invoice and give them my credit card information. The amount of the contract was for $3882.00 plus tax. ***** told me Aurora Plumbing would send a crew to dig the two holes the boring machine would need, and that the crew would be able to come that afternoon. The crew did come and did dig holes near the water meter and in my backyard. The hole near the water meter showed some water in it. ***** called me the next day, Wednesday, March 5th, to report that the digging crew had alerted Aurora Plumbing about the water near the water meter and ***** said that it was possible that the leak wasn't my pipe, but the City of Seattle Water Department's equipment. They would not send the boring machine until they learned if a new water line was still needed. I called the City of Seattle Water Dept., and they came out later that morning, determined the leak was from their equipment, and fixed the leak. The Water Dept. also backfilled the hole by the water meter to better ensure public safety, and I backfilled the hole in my backyard at the same time for my safety. I called Aurora Plumbing and left a message for ***** that the leak had been repaired by the city, and that the hole-digging laborers could get their equipment (2 traffic cones, yellow caution tape, plastic sheets). I also said it was a great relief for me to have the leak finally taken care of and that they should let me know how much the bill for the work done on Wednesday came to.
Later that afternoon, I got a call from ***** in the Aurora Plumbing office who said he was calling on *****'s behalf since ***** was very busy that afternoon. ***** told me that based on the number of people and the number of hours the bill would be $1250. I asked him if that amount included backfilling the holes as well as excavating them, and ***** said yes. I told him the amount should be reduced since the number of hours and laborers he'd quoted was inaccurate and couldn't possibly be accurate since they weren't going to be doing the backfilling and I knew they hadn't spent that many hours on Wednesday to dig the holes. ***** asked me why I'd even asked about the amount charged for the digging; he seemed to take umbrage with the question. ***** asked me if I wanted a new invoice that would reflect the work they'd done to be brought over or if he could just adjust Invoice #XXXXX. I was very tired and stunned by the amount he was charging me and I just told him he could adjust that invoice and confirmed that he could still use that credit card number. I never agreed to that amount, which I consider outrageous for the work done.
I indicated to ***** that I am prepared to take the matter to Small Claims Court; however, I hope that with the assistance of the Better business Bureau, that will not be necessary. Aurora Plumbing has long been used by my family for plumbing advice and supplies. (The older men in the store have terrific expertise and patience.) $1250 for digging two holes is a ridiculously high charge and even if reduced by half would be difficult to defend. I hope Aurora Plumbing will adjust that bill to reflect an accurate accounting of the labor and time truly expended.
In response to case # XXXXXXXX which was filed by ****** *********:
On March 3rd, 2014 we responded to a call from ****** ********* regarding a main water service line in her yard that she believed to be leaking. On site, after dialog with Ms. *********, she signed a contract (inv # XXXXX) to replace her main water service for a total of $3882.00, which included 2-oversized holes dug at the main connection at the street side, as well as where the line will enter the residence. Also included was a boring machine to get from the street to the residence without major upset to landscaping. Once the holes were completed and the boring machine and tech were en-route, we saw that there was water coming from the meter location. At that point, Aurora Plumbing discussed the issue and decided to let the customer know that the issues might not be hers, but rather the City's. In keeping with Aurora Plumbing's standard of ethics, we informed Ms. ********* of the situation. We then informed and coordinated with the City of Seattle to come out to fix the leak in their line. We also discussed with the City that we should leave the holes until after the City was finished in case the line to the house was also leaking.
Upon the City's completion of work, it was determined that there was no issue with the line to Ms. *********'s house. At this point, Aurora Plumbing felt good about saving her over $2200.00. It is our opinion and experience that many companies would not have been as forthcoming about not needing to replace the main line in order to complete a "sale".
On this job site we had 2 of our service professionals, a field vehicle and hours of labor for: digging the 2 holes; calling to schedule the boring service; calling to cancel the boring, and calling to file a case with the City of Seattle, which amounted to $1250.00. Ms. ********* agreed to pay over the phone while she spoke with *****, our Sales Manager.
Aurora Plumbing does regret not coming back in a timely manner to backfill the holes and do our typical clean-up of the site.
We feel that $1250.00 is a fair price, given the fact that we did provide information that allowed Ms. ********* to save thousands of dollars. In addition, since Aurora Plumbing was to have 2 technicians and a boring crew on site for the entire day, and due to having the City complete the repair, Aurora Plumbing was not able to fill the rest of the day for those technicians due to low call volume at that point, resulting in a loss of business for the remainder of the day.
This being said: We do completely understand how, from a customer's perspective, it would seem ludicrous to charge so much for seemingly only digging 2 holes. Not knowing all that goes into a job such as this, and not seeing the time spent off-site with the City, boring crew, etc., would make us question the charge as well. For this reason, Aurora Plumbing will let Ms. ********* dictate what she feels is fair, and Aurora Plumbing will promptly issue credit for the difference. It is, after all, our mission to have happy, satisfied customers.
Thank you for your time and attention to this,
***** *******, Owner
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Without a doubt, Aurora Plumbing provided a service to me and should be paid for that service. On March 4, 2014 they dug two holes in preparation for their boring machine to come on March 5, 2014. Mr. *******'s response to my complaint makes it appear that the events happened on one day which was not the case. They may have intended to use 2 technicians and a boring crew on my site, but in fact, they did not. The only Aurora Plumbing personnel and equipment that were on my property were the man who wrote the initial contract on March 3, 2014, the crew who dug the two holes on March 4th, and on April 1st, the man who (finally) picked up the materials left by the digging crew.
Whatever equipment and personnel they intended to use for replacing the waterline and the "low call volume for that day" are not my responsibility and I should not have been charged for them. I think at least $1,000 should be deducted from the $1250 Aurora Plumbing charged; this leaves me with a bill for $250 plus tax for digging two holes. This amount still seems like a lot since the holes did not appear to be "oversized" by the length, width or depth from personal observation and from my photos, but the crew was polite and did a nice job in leaving the exposed areas with warning tape and traffic cones.
I continue to wonder why they did not notify me on March 4th (I was home) when they realized the possible City liability based on the presence of water in the hole (3-4' deep and 2-3' wide) they dug near the water meter. An ethical company behaves ethically no matter what other companies do and does so immediatelynot waiting overnight.
Aurora Plumbing billed me $1368.75. I continue to believe this is an exorbitant amount for what was actually done by them. If Aurora Plumbing will refund $1,000 plus tax on my credit card, I will consider the matter resolved.
Final Business Response
A credit of $1000.00 plus tax was posted by Aurora Plumbing on 4/15/14. As is typical of processing credits, the credit card company may not show the posting for up to 3 days. Nonetheless, Aurora Plumbing does this in good faith that Ms. ********* is now happy with the situation and all problems related to her leak are fixed.