Monday, February 28, 2005

Contractors (continued)

Tonight I will write about the second bizarre experience I have had with tradespeople over the past few years.  This one still gets me a little irritated, so I needed to be in just the right mood before I wrote about it :-)

Earlier this week I wrote about Russel, my boarder.  We have made peace with each other, but this was not always the case.  I spent many hours in the first year in this house trying to get rid of him.  It got to the point where I wanted him out of there so much so that I contacted a "professional pest remover."

Mr. Professional confirmed in my phone call to him that what I described was most likely a bat.  He assured me that he had vast experience in excluding bats and this would be no problem for him.  In fact, he bragged to me that he offered a 5 yr guarantee.  He told me he charged for estimates (which I normally will never agree to), but applied the cost to the work.  He gave me a ballpark figure on the overall costs which seemed reasonable.  I knew I was going to have the work done so it didn't seem to be an issue.  After all - I was going to get a 5 yr. guarantee!

I checked his name on Angies List and he had quite a few good reviews (although there were a few not-so-satisfied reviews that I should have paid more attention to...).  I made an appointment for him to come out and give me an estimate.

He arrived on time and I gave him a rundown on the situation.  He seemed irritated that I presumed to know anything about "pests."  After all, I was not a professional.  I started to get an odd feeling.  He walked around my property and then declared that I did not have a pest.  I told him that even in my untrained, unprofessional state I could tell I *did* have a pest in the wall.  He told me that if I insisted that there was a pest, even though he knew better (eyes rolling up into his head), he would do some "tightening up" of the roof, but there would be no warranty.  I was in shock.

I explained to him the warranty was the reason why he was there.  He stood there, clip board in hand and stared at me.  Then he let out a long irritated sigh and told me that perhaps I should just pay him for the estimateand he could be on his way.

Unbelievable.  I was so surprised by this whole little scam, I actually wrote him a check.  He took it without batting an eye.  He evidently made hisliving my charging for estimates and then decalring there was no problem to fix.

I wrote a scathing review for him in Anglies List.  Then I promptly cancelled my subscription to Angies List (you will note the Stalking Plumber also came from them).  This is one of those incidents that I wrote off to lesson learned.

Lessons learned: Do not pay for estimates.  Get referrals from people you actually know.

I hope the next bat he encounters bites him :-)

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