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Posted: 9/25/2004 5:56:51 PM EST
My father had two wall-mounted AC units installed at his house over the past week, and it looks to me that the company that did it took advantage of him because of his age.

Here is what needed to be done.

The first AC unit was installed at ground level, about 6 feet above the floor. The usual work needed to be done: A hole was made in the wall, through the sheetrock, all the way through the exterior stucco. The hole was shored up as needed, the AC mounting box was installed and reinforced, and the AC unit slid in. Minor cosmetic work was necessary on both the outside and inside, with new wallboard as needed inside. The contractor also made a little wooden frame around the perimeter of the unit for aesthetics. Since the unit is 220v, my father had a dedicated 220v line run from the AC unit, under the house, to the circuit breaker. A new 220v breaker was installed. Total length about 25-30 feet of cable. My brother even helped the guy run the line under the house because the installer was too large to fit.

The second unit, much smaller, was installed in their bedroom, also at ground level about 3 feet off the floor. The same kind of work was needed, although in this case they used an existing 110v outlet, so no electrical work was necessary. Just cut the hole, mount it, and clean up the rough edges.

Now, the estimate for the job, without the electrical work was $900-$1000. I suppose in today’s market that is not too bad. However, by the time the guy was finished, with the new 220v circuit, etc., the final bill was $2,700! Three times the estimate!

My father, being old and not one to bicker, paid the guy and that was that.

Now, to add insult to injury, the first unit does not work! The installer installed and tested it without checking the voltage requirements. Without checking the unit, he assumed it was 110v and fired it up on the 110v line. The light came on but no AC. The installer then checked the label, which said 220v, and that was when my dad told him to run the 220v line. The guy even blamed my dad for not telling him it was 220v. Who the hell is the expert here, the installer or my dad? Do I need to remind my doctor to take an x-ray before cutting?

Anyway, my dad ordered a new unit, which is $176 more than the original. The contractor deducted $176 from the bill, but he is not installing the new unit. He said he would have to charge my dad to install it! I just don’t believe this BS. Now my dad has a broken AC unit mounted in the room and needs to pay to have the replacement installed. My dad is a sucker for these guys, but these guys are just scum.

Anyway, I assume $2,700 is too much for that job. Am I right? That includes $500 for materials (a little bit of wallboard, electrical cable, breaker, and a freakin’ hacksaw blade because the asshole doesn’t even have a hacksaw).

This is BS, right?
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:02:22 PM EST
shady contractor

Isn't that redundant?

Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:03:28 PM EST
That is BS. Hire a lawyer.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:04:28 PM EST
Call the Contractors Board if you have one in the area.

Is the guy bonded?

Is he licensed?

Call the local building inspectors and ask them if the guy needed to pull a permit befor running new electrical lines, if he needed a permit and didn't get one he might need to defend himself with the local inspectors.

Ask your attorney too.

Sorry for your Dad.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:05:04 PM EST
Where I live that work would run between $750 and $1,000.

Workmanship and general overall satisfaction guaranteed.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:09:53 PM EST
I have had a Texas Air Conditioning Contractor's License since it's inception (state exam). Your state should have a licensing agency to which you should report this incident.
Do I think your Dad was wronged? Yes I do.

Jim
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:14:04 PM EST
FYI.

Get all quotes in writing.

Deal with a licensed and insured contractor.

Get several different quotes.

Do NOT pay any money up front, only at the successful and agreed upon completion of the job.

Ask for references and call them to make sure that they are real.
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:17:05 PM EST
rebel_rifle, has given some very good information.

Jim
Link Posted: 9/25/2004 6:23:28 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/25/2004 6:24:08 PM EST by mattja]
More info.

My father got a written estimate for $900-$1,000, with the added stipulation that that is just an estimate and that my father is being billed by the hour, $95 for the first hour and $75 for each additional hour.

The guy is a handyman who works for a licensed referral service. AFAIK, the service holds the license and the guy may not have any license at all (why would a licensed contractor work for those assholes, who charge $75/hour and pay the guy $20/hour?)

My father is a retired lawyer, so you would think he would know. But he is elderly and he doesn’t like to be confrontational for health reasons. I can understand that.
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