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Question DetailsAsked on 2/5/2014

Electrical Job Gone Bad

We hired a master electrician to do a job at our house. We waited several months for him specifically and he cancelled several times. Finally he sends 2 who was his assistant last year and another that had just been hired the previous week with less than 2 years experience.

They performed several tasks, most of which we had to have fixed by another electrician due to being a hazard and blowing switches/circuits...had to rewire an area completely. Other tasks were done poorly, lack of craftsmanship, plates installed upsidedown, & walls dented.

I got a bill at the rate of a master electrician + assistant, same as what we had paid when the owner was in and did a great job. I disagreed and he said it's not worth it to him to pay a lower rate since he pays them hourly and that's how long it took them. I suggested a rate that would be fair for less qualified employees. We specifically asked for him knowing his assistant was not good. What would others do?

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3 Answers


I would suggest that you put your grievances , problems and complaints in the form of a certified letter and send it to him via certified mail. YOU may have at your option the ability to follow up with legal proceedings , and if this is the case , warn him that unless the matter is resolved amicably , you Will proceed with ALL options available to you legally.

Reference his bill , it is NOT proper for him to bill you for a master electrican and helper , if there were NO Master Electrician dispatched to your Job, but instead , he dispatched seasoned helpers to do a masters job. He should have billed you for the assistant electrician and a helper instead .

In some states as here in Virginia , contractors , regardless of thier trade ,must answer to a Board of Professionals and Tradesman , who discipline and regulate the methods by which those participating contractors / Professionals must conduct their business. The Board has regulations that stipulate proper behaviour and requirements in running their business. In our locale , permits are required for some endeavours , such as an Electrical Service changes or installing new circuits to insure that the existing Building - Electrical & Plumbing Codes are adhered too. In states that have this governing board , Failure to obtain Permits and have inspections as required, is FATAL to the offending contractors cause , as they have broken the Law by surpassing the required inspections , which in turn , means the contractor Must REFUND to you , all monies that you have paid for said services. Some states do not have this requirement although all are supposed to follow and adhere to , the same applicable CODE as it pertains to their profession, but each state has their own manner in which they deal with such occurences. CHECK with your local building official to determine how your state deals with such problems.

I would also suggest that you contact a lawyer , and ask about Code requirements and their proper enforcement !

I hope this is helpful .

Answered 6 years ago by BentheBuilder


I am lost - why are you arguing the bill now, after you had another contractor fix defects - or is this a hypothetical post-mortem question ? You should have called your local building inspector when problems developed, had it inspected (and failed), then asked the contractor for your money back for defective workmanship (or at least all the labor part of it, paying for materials) BEFORE going to and paying another contractor. You have lost all the evidence that could have made your case for you, other than the word of a competitior against his.

You could also have gone against his bond, but again, you case is pretty much blown by not doing so immediately.

Looks like another case of a consumer waiting too long to respond to shoddy workmanship. Personally, when they first arrived I would have asked where the Master Electrician was. And here is the crux, I guess - in many states a company has to have a Master Electrician suprervising the jobs, but not necessarily on site - though technically he should do a final inspection of the work. In other states, most rewires and new installs have to be under the daily, hand-on supervision of a master electrician. If your state requires this and he did not provide it, then you have a stonger case, though only by taking the case up with the licensing board and then in a lawsuit for recovery of the second contractor's cost.

If you had specified (and I bet you did not) that you wanted the work done by a Master Electrician or maybe by him specifically (with helpers as appropriate), then you should have shut them down the instant they wanted to start installing wiring without him there. If you did not specify he had to be on site, then your only argument would be with payment for shoddy work (which you seem to be ignoring here), or with being charged a rate higher than the person is billed out at. It sounds like he bills his journeyman at the same rate as himself - if so, then this is not fraudulent billing.

All I can say is another case of too little too late - the time to make a point of proboems is when they first appear, and don't immediately destroy the evidence of poor workmanship by having another contractor rework it.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


I am extremely sorry to hear that you have had a bad experience with your electrician or any contractor,here in New hampshire there are RSA Laws that provide that a licensed Electrician be on sight with a registered apprentice at all times.,having seen this in the various trades here i believe plumbers have the same rules.i was told by a state official that it is a felony now here for anyone to hire out as an electrician or plumber without a license .I believe it is normal for master licensed electricians and master licensed plumbers to either manage a job or run a company for others or for themselves and they usualuy send one journyman and one apprentice to a job to do the work,journeymen i believe are pretty much like a master but with slightly less time and have already completed apprentice programs in both trades which i believe takes up to five years to take journeymens exam while attending voc. tech school at night to take the exam but journeymen simply have to be employed by a master but normally supervise field work although some master also may work in the field they usualy simply scheduale and estimate and oversee jobs as supervisors or owners.,the average rate for a l;icensed electrician in this area of New Hampshire whether journeyman or master runs between $65.00 an hr. at the lower end and up to $150.00 an hr. at the higher end.I have been told that apprentice rates are usually just slightly below the rate for a licensed electrician due to training costs,apprentice license costs ,schooling costs and insurance etc. so i believe that is fair as long as they are somewhat qualified and that the license electrician on sight whether journeymen or a master is resposible for overseeing all apprentice work as his license is on the line for all that work the apprentice does while under his direct supervision.this goes for either Masters or journeymen.Electrical and plumbing contractors also are required to take continuous edecation courses throughout their carreers even after being licensed befor the licensing boards will renew their licenses.,they also have thousands of dollars in tools,work vehicles,insurance costs etc. so i am sure they do pay even half of the hourly rates we are charged because the rwst must go to cover overhead.I do understand your frustration though but i also have to say that i laughed at your part of the comment on upside down wall plates as i believe either a switch or an outlet plate looks the same in either direction.It appears or sounds that you may simply not be used to paying the normal rates for these types of tardesmen or that you di simply have a bad experience with the contractor you had do the work.I do not believe that all of them are dishonest and hope that ypou will find better quality when you call a different one next time you need any work done,either way we wish you the best of luck.

Source: State Electricians licensing boards and state plumbers licensing boards,inspectors and personal experiences.

Answered 5 years ago by dangilmore

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