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Question DetailsAsked on 1/19/2018

Plumber did not fix problem but demands payment

Had low water pressure. They insisted it was a regulator problem and changed it out for $550. This was not the problem. They said i needed a new water heater. I called another plumber who changed out two small parts on top of water heater for $150. That worked. First plumber demsnds full payment. Will not negotiate.

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Saying it was regulator, then that you needed a new water heater for the same issue, indicates to me he is not a competent plumber, because regardless of whether you meant "low water pressure" or "low water flow" the first thing he should have checked is static pressure in the system (which is controlled by the pressure regulator and would be the same on hot and cold sides) and then if that was OK, compare the flow rate from the hot and cold sides of faucets to see if they were markedlydifferent. Evidently, a corroded/ clogged valve, nipple, or union at the top of the heater was the problem - which would not have affected "pressure" but could have caused low flow rate from the hot side.
Technically, he could demand he be allowed to put the old pressure regulator back in and take the new one away with him since he is not getting paid for it - but after this amount of time (presumably several days) there is no way he still has YOURS - so I would say no to that.

It sounds like you ahve not paid him anything yet - which makes it simpler for you. I would tell him because he misdiagnosed it TWICE and THEN tried to sell you an unneeded water heater, you are not paying him based on incompetence and non-performance. If he objects or says he is going to file a lien against you, then you have two choices depending on whether you think he was trying to milk you or was just not competent - you could tell him you are then going to be filing a formal written complaint against him with the state licensing board for contractors (assuming plumbers have to be licensed in your state - almost always are - would also get him into deep trouble if he was NOT currrently licensed but should have been), or if you think he was scamming you then you could file a fraud complaint with the local police (who may refer you to a criminal fraud unit at the DA's office, in some areas). Either one is deep trouble for him and can cost him his license, so he will undoubtedly back off - andif he starts harrassing you trying to get you to pay, then time to file a police complaint about that against him. ANy reputable plumber would apologize for missing the diagnosis and walk away unpaid, leaving the new pressure regulator in place (it probably cost him about $30-50 in materials). BTW - in most areas $550 for a pressure regulator (unlesss your area requires the double piston regulator because of unusually high service main pressure) is about double the fair amount, assuming no digging in the yard to install it was necessary (almost always installed inside the house). And of course, after all is said and done, appropriate honest reviews on Angies List and maybe Yelp or similar sites would seem to be in order.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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