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DellFanBoy said:   
1) Have the heater removed and reinstall my old 1.
2) Go to small claims court. Will I need a lawyer?


1) This incurs more cost.
2) If you get sued, you should go to court. It'll be small claims. As long as you have documentation, I wouldn't hire an attorney.

The bigger risk that I see is that the contractor liens your home. You can then do nothing and wait for the lien to expire or you can sue to have it removed.

Personally, I'd send a registered letter with a check in it for the agreed amount - along with a copy of the estimate and the verbal increase. The plumber can take it or leave it. The registered payment certainly demonstrates good faith.

$1k for a water heater install is ridiculous... Assuming it's not in a complicated location. If additional work was required to bring the install to code, I'd understand.. but a replacement? Sheesh.

ScrawneyWallet said:   $1500 for a water heater!? Do any of the following words appear on the cover of the owner's manual: gold-plated, tactical, tungsten, graphite, HDMI, Rolls-Royce...?you forgot "Bose" or "Monster".

joey791 said:   did at any time op state to anyone that the tenant was not an authorized agent?

Authorized agents exist in the corporate world. They are agents who are signed to contracts by a company.

That's obviously not the case here. The equivalent is whether the tenant had a power of attorney and was authorized to sign for his landlord, and it's a fair bet that no sane landlord would do this.

And your assertion that someone should be assumed to be an authorized agent for a company unless otherwise indicated - that's a guaranteed loser in any contract dispute.

Unless the tenant was paying for the repair, the fact they signed something is meaningless

The plumber could have your neighbor sign the invoice , doesn't make it enforceable against you

Might be worth investing in some classes to enable you to do your own plumbing/electrical work. Depending on which state you live in and the work you plan on doing, you won't be paying the extra 200-400% for the labor and permit costs. At the very least, maybe you have a skilled friend who walks "you" through the process and maybe said friend finds a case of beer in his trunk or $50 in his glove box.

Dang if you installed a $300 (marked up to begin with) water heater for $1500 every workday of the year, you would be making a $312,000 salary a year !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Absolutely ridiculous.

Plumbers make upwards of $100k a year and their bosses usually make $300k plus out of every new one they hire

Not going to address the contractual aspects here....they've been addressed. Going to deal with the advice in this thread to buy the heater and do a self-install, take a couple classes and do it, or to find a "skilled friend" to do this. That is very dangerous advice.....these heaters are basically a pressure vessel that if improperly installed can and will destroy your home.....best case would be a water leak.....worst case would be a gas leak or if something messed up the thermostat and relief which would literally blow your house apart to the studs or improper venting which would result in carbon monoxide issues. A lot of handymen and weekend warriors have installed these....many times improperly. You're rolling the dice.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Plumbers make upwards of $100k a year and their bosses usually make $300k plus out of every new one they hire

The vast majority of plumbers do not make $100k.

cristinaaaron said:   Not going to address the contractual aspects here....they've been addressed. Going to deal with the advice in this thread to buy the heater and do a self-install, take a couple classes and do it, or to find a "skilled friend" to do this. That is very dangerous advice.....these heaters are basically a pressure vessel that if improperly installed can and will destroy your home.....best case would be a water leak.....worst case would be a gas leak or if something messed up the thermostat and relief which would literally blow your house apart to the studs or improper venting which would result in carbon monoxide issues. A lot of handymen and weekend warriors have installed these....many times improperly. You're rolling the dice.

You're also assuming this is a gas water heater. And don't you ever watch mythbusters? You have to really try hard to cause the pressure relief system to fail. What if it is a gas unit? Well, after you properly install it, you're gonna want to make sure there are no leaks by using some soapy water and applying it to the connection to see if there are any leaks. As far as venting goes, not much harder then putting a vent on your dryer.

It really isn't as complicated/dangerous as people like you make it out to be, but it's good to have a skilled/knowledgeable person around to do the work for a fraction of the price. You might even learn to DIY.

So yes. Let's be reliant upon other people because we are scared. When in reality most people can go out, take a class and learn the basics of a trade and become partially self sufficient. Think about it. If you own rental properties, it is really a good idea to be able to fix things yourself, especially if you are concerned about an extra $450+ charge for installed water heater.

YouTube Link for Gas Water Heater install, looks easier than I had ever imagined.

ScrawneyWallet said:   $1500 for a water heater!? Do any of the following words appear on the cover of the owner's manual: gold-plated, tactical, tungsten, graphite, HDMI, Rolls-Royce...?

OP said in his original post it's a Monster brand.... /sarcasm


I've installed an electric water heater before and it was the easiest thing ever. Hook up a couple wires and use alligator clips or something to connect the water lines and it was done. Drained the old one to a sewer thing on the floor and threw it out. I can't imagine being paid $1500 for that.

Also, you can get a Carbon Monoxide detector if you're worried about that.

chrislk1986 said:   cristinaaaron said:   Not going to address the contractual aspects here....they've been addressed. Going to deal with the advice in this thread to buy the heater and do a self-install, take a couple classes and do it, or to find a "skilled friend" to do this. That is very dangerous advice.....these heaters are basically a pressure vessel that if improperly installed can and will destroy your home.....best case would be a water leak.....worst case would be a gas leak or if something messed up the thermostat and relief which would literally blow your house apart to the studs or improper venting which would result in carbon monoxide issues. A lot of handymen and weekend warriors have installed these....many times improperly. You're rolling the dice.

You're also assuming this is a gas water heater. And don't you ever watch mythbusters? You have to really try hard to cause the pressure relief system to fail. What if it is a gas unit? Well, after you properly install it, you're gonna want to make sure there are no leaks by using some soapy water and applying it to the connection to see if there are any leaks. As far as venting goes, not much harder then putting a vent on your dryer.

It really isn't as complicated/dangerous as people like you make it out to be, but it's good to have a skilled/knowledgeable person around to do the work for a fraction of the price. You might even learn to DIY.

So yes. Let's be reliant upon other people because we are scared. When in reality most people can go out, take a class and learn the basics of a trade and become partially self sufficient. Think about it. If you own rental properties, it is really a good idea to be able to fix things yourself, especially if you are concerned about an extra $450+ charge for installed water heater.


You are a fool.....

chrislk1986 said:   You're also assuming this is a gas water heater. And don't you ever watch mythbusters? You have to really try hard to cause the pressure relief system to fail. What if it is a gas unit? Well, after you properly install it, you're gonna want to make sure there are no leaks by using some soapy water and applying it to the connection to see if there are any leaks. As far as venting goes, not much harder then putting a vent on your dryer.

It really isn't as complicated/dangerous as people like you make it out to be, but it's good to have a skilled/knowledgeable person around to do the work for a fraction of the price. You might even learn to DIY.

So yes. Let's be reliant upon other people because we are scared. When in reality most people can go out, take a class and learn the basics of a trade and become partially self sufficient. Think about it. If you own rental properties, it is really a good idea to be able to fix things yourself, especially if you are concerned about an extra $450+ charge for installed water heater.

YouTube Link for Gas Water Heater install, looks easier than I had ever imagined.


It IS a gas water heater. Home Depot just sells gas or electric ones, especially when it's a $300 40 gallon one. You don't vent an electric water heater. The water heaters they sell come with the relief valve installed, but one common mistake is that people don't put in the tube for the relief valve or the vacuum breaker or put in shut off valves. The gas piping also has to be properly secured. The venting can also be screwed up, has to vent up on a slope. I've seen several home inspections where it was improperly vented especially if there are other devices like other boilers and water heaters. Usually there isn't enough furnace cement to seal the thimble, no one uses that on a dryer vent. And Home Depot also sells a bottle of a gas leak detector that's just really soapy water for about $4 if you don't feel like making your own. And of course depending on the city and state code, some just require that these installations be done by a licensed plumber. Plus if it's an investment property and you do the work yourself, you can't deduct your own labor, although you do save a lot more than if you had to pay a plumber.

As a tenant, I've had many scumbag contractors try to get me to sign blank work orders without the cost filled in, claiming "it's just to show that the work has been completed".

There are very few things that make me angrier, so I usually put them on speakerphone with the landlord. As a tenant, I agree to nothing.

elektronic said:   As a tenant, I've had many scumbag contractors try to get me to sign blank work orders without the cost filled in, claiming "it's just to show that the work has been completed".

There are very few things that make me angrier, so I usually put them on speakerphone with the landlord. As a tenant, I agree to nothing.


As a landlord, I like you. But if at all possible, I make myself present at the site when a big job like this is being done, especially a difficult installation. I figure it is a given that the job is going to get more expensive if I'm not there. It puts the contractor in a bind as well; he knows the tenant probably can't legally sign for something and has no money to pay directly. So the whole service call becomes a big waste of time for everyone.

jaimelobo said:   ScrawneyWallet said:   $1500 for a water heater!? Do any of the following words appear on the cover of the owner's manual: gold-plated, tactical, tungsten, graphite, HDMI, Rolls-Royce...?you forgot "Bose" or "Monster".

or "Tankless"

scammerG said:   jaimelobo said:   ScrawneyWallet said:   $1500 for a water heater!? Do any of the following words appear on the cover of the owner's manual: gold-plated, tactical, tungsten, graphite, HDMI, Rolls-Royce...?you forgot "Bose" or "Monster".

or "Tankless"


Exactly. The nice ones start at $1000 (Bosch, Rinnai, or Takaji) for the tank alone.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Unless the tenant was paying for the repair, the fact they signed something is meaningless

The plumber could have your neighbor sign the invoice , doesn't make it enforceable against you


In a previous post you mentioned you went to law school. I generally agree with your answer, but I am wondering if your view covers all scenarios. For example, if the tenant is both a tenant and an onsite manager, would your view change from a legal perspective? To be clearer, I am suggesting the possibility of the tenant being an authorized agent of the landlord. A few people have brought up this possible issue before.
I was once the "building manager" in a place where I was also a tenant. I had a fair amount of responsibility. I showed apartments to prospectives, handled money, had keys to every door, had the ability to purchase stuff at Menards, maintained all leases/applications, etc etc you get the picture.
My view is that its possible the tenant's signature might be legally binding on the landlord in certain scenarios. If the plumber knocked on a door with a large sign that read "building manager", might that change your opinion regarding the enforceablity of the tenant's signature?

My view is that we don't have enough facts about the tenant from OP.

Grobe said:   If the plumbing company says they cannot install it because of the size of the tank why didn't you simply get another tank which would fit?

40 gallon is typically the smallest that would get put in. Unless it was a fattie when you needed a skinny or in the rare instance you find a 30 I don't buy the it didn't fit. Why didn't the new one fit?

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Plumbers make upwards of $100k a year and their bosses usually make $300k plus out of every new one they hire

Only if a quarter of their yearly pay is overtime

chrislk1986 said:   cristinaaaron said:   Not going to address the contractual aspects here....they've been addressed. Going to deal with the advice in this thread to buy the heater and do a self-install, take a couple classes and do it, or to find a "skilled friend" to do this. That is very dangerous advice.....these heaters are basically a pressure vessel that if improperly installed can and will destroy your home.....best case would be a water leak.....worst case would be a gas leak or if something messed up the thermostat and relief which would literally blow your house apart to the studs or improper venting which would result in carbon monoxide issues. A lot of handymen and weekend warriors have installed these....many times improperly. You're rolling the dice.

You're also assuming this is a gas water heater. And don't you ever watch mythbusters? You have to really try hard to cause the pressure relief system to fail. What if it is a gas unit? Well, after you properly install it, you're gonna want to make sure there are no leaks by using some soapy water and applying it to the connection to see if there are any leaks. As far as venting goes, not much harder then putting a vent on your dryer.

It really isn't as complicated/dangerous as people like you make it out to be, but it's good to have a skilled/knowledgeable person around to do the work for a fraction of the price. You might even learn to DIY.

So yes. Let's be reliant upon other people because we are scared. When in reality most people can go out, take a class and learn the basics of a trade and become partially self sufficient. Think about it. If you own rental properties, it is really a good idea to be able to fix things yourself, especially if you are concerned about an extra $450+ charge for installed water heater.

YouTube Link for Gas Water Heater install, looks easier than I had ever imagined.


Wow, if you think thats a typical water heater install, you are in for a treat. I can tell you about 5 things that is wrong/different than an actual install and the flue pipe inspection, what a joke.

tyrone3971 said:   40 gallon is typically the smallest that would get put in. Unless it was a fattie when you needed a skinny or in the rare instance you find a 30 I don't buy the it didn't fit. Why didn't the new one fit?

It sounds a fairly common problem, they have tall and short water heaters. If he got a short where the previous one was a tall, they'd have to redo the flue pipe venting or at the least add a few pieces. If it's the other way around, now maybe the vent into the chimney isn't high enough but that's probably not what happened. The cheapest probably would have been to swap the tank for the right size, but the plumber probably didn't want to go to Home Depot and swap it or they were out of that particular size. Making it fit probably got them more money on a flat rate job plus they could charge more. The run to HD for the right one just takes more time and you can't charge extra. A good plumber would probably ask about the height of the old one so they can do a straight swap with minimal moving around of various pipes and vents.

DellFanBoy said:   Hello FWers,

I currently had a hot water heater installed on 12/20. Below is the timeline to this mess.

12/1 - Called Home Depot (Contracted to a local plumbing company) and got a quote for same day installation of $827 (communicated via phone from sales rep) .
12/7 - The local plumbing company comes to do the installation and cannot do it due to the size of the tank. The new estimate was an additional $200 for permits and minor work. New total is $1027. (All communicated from the plumber)
12/14 - I call the plumber back to "Okay" the work and ask him to send the final quote. No response on quote but responds about other things.
12/20 - Plumber does the work and calls me to sign off on the job for $1500! I explained thats not what I was told and we go back and forth for an hour. Apparently the tentant signed the contract.
12/21 - I get a call from the sales department and they tell me that I owe $1500. I explained I didn't agree to that and I called Home Depot back to have them become the middle man.
12/27 - The plumbing company now sends Home Depot and me an email with a quote from 12/7 for $1500. I never saw this quote in my life. This is actually the first time I've ever seen a quote from these people.

So now I owe $1500 for a $300 40 gallon water heater. I feel like I should only have to pay $1027. I have text message record of me asking for the final price and no reply. What options do I have? I haven't signed anything nor have I've given any payment. I'm totally willing to pay but I want to pay the amount I thought I was going to pay.

My 2 options I think are:

1) Have the heater removed and reinstall my old 1.
2) Go to small claims court. Will I need a lawyer?


I'd go talk to the HD manager and tell them you will pay them $827. End of story, this stuff is so shady. It's all about the original quote. If that manager can't fix this problem, ask them for their manager's #. They probably deal with this crap all the time from the sounds of it. This is why I'm deathly afraid to ever contract out any work in my house to HD/Lowes.

jnheinz said:   DellFanBoy said:   Hello FWers,

I currently had a hot water heater installed on 12/20. Below is the timeline to this mess.

12/1 - Called Home Depot (Contracted to a local plumbing company) and got a quote for same day installation of $827 (communicated via phone from sales rep) .
12/7 - The local plumbing company comes to do the installation and cannot do it due to the size of the tank. The new estimate was an additional $200 for permits and minor work. New total is $1027. (All communicated from the plumber)
12/14 - I call the plumber back to "Okay" the work and ask him to send the final quote. No response on quote but responds about other things.
12/20 - Plumber does the work and calls me to sign off on the job for $1500! I explained thats not what I was told and we go back and forth for an hour. Apparently the tentant signed the contract.
12/21 - I get a call from the sales department and they tell me that I owe $1500. I explained I didn't agree to that and I called Home Depot back to have them become the middle man.
12/27 - The plumbing company now sends Home Depot and me an email with a quote from 12/7 for $1500. I never saw this quote in my life. This is actually the first time I've ever seen a quote from these people.

So now I owe $1500 for a $300 40 gallon water heater. I feel like I should only have to pay $1027. I have text message record of me asking for the final price and no reply. What options do I have? I haven't signed anything nor have I've given any payment. I'm totally willing to pay but I want to pay the amount I thought I was going to pay.

My 2 options I think are:

1) Have the heater removed and reinstall my old 1.
2) Go to small claims court. Will I need a lawyer?


I'd go talk to the HD manager and tell them you will pay them $827. End of story, this stuff is so shady. It's all about the original quote. If that manager can't fix this problem, ask them for their manager's #. They probably deal with this crap all the time from the sounds of it. This is why I'm deathly afraid to ever contract out any work in my house to HD/Lowes.


And once again, that is not what he owes. I posted to the links on their site, until someone came onsite and gave him a price that is what he owes which is 1027. Also OP makes the statement that the plumber didn't respond on quote but responded to "other things". Did the OP have the plumber do more work? Or look at other issues? What is other things? Until OP comes back explains that statement, what was done, what parts were used, etc. we have no clue if the money was justified or not or where the difference came from.

jerosen said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Plumbers make upwards of $100k a year and their bosses usually make $300k plus out of every new one they hire

The vast majority of plumbers do not make $100k.


That's not what my payrolls say... An experienced plumber makes anywhere between 60k-80k base (depending on area), then make up the difference to 100k with OT. I've seen it in every corner of this country.

Just saw two plumber offers for $65/hour and 90k base in SF Bay Area , so yes most make upwards of $100k here

Even clerks make 60k in the SF Bay Area. Everyone makes so much money here. What I consider 'good' is just average in this place.

My friend who has a master in plumbing charges up $75-100/hr in the Boston area. Most people don't know or bother to negotiate. I think if you are good and honest, you can get a lot of referral from word of mouth, and can easily make $100K as a plumber.

AMEN!!!

AMEN!!!!!

DellFanBoy said:   What options do I have? I haven't signed anything nor have I've given any payment
Say, sorry guys. Good Bye

SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Just saw two plumber offers for $65/hour and 90k base in SF Bay Area , so yes most make upwards of $100k here

I call this the CA effect. Just because it happens in CA doesn't mean it happens everywhere else.

There is a HUGE difference between plumbing in CA and plumbing in the rest of the country.
The plumbers union in CA has a lock on the plumbing code. However in the rest of the country, plumbing oficials have little to no authority.
The plumbers union was strong enough to prevent the merger of the IAPMO UPC (Uniform Plumbing Code) and the ICC IPC (International Plumbing Code) from occurring (there were other issues involved, but the strength of the plumbers union in CA was a big driver).

The CA effect is prevelant in a lot of construction practices besides plumbing (including mechanical and energy code construxtion and enforcement).

Given my day job, I wish that building/mechanical/energy/plumbing codes were enforced as well in other states as in CA. but they're not.
In other states where the plumbing code isn't enforced well, plumbers get paid much less.

TYH3 said:   My friend who has a master in plumbing charges up $75-100/hr in the Boston area. Most people don't know or bother to negotiate. I think if you are good and honest, you can get a lot of referral from word of mouth, and can easily make $100K as a plumber.

You can also be out digging up sewer lines in the winter.

Personally, the dress code is what kept me from joining the trade. I wasn't about to comply with the "no less than 4 inches of visible butt cleavage" requirement.

BEEFjerKAY said:   TYH3 said:   My friend who has a master in plumbing charges up $75-100/hr in the Boston area. Most people don't know or bother to negotiate. I think if you are good and honest, you can get a lot of referral from word of mouth, and can easily make $100K as a plumber.

You can also be out digging up sewer lines in the winter.

Personally, the dress code is what kept me from joining the trade. I wasn't about to comply with the "no less than 4 inches of visible butt cleavage" requirement.


Sure, I never said it was easy job. Forget about digging up sewer line. The job is horrible for your body. I also would not want to go into other people's dirty/smelly/cold basements, fixing mistakes, getting all dirty from cutting then carrying out 100+ lb cast iron drain pipes that most likely are not "empty".

imbatman said:   SUCKISSTAPLES said:   Just saw two plumber offers for $65/hour and 90k base in SF Bay Area , so yes most make upwards of $100k here

I call this the CA effect. Just because it happens in CA doesn't mean it happens everywhere else.

There is a HUGE difference between plumbing in CA and plumbing in the rest of the country.
The plumbers union in CA has a lock on the plumbing code. However in the rest of the country, plumbing oficials have little to no authority.
The plumbers union was strong enough to prevent the merger of the IAPMO UPC (Uniform Plumbing Code) and the ICC IPC (International Plumbing Code) from occurring (there were other issues involved, but the strength of the plumbers union in CA was a big driver).

The CA effect is prevelant in a lot of construction practices besides plumbing (including mechanical and energy code construxtion and enforcement).

Given my day job, I wish that building/mechanical/energy/plumbing codes were enforced as well in other states as in CA. but they're not.
In other states where the plumbing code isn't enforced well, plumbers get paid much less.


Like I said in my post, I've seen those salaries in Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Tacoma, and now in the Bay Area. Hard work does pay, but I really wouldn't want to do what they're doing in the weather they're doing it in.

TYH3 said:   The job is horrible for your body.

That, too. Back in the day, lead poisoning from solder fumes was an issue.

I may have found a good way to price shop for water heaters. I looked at my city's online permit site, they lists the permits by month, including for water heater replacement. The info includes the cost of the improvement. I found that a few plumber were consistently high, like in the $1000-$1500 range. Another, who happened to be the one my builder used when my home was constructed, ranged between $400-$600. It also lists the phone# of each of the plumbers. This might be a good way to comparison shop perhaps if the numbers are accurate.

unnamedone said:   You probably want to tell your tenant not to sign stuffs like this next time.

As a tenant, if I've been waiting 19 days (OP's timeline) for a water heater and someone finally shows up to install it, I'm going to sign anything that gets the job done!

lonestarguy said:   I may have found a good way to price shop for water heaters. I looked at my city's online permit site, they lists the permits by month, including for water heater replacement. The info includes the cost of the improvement. I found that a few plumber were consistently high, like in the $1000-$1500 range. Another, who happened to be the one my builder used when my home was constructed, ranged between $400-$600. It also lists the phone# of each of the plumbers. This might be a good way to comparison shop perhaps if the numbers are accurate.
Yep one of the counties where my rentals are located has an online permit system like that where I can see the roofer bill, plumber bill etc

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