Well.....last winter, the freezer stopped working.
I was dismayed and called the Appliance Doctor. Why am I using the actual name in the blog? Hmmmm...why indeed....here is the story. The AD comes to the house to check out the freezer....as he walks into the kitchen, he says aloud: "Gee, you have a nice house." Warning signs went up but I kept my head and showed him the freezer. "You need a little wire, new freon, and something something".....OK, how much? Now, this is a fairly new freezer. The GE that I have in the garage is over 25 years old and I had it serviced once. Therefore, I am still astonished that the big fridge in the kitchen needed anything at all. Again....how much? Without missing a beat...he says "$1000.00". Huh? What? For the freezer? We are not encrusting the ice trays with gold and diamonds. All I need is for my ice cream to stay frozen. "$1000.00."
Ok, so I call dad. I am not going to spend that kind of money on a little wire and freon. No way....I catch him at a bad time. He's busy and the AD and his flunkie are staring at my house. Dad doesn't blink...'pay it, the guy is there.' Really? Oh, I do not like where this is going. And so, I gave him the nod to do the work that took less than one hour. As he completed the work, I said to AD: "I feel that you are stealing from me right in my own home..."
"oh no, ma'm. These are the prices set by the United Refrigeration Association."
"Uh, really. The URA endorses that you enter my home and rip me off?"
"Those are the prices..."
Ok, I numbly handed him the check. He had to actually pull it out of my hand because I was seething for a number of reasons. First, I called AD. Second, I am an idiot for paying it. Third, I should have thrown him out of the house and called someone else.
AD and his flunkie left and according to dad's records cashed the check right away. I was furious and called the AD agency to complain. Apparently, my repairman is a subcontractor. Therefore he can set his rates.
Without returning my five calls and three emails, I gave up and learned a valuable lesson. And I share it with you: "Do not use Appliance Doctor!"
Moving on....I needed some electrical work done. So, alot smarter and much poorer, I joined Angie's List. As I perused the ads and read the customers' ratings, I called three electricians for estimates. That's right...estimates...in writing....
Electrician number one comes in...looks around....looks at the work that needs to be done and says: "$4000.00. I know it may seem high, but I do excellent work as you can surmise from Angie's List." When I reported back to dad on this estimate, I cannot repeat what he said.
On to number two...his ratings were good. Customer service ratings were high. I called him. He answered immediately and came out the next day. He walked around the house and before he even opened his mouth, I said to him: "I am tired of being overcharged." Not blinking, we continued to look at the work and he offered some good suggestions. He sent the estimate through email and came out $2800.00 less than the first guy. Why? I dunno...Although I have a few suspicions....
Electrician number 1 called me after number 2 left. He immediately wanted to know why I did not choose him. As I told him that he was too expensive, he exploded. "You will not have a better electrician out there. I always come back and take care of my customers. I may be able to decrease the estimate if I tinker with some of the work!"
OK, dude...if you could 'tinker' with the price, why did you try to hose me in the first place? That's right, you thief! I am much smarter now and a lot poorer after the AD fiasco. I never called him back and almost feel like posting on Angie's List how he tried to bully me after I rejected his proposal. But, he would know that it was me who posted, and I do not want to see or hear from him again.
Right now, electrician number 2 finally made it to the house and is outside since one of my lanterns burned out. Yeah, I know....it is only a few years old. But this nightmare began a few months ago when dad went to change a light bulb in the lantern next to the garage. He actually broke it while trying to pry the base off. So, I took the fixture to an elderly man who rewires lamps and lanterns. After paying $100 to fix a $125.00 fixture, electrician number two re-hung it to the garage. Sadly, this weekend, the lantern did not work, so I called my reliable, cost effective guy back.
As he took the lantern off, number 2 could see that my elderly man who charged me $100 to rewire it, placed the wrong wires in the fixture. Therefore, the wires burned out. So, he has rewired the lantern for the second time in three months and charged me $100.00. Now, I have paid $200 dollars to rewire a lantern that was only $125.00. I had to...it matches the others AND they no longer make it. So, I am stuck.
Now, what do we learn about hiring service men and women to come into the house? I'll tell you....
1. always check references
2. sign up for Angie's List and read the reviews
3. Don't be bullied into hiring someone because he claims that he is 'good'. The really good guys do not make it a proclamation. They do the work. And then, they leave you with a few dollars in your pocket.
4. Always get an estimate. If the estimate is too high, show them the door and shut it on their way out.
There are honest repair people in this world. You have to take your time to find them. Don't let haste color your common sense.
Ok, I now need electrician two to fix my smoke detector. Does anyone have a money tree?