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Locked: Had electric work done in my home that required a follow up and contractor wanted more money after fix was made

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[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 11, 2007
3616 posts
571 upvotes
Mississauga

Had electric work done in my home that required a follow up and contractor wanted more money after fix was made

My question is simple, should I be upset over this series of events or is it due process and I should just accept that business is business and time is time.

Events
1. I have a 240 Volt charger installed in my garage, I pay for the full cost of the installation that day after work is completed.
2. The day after I notice several of my potlight dimmers in the basement no longer function. I notify the electrician.
3. The electrician mentions that he agrees to come take a look but if its not his fault wants to charge me a service fee for the visit. I suggest that I wait it out till hes in the area again, to take a look. The likleyhood that 3 of my potlight switches in basement suddenly stop working the day I had electric work done seem very low.
4. 2-3 months go buy (June I did this in) and I am emailing and waiting for him to be able to come take a look.
5. He notifies me yesterday that he can come take a look today. We do not discuss a cost for the visit.
6. He shows up and spends about 45 minutes here, and the issue is a loose wire on the panel, that evidently during the original install was jarred. He explained it was likely not secured previously in his analysis or his work jarred it loose.
7. He tightens the wire and the problem is resolved.
8. He indicates that he wishes payment for the call, citing the wire must have been pretty loose.

Anyways I really liked this guy nice guy, and he knows what he is doing, but this just really soured me on the entire experience. I will gladly pay for good service, good quality, and want my house to be safe, but I am frustrated on a few things with how this turned out.

#1: I waited 2+ months for him to come back at his convenience.
#2: If there was something loose due to the install could this be a safely thing?
#3: I don't really feel that this was not the result of the installation of the new switch. If this was something done by the previous owners or whatever, but the loose switch was right above where the switch with the EV was in. Clearly the work in June caused this.

Kinda sucks because paying him again to complete this job sours me on using him again. I totally get tradesmen have their expenses, time, to manage, but I sat without 3/5's of my basement potlights not working for 2 months waiting for him to come back to check.

Figured I would ask some of you guys your perspective. I agreed to pay him his service fee, but all thoughts of using him again flew out the window. Ironic as we were talking about a 2K plus potlight job while he was here.
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77 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2009
4716 posts
2643 upvotes
Based on your attitude I doubt the electrician would want to do a job for you again anyways.
Deal Addict
Sep 12, 2007
2835 posts
974 upvotes
"He explained it was likely not secured previously in his analysis or his work jarred it loose. "
"but the loose switch was right above where the switch with the EV was in."

Sounds too close to be just a coincidence, likely his work caused it. But like 99.999% of tradespeople, they are dishonest, are there to do the job as fast as possible and leave, often don't respect the customer's property, and don't take pride in their work. If this guy did, he would have said "I likely loosened it and would not have have charged you".

Are you ever going to call him back for more work? Probably not, neither would I.
Would you likely call him back for more work, and also refer him if he admitted his fault, fixed the problem, and didn't charge you? Likely yes, and so would I.

You waited 2 months because tradespeople can always get work, they are in shortage, even if they consistently do bad work they will still get more work, they are not regulated even if they have whatever certification is required; you're always rolling the dice.

I say all this from my own experience dealingwith contractors and tradespeople, and good, honest, reliable tradespeople are few and far between.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 2, 2001
4994 posts
2625 upvotes
GTA
dreaderus wrote: He explained it was likely not secured previously in his analysis or his work jarred it loose.
Ok so split the bill 50/50 since there's a good chance he did cause the issue.
.
Deal Addict
Sep 11, 2006
1382 posts
359 upvotes
Toronto
SO it's his fault that the builder electricians didn't torque down the wire? Did he include torquing down all of the breakers in his quote? If he turned on a switch to a light and the bulb blew out, is it his responsibility to change the bulb at his cost? I think not.
Deal Addict
Sep 11, 2006
1382 posts
359 upvotes
Toronto
vodka wrote: "He explained it was likely not secured previously in his analysis or his work jarred it loose. "
"but the loose switch was right above where the switch with the EV was in."

Sounds too close to be just a coincidence, likely his work caused it. But like 99.999% of tradespeople, they are dishonest, are there to do the job as fast as possible and leave, often don't respect the customer's property, and don't take pride in their work. If this guy did, he would have said "I likely loosened it and would not have have charged you".
You're a piece of work with this comment. So for one all trades people are dishonest, secondly, just brushing up against a properly tightened wire on a breaker is going to loosen it? It was likely loose to begin with.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 11, 2007
3616 posts
571 upvotes
Mississauga
pootza wrote: Based on your attitude I doubt the electrician would want to do a job for you again anyways.
I don't understand the response. perhaps you could clarify this point?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 11, 2007
3616 posts
571 upvotes
Mississauga
If the answer is that wiring a separate breaker right above the one that was loosened enough to stop the other spotlight from working is not the fault of the electrician doing my job (Meaning he would had to touch that breaker) and it would not be his responsibility to ensure other stuff stopped working i guess its not as big a deal, just waited a long time for it to get finished.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
4058 posts
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KINGSTON,ON
dreaderus wrote: If the answer is that wiring a separate breaker right above the one that was loosened enough to stop the other spotlight from working is not the fault of the electrician doing my job (Meaning he would had to touch that breaker) and it would not be his responsibility to ensure other stuff stopped working i guess its not as big a deal, just waited a long time for it to get finished.
If the wire to the breaker directly above wasn't torqued to the correct specification, then it was an issue with the original install. You didn't "pay him again", since it wasn't his work that was at fault.
Pay him, and be happy that he was able to fix the problem without repairs to your panel, breaker or wiring.

As far as doing further work with him, it's up to you. I can understand your frustration at having your basement partially without power for so long. If he's an independent operator, it's often difficult to deal with callbacks when you have to manage your workflow.
Also, a lot of independent tradesmen are very skilled, but lack basic business (or inter-personal) skills needed to deal with issues like yours. Stick with the 'known', if you are happy with the work he has done, since you may very well be less satisfied with another person.
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2009
4716 posts
2643 upvotes
dreaderus wrote: I don't understand the response. perhaps you could clarify this point?
Well I don't really understand your post in general. What are you trying to get out of it? Sympathy from someone? Maybe you can clarify this. I thought my post was pretty clear.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 11, 2007
3616 posts
571 upvotes
Mississauga
pootza wrote: Well I don't really understand your post in general. What are you trying to get out of it? Sympathy from someone? Maybe you can clarify this. I thought my post was pretty clear.
My post was for advice to either let it go or dispute it with the contractor. I understand why you posted now and won't lower myself to what you deserve to be referred to as.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 11, 2007
3616 posts
571 upvotes
Mississauga
MrFrugal1 wrote: If the wire to the breaker directly above wasn't torqued to the correct specification, then it was an issue with the original install. You didn't "pay him again", since it wasn't his work that was at fault.
Pay him, and be happy that he was able to fix the problem without repairs to your panel, breaker or wiring.

As far as doing further work with him, it's up to you. I can understand your frustration at having your basement partially without power for so long. If he's an independent operator, it's often difficult to deal with callbacks when you have to manage your workflow.
Also, a lot of independent tradesmen are very skilled, but lack basic business (or inter-personal) skills needed to deal with issues like yours. Stick with the 'known', if you are happy with the work he has done, since you may very well be less satisfied with another person.
One will never know eh? :) If i touched someone's stuff as part of a job I did if i wasn't sure it was on me its not how I would have handled things.
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2009
4716 posts
2643 upvotes
dreaderus wrote: My post was for advice to either let it go or dispute it with the contractor. I understand why you posted now and won't lower myself to what you deserve to be referred to as.
How can you dispute it with the contractor ... you already paid him. You also told him don't come over unless you're in the area. I think you should be grateful that he found a loose wire that someone else caused and possibly saved your house from burning down and the lives of your family.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Jan 11, 2007
3616 posts
571 upvotes
Mississauga
pootza wrote: How can you dispute it with the contractor ... you already paid him. You also told him don't come over unless you're in the area. I think you should be grateful that he found a loose wire that someone else caused and possibly saved your house from burning down and the lives of your family.
You mean I found a problem the day after the install and it took 2 months for him to come back and inspect what was the result of the updates made to my panel in June by him. I was getting ready to call someone else to take a look at it for the reason you are condescending me for.

How do you know someone else caused it?
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2009
4716 posts
2643 upvotes
dreaderus wrote: How do you know someone else caused it?
I sat as a juror and listened to the evidence you provided and as you only provided circumstantial evidence I had decided that you did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the electrician did in fact cause the problem and I had to come to the conclusion and issue a not guilty verdict. Therefore someone else caused it.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2011
1436 posts
1121 upvotes
HAMILTON
Well, you called with the problem and he said he would come out but was going to charge you. You asked him to come when he was next in the area trying to minimize the cost of the service call.
So, any delay in the service all was at your request and in an attempt to minimize the cost.
He came out. There was not a problem with the work that he did. He may not have noticed other work on the panel that required repair but he was also not hired to do so.

I don't have a big problem with what he did or the charge.
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2007
2619 posts
1594 upvotes
Alliston, ON
dreaderus wrote: You mean I found a problem the day after the install and it took 2 months for him to come back and inspect what was the result of the updates made to my panel in June by him. I was getting ready to call someone else to take a look at it for the reason you are condescending me for.

How do you know someone else caused it?
The electrician offered to come back the day after you discovered the problem, you told him to not make a special trip and wait till he was in the area... and now its his fault it took 2 months

Pay the electrician and be done with it.
Deal Addict
Feb 16, 2013
1565 posts
1323 upvotes
Toronto
I do electrical for a living.
With older installs you always run into can of worms type situations.
You try to disturb it as little as you can and hope for the best.

Case in point.

Opened up a junction box with way too many wires in it.
Added one more circuit.
Crammed everything back in the box.
Circuit works; cool.
Customer comes back and tells me lights in a particular hallway stopped working.
Had to open the box and shake the wires until I saw arcing from a loose joint.


It's not the guys fault.
Stringing you along for 2 months is another matter.
....
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
17619 posts
8299 upvotes
To me the issue is whether the electrician actually loosened the wire or was it already loose to begin with. If the wire was already loose to begin with, then I do not think it is fair to blame the electrician if it became looser. Now if the electrician had undone that wire (e.g. move the circuit to another spot on the panel) then it is 100% the electricians fault and you should not be charged.

One of the downsides of any renovation is that it can have unintended consequences. Those consequences are not always the fault of the person that uncovered it or last touched it, and in a case like this if the wire was already loose (and the electrician did not touch the wire / circuit) then it's not their fault.
Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
11479 posts
6660 upvotes
Paris
Call him back in and have him torque down ALL the wires in your panel! Arcs build heat which build fire which burn down your house.

Also, agree with others. The 2 months wait was on you trying to minimize your costs. He would have come back the next day if you agreed to pay him for his time if it was not his fault. He likely would have charged you less too.

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