Bad Business

The sound began in late November 2014.  My husband and I tried to ignore it.  With each day, the sound not only became more audible, but more visual.  Seeing the standing water in our bathtub was the final straw.

We had tried the “duck tape” fix as I like to call it.  Even my wonderful father-in-law came over with his extensive tool collection to see if we could be spared from having to call a plumber.  No such luck.

In February of this year, it was revealed to us that our hot and cold knobs had gone bad.  The seals were cracked, which explained why the water would never fully shut off.  We also discovered that this was the reason for the water never maintaining its proper temperature.  If you ran nothing but hot water, you received a lukewarm soak at best.

I sat nervously in the living room as the plumber went straight to work.  Loud banging noises as well as the unfamiliar smell of solder filled our house.  In three hours, we had a new, top of the line faucet and shower head (with adjustable settings).  Guess what else we had?  A hole in our bathroom wall leading from the top of the shower head to the base of the faucet.  The plumbing company that we used does not patch the hole or do any type of enclosure work.

So, the search began for someone to complete the project.  My mom had suggested a long time friend of the family.  In fact, he had even worked on their own shower enclosure.  He came over right away to take measurements.  We were told that we would receive several samples via e-mail by that Friday.  The e-mail never came.  My husband diligently called twice a week for two weeks, leaving messages each time.  Our calls have STILL not been returned.

We decided to take matters into our own hands and headed to Lowe’s.  After finding a simple (and affordable) enclosure, we asked one of the workers about scheduling an installation.  We were informed that Lowe’s no longer handles installations, but contracts through other local companies.  The worker printed off a list of their top five groups and told us that we would need to get in touch with them.

Matt called the first company on the list the very next day.  The scheduler made an appointment for us to receive a free estimate.  *Fred was so nice and polite.  He was actually the person that had installed our toilet years ago.  We showed him a photo of the enclosure that we wanted.  He told us that he was going up to Lowe’s later in the day and would look at our top choice and call back that Friday with a quote.  Three weeks later, we have STILL not heard from Fred.  Matt called and left several messages on his cell phone and messages on the company phone.

We began trying the other companies listed on the sheet.  One told us that they charge $50 just for an estimate.  No, thank you!  Still another told us that they don’t go “all the way out to Freeburg.”  I grabbed the phone book and headed straight to the yellow pages.  My husband reported that the very first number he called also stated that Freeburg is “too far away.”  And this coming from a company with a Belleville phone number!  We are literally 20 minutes away from Belleville, but you would think we live in Siberia.

Matt was able to schedule two plumbers this week.  A wonderful man from Spengler showed up promptly when he said he would and treated me like royalty.  Another plumber was supposed to come today between 9-11:00 a.m.  Notice I used the words supposed to.  Why?  HE NEVER SHOWED UP!  And he didn’t bother to call.

I like to think of myself as a very caring and understanding person.  If there is a sick family member, I totally understand needing to reschedule.  We had some pretty strong storms and even a tornado rip through parts of Illinois yesterday.  I would not have been surprised to hear that the plumber’s house may have suffered damage that needed immediate attention.  Instead, I received nothing.

What I would like to know is how are these businesses managing to stay in business?  You cannot tell someone that you will give them a quote and then simply never get back to them.  This is known as lying (something that you are taught not to do in kindergarten).  And not returning a potential client’s phone calls is rude and unprofessional.  Not to mention standing up a potential client with no given notice.

While I have purposely not listed the names of the offending companies, I would like to praise the two that actually showed up and did what was promised:  Spengler and Bell-O.  Even though Bell-O was almost a week late in giving us our quote, we did receive one.  We have a second meeting scheduled for next week with Spengler when the quote will be presented.

As my dearly departed Grandpa would say:  “The joys of home ownership.”

Will it ever be fixed?

*Name has been changed

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