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Thread: Overcharged by electrician

  1. #1
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Overcharged by electrician

    I will appreciate if our Sparkies can shed some light on the bill that we have received from an electrician.

    After a recent storm and 200mm rain in Durban. Lights for units 3 & 5 tripped at 8.30pm. Switched on at electricity DB room next morning and went out again after 30 min.
    Electrician was called out and spent from about an hour finding/repairing the fault. Apparently also had something to do with the faulty DB board of no 5. Incorrect wiring caused no 3 to trip as a result. As the guy was very busy with call outs from storm damage, he came back to complete the job the following day.
    The electrician forgot to switch the lights back on for unit 4 and he came back in the evening just for that purpose. He says he did not charge for the call out as it was his fault.

    1st account received:
    Call out unit 3&5, trip found, breakers blown and cable burnt, replaced breaker and cable tested OK R5,689.78 No detail provided.

    We asked for a detailed account and received the following:

    Call out unit 3&5, trip found, breakers blown and cable burnt, replaced breaker and cable tested OK
    Call out after hours Quantity 3Unit price R550= R1650
    Call out fee Q 1 unit R450 =R450
    Replace breaker Q 1 unit R580 =R580
    2nd day Trace & find fault Q 4 unit R450 = R1800
    Replace splice and repair cable equipment Q 1 unit R1209.78 = R1209.78

    TOTAL R5,689.78

    Another account was generated for unit 5 to be paid by the owner:
    Unit 5 supply and fit new earth leakage and redo reticulation on DB to standard R2,462.98

    My query is - there was no after hours call-out, so that will not be paid.
    - should the call-out fee not be covered by the actual hours worked? My understanding is that a call -out fee is to cover travelling expenses and time should there be no work generated.
    - 4 hours for tracing and finding a fault @ R450 per hour?
    - Is the fee for the specified work fair and above board?

    As I am not an electrician and I do not want to call the guy an opportunist or at worst a liar, so I will appreciate some input from the experts.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

  2. #2
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    There's no electrical industry standard way of charging so this is a general business question as opposed to an electrical one. I'm not sure what this is 'Replace splice and repair cable equipment Q 1 unit R1209.78 = R1209.78 ', I'd ask for clarification. It's very expensive if it's just a cable joint but you can ask him what the materials are because they're under warranty so you need to know.

    As for his labour charges, can't really make head or tail of his explanation so I don't know if it's expensive. How many hours did he spend on site in total?
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  3. #3
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    He charges R450per hour which I do not have a problem with. Plus he added R450 as a call-out fee. He only worked during the day, so I don't know where the after hours call-out fee comes from.
    He charged R580 to replace the breaker, which I suppose is the cost of the item replaced.
    Is 4 hours to trace and find a fault reasonable?

    The way I see it is that you do not pay a carpenter for hitting in a nail, but you pay him for knowing where to place the nail.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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    Generally a lot of rip off seems to happen - a friend of mine was charges R6k to have faulty 60A isolator replaced in his db (on a Saturday pm)

    I think you must query all those charges in detail.

  5. #5
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Well this guy charged us R8,152.76.

    Not bad for about 4 hours work!
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

  6. #6
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    My feel from the info available is that it's expensive if he was on-site for 4 hours with no after-hour service but I'd suggest you'd need to query the invoice further with him and maybe face to face if possible. Did he leave the old cable and circuit breakers that were replaced with you? He's required to do so by law as far as I know, if he did can you attach a photo?
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    Diamond Member adrianh's Avatar
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    You got ripped off!
    How easily someone is offended is directly proportional to how stupid they are.
    ~GS Elevator

  8. #8
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    What made me suspicious was the vague account that read as follows:

    Call out unit 3&5, trip found, breakers blown and cable burnt, replaced breaker and cable tested OK R5,689.78 No detail provided.
    This was for the body corp.

    The 2nd account for the actual unit involved was:
    Unit 5 supply and fit new earth leakage and redo reticulation on DB to standard R2,462.98

    No breakdown or detailed explanation.

    I do not have a problem paying extra for good service, but this is ridiculous!
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

  9. #9
    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    I'm not as trigger happy as Adrian because I've made the mistake a few times where someone has asked me to verify someone elses quote/invoice and my initial kneejerk reaction has been to say it was a rip off, then when I actually see the job and go through my own quoting exercise I realise it actually wasn't far off the mark at all. I'd respectfuly suggest in this case the biggest immediate problem is lack of communication between you and the contractor. If you can focus on and fix that particular issue I think the road to an amicable resolution will be a lot less rocky.
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  10. Thank given for this post:

    ACEsterhuizen (23-Aug-16), Blurock (23-Aug-16), Dave A (23-Aug-16)

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