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A Story of Duck-And-Cover Billing

As I type this, there are two perfectly nice gentlemen in my house, repairing some minor things that every new house experiences. Nail pops. Meghan and I found this company online through a reputable online referral source for these sorts of odd-jobs. But something just happened that made my value pricing-infused blood boil.

We had someone come out a month ago and scope out the work. This is how it went:

  • We need this bannister more firmly adhered to the wall. A series of stair runs by three 11 year-olds has loosened it.
  • No problem.
  • We have a leak stain in our den that came about from a storm last year.
  • Got it. I can do it if you have the paint.
  • We have several nail pops in our bonus room.
  • Click, click…photos added to iPhone.
  • Quote prepared, sent to us for review and approval.

We reviewed the quote and saw a line in there about our ceiling. The line in the quote indicated, “Ceiling not included.” Now, we should have asked a question here, but we didn’t. The room in the house with the nail pops is the bonus room over the garage. If you have one of these, you know the room is about 70% ceiling, right?

I followed them upstairs to show them all the pops, and one of them said, “I don’t think the ceiling is included.” So, I asked, not meaning to sound like a smart-ass, “Where does the ceiling start in this room? It’s mostly ceiling, is it not?” And I got this blank stare, and then “Well, we need to call Scott.”

Upon the call to Scott, I found out that to fix the nail pops that I wanted to have fixed in the first place was going to cost me another $200. So, the question remains, which nail pops did Scott include in his original quote? His workers said, “The ones on the wall.” Then I said, “Does it make sense to fix those and NOT the ones on the ceiling?” They promptly threw Scott under the bus and said, “We don’t know why he did that. That doesn’t make sense to us.”

No one likes what I call Duck-And-Cover billing. Billing happens after the fact. I prefer pricing. Pricing happens before the work is done. I feel as though I have been ripped off here, and maybe I have been…maybe not. I don’t really know. But what I do know is that these guys came here to work pursuant to an agreed-upon quote, got started, then said to have all the nail pops fixed was going to cost me $200 more. This is crap, the perfect case of Duck-And-Cover.  This action right here is what gives this particular industry a bad reputation.

If we ever treat you this way, you have my blessing to curse me out and then resign as a client. I will have deserved it.
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