Monday, November 7, 2016

A Simple Repair Made Agonizing

There is a solid reason I almost never call big companies to work inside my house. When I want electrical, plumbing, painting or assorted other work, I generally ask friends (Facebook is great for references). I broke that rule when an electrical switch had a problem Friday and called Southern Trust, partly because it has 24/7 service.

Immediately, I found that a weekend call would be $99, instead of $49. That's just to show up. I told them Monday would be early enough; I'd get by. The problem was that the on/off switch for the kitchen lights broke off in my hand. I took a stab at fixing it, but didn't trust myself (a good policy). I discovered that the switch controlled about half the electricity on the house's main floor and everything upstairs, but it was all lights, nothing that heats, so I was OK.

I ran an extension cord from one of the working outlets downstairs and made sure my TV and computers were working. I was set until today.

The young man showed up a little after 11 a.m. today and immediately launched into an up-sell, which took him more than 15 minutes to deliver. I said three times during his spiel that I only wanted the outlet replaced, nothing more and especially nothing that would total $813.72, his proposal's cost.

I finally convinced him that I just wanted the one service and he went to work. He finished in five minutes, then went back into up-sell mode, insisting that I needed what was essentially insurance coverage, surge coverage and other stuff. No, I said, as firmly as I could. Then he went into billing mode, which took another 10 minutes to fill out as many forms as it takes to buy some cars.

He finally left me with coupons for future service and a card that asked me to evaluate his performance. I'm not going to fill it out--preferring to write this--but Danny is a competent electrician from what I can tell, one who is burdened with all the bullshit he has to sell.

The total bill--for installing a switchplate--was $247.12 (I had a $50 coupon printed from the company's website, so I wrote a check for $197.12). That's crazy expensive. Danny spent five minutes on the work and 40 selling. Shouldn't be that way.



  1. You should complete the survey and let the company know that because of the upselling you won't be calling them again. Danny was just doing his job (and probably makes extra for anything he can sell.) The company that does HV/AC maintenance for us started doing that and after we explained tat we'd no long be a customer, that all stopped.