Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Little Story About the Plumber - January 24, 2008

Last March we needed some plumbing work done, so I looked in the phone book and picked out a plumber. I did ask for some recommendations from friends, but didn't get any. So, I picked out a plumber that had the same last name as my maiden name. He seemed like a nice enough guy during the consultation, and he was interested that we had our family name in common. We ended up having one toilet rebuilt and another replaced. The bill came to $605. When the guy who did the work (not Mr. Brooke's maiden name) gave me the bill, I asked if he needed a check or could I put it on my credit card. He said that either would be fine, so I opted for the credit card. I was thinking about the silly reward points we'd get.
In May when the credit card bill came I noticed that we'd been charged twice by the plumber. Two consectutive lines read $605. Bummer. I have some serious phone-a-phobia so I HATE making phone calls to people I don't know. I did call the plumber a couple of days later and explained the situation. He apologized and said the tech must have run the card before he ran the card, and he'd send out a refund check that day. He asked for my address, but I didn't feel like he had enough time to actually write it down, and I was a bit suspicious. We *should* have received the check the following day since in town mail only takes one day. We never got it.
Well, I waffled between forgetting and not wanting to call the credit card company for several months, and finally in October I called the credit card. After 20 minutes of reciting every detail of personal information in their database, I was able to convince them that I was who I said I was. The nice customer service fellow agreed that the double charge was a no brainer, and he'd let us dispute it. Every few weeks I received something in the mail requesting more information. Every time I sent it in. At the end of December they denied it! Pete called and screamed at several people when the truth came out. It was denied because I didn't file the dispute within 120 days. I can accept that, but WHY didn't the original customer service guy just tell me it was too late?
So, Pete calls the plumber in hopes of getting our $605 back. He faxed the invoice and credit card bill to the plumber, and Mr. Plumber agreed there is a problem. The check's in the mail. Once again, we didn't receive the check, so after a week Pete calls again and ended up going to his residence to pick up the check! I will be depositing it today. Will it clear? We'll see.
Personally, I think there was some fraud going on. The credit card wasn't charged until 2-3 weeks after the work was done, so it doesn't seem likely that two people ran the card.
I learned a couple of lessons. 1) If you have the money in the bank, write a check for services. 2) Check your credit card statement regularly. 3) If you find an error, deal with it promptly!!!!