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Bad post on local homeowners' forum (with response by JohnNY)

***PLEASE NOTE: The following post is not about my company. My response is voluntary participation from a 3rd-party perspective***

Plumber Electrician

Categories: General Contractors

Negative Recommendation - Recently my contractor hired an electrician and plumber for the work at my house. The agreement stated that they would pull permits and cover all materials. After talking to us in terms of what we wanted to get done, they changed our requirements without telling us, started to nickel and dime us for everything they didnt want to do. After telling us that the permits are on the way, I kept checking DOB site, they finally gave us permits a month later. These turned out to be fake documents. When we told them they are not getting paid and didnt want to work with them, they didnt really say much, took the permits and said there was some sort of error. Their names are "xxxx". Please refrain from doing business from them as they are dishonest. They are licensed by the city as home improvement contractors and not as master plumber and electrician

By "xxxx" at June 29, 2010 12:24 PM


By Master Plvmber on June 29, 2010 4:48 PM

There is so much of this going on now, it’s disturbing.

I don't know the people the poster mentions and have never heard of them, but my company frequently gets calls and emails from architects, general contractors, homeowners that are self-contracting and designers inviting us on pre-bid walkthroughs and jobsite meetings.

Since the economic collapse, we find ourselves on jobs with the most unqualified “contractors” we’ve seen in years.

Beautiful, amazing homes are undergoing full and partial renovations by laborers with minimal experience led by foreign foremen who themselves are barely familiar with our Codes, materials and expected conduct. Suddenly there are bottom lines being offered at new lows by an influx of silver-tongued, make-believe tradesmen.

Stories about invented credentials and years-in-business have become common in community and homeowner’s web forums. Search this very blog for an afternoon of reading material on the subject.

For the first time in recent memory, I’m witnessing so-called tradesmen leaving food and garbage around jobsites, creating havens for rats and roaches and then putting up walls giving them a permanent home for the homeowner to deal with. Last week, a builder actually had to circulate an email and put up signs in different languages asking the sub-contractors to please stop pissing in the garbage bins. A job site toilet and sink were installed specifically to prevent such a thing. This is not a bonus, it is a requirement.

On estimates, I find myself walking around jobsites I’m not contracted to yet warning people about what I’m seeing, only to have people take my words as a ploy to create work and then not hiring me. So what do I do? Keep my mouth shut? It seems to be the better business decision.

Every fall I get tens of calls from people who had plumbing and heating alterations made to their homes over the summer that failed miserably once the weather turned cold. I’m charged with the task of showing them which walls need to be reopened and which floors need to be excavated. It’s like telling people they need cardiac surgery.

Brooklyn and Manhattan are full of fantastic brownstones and townhouses, but the economy has created a market for the cheapest labor and materials around. Legitimate mechanical contractors like me have done very well in the past ten years ripping out and replacing the old, neglected plumbing and heating systems in the now-desirable buildings of Park Slope and West Village. The pipes we pulled out were taped together, holes plugged with tapered wooden shims, not vented right, not pitched properly, leaking, creating mold, passageways for rats and mice… you name it. It was people doing the absolute minimum to keep their buildings habitable. Many had become illegal multi-families.

We’re going back to that level of building quality, quickly. Please give careful consideration to who is going to work in your home. Architects/engineers: you’ve taken the time to create a plan. Have some say in who installs your design. It is a decision that will make or break your reputation.

Master Plvmber

(aka John Cataneo)

<a href="http://www.GatewayPlumbing.com/">www.GatewayPlumbing.com</a>


So there you have my most recent internet rant. I hope my fellow HeatingHelpers can concur.



  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,547
    Well said, John.

    And something that needs to be said often. Thanks for saying it here. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    There has never been a shortage of ignorance in this industry...

    And when the going gets tough, the stupid get stupider. Including the consumer who see the tough times as an opportunity to cash in on people who are down on their luck.

    The old adage of "You DON'T get what you DON'T pay for" could not be closer to the truth.

    People who intentionally make up things like permits, and certificates of ANYTHING need to be run out of town on a rail, and simply bad mouthing them on the internet by the consumer does little to no good in that effort. It takes someone with the time and gumption to actually contact the local DA's office to make certain that it is followed through with and the offender is prosecuted.

    I had to do this once for a neighbor, who lost both arms and one leg in an accident (40 foot aluminum ladder into a high voltage line with him trying to control the fall on the bottom end) . The State of Colorado hired some clown who was allegedly licensed to do work in Denver to convert his home to an handi-cap accessible home. When I called the city inspector to tell him what was going on, the only thing he did was issue a Stop Work order. I ended up contacting the DA and pressing charges against the contractor for the homeowner and his wife. They sentenced the clown to 2 years in jail, and let him off with 1 year worth of supervised probation.

    I also contact the State Workmens Comp and had them begin an internal investigation and found out that the contractor was a relative of the person in charge of ordering work to be done under the compensation program. She got fired, and he got banned from ever working for the State of Colorado again in ANY capacity.

    Some times, when things get ugly, you have to get uglier...

    Good on you John for taking the initiative to respond. If more people like you were to do this, there would be less people out screwing consumers into the ground.


    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH) Member Posts: 281
    Sometimes they're bankrupt & long gone

    As was the case today. Visited a very sick multi-geo/boiler hybrid radiant/hydro-air system today. Never did work properly and the three geo units and boiler and indirect and chilled and warm tanks do not talk to each other. A Munchkin 199 with a 007 on its primary loop doesn't exactly help either, but certainly provides a window into the mind-set of the installer. Banks of Taco circs on both sides. Huge snow melt sys too, which kills the home's heating/DHW when activated!

    There will never be a shortage of work for those who choose to be in the know before they design & go! Fixing goofy installs has become a routine part of our work.

    Just tackled and fixed a 4-head Fujitsu install (4th contractor in & 3rd 'new' system in 3-years) by simply following proper protocall to evacuate and charge the previously multiple-break-ins to the refrigerant circuits sans nitrogen or vacuums. They too are now bankrupt.

    Do it once - do it right, but don't expect officials to ever properly police this industry. Belly up to the permit bar and hand over the money because that's the lone issue of most importance & then it's truly a let-the-buyer-beware.

    Faking the docs is fraud, however, and that they can use to hammer the clowns. 
This discussion has been closed.