I woke up on a Thursday morning with no running water in the whole house. We are on a well, not city water. I looked online and found a company with many good reviews. I called them and they sent a technician. The technician arrived on time at 3pm. He immediately asked for a cup of hot tea.
When I reminded him that he was here because I had no water, he informed me that he had bottled water in his truck that I could use if I wanted to. He then asked for the key to my home wireless network saying that he might need to look up some technical information about the pump online.
Once he was settled in, he wrote out a statement of the rates and had me initial every rate, which was $95 for an emergency call and $149 for every hour spend troubleshooting. He said it might take two hours to diagnose the problem and stressed that his rate was hourly and for diagnosis only–no work. He then began to investigate the problem, with frequent very long breaks on the internet during which he wore ear-buds.
Three hours later he said the problem was either the power to the pump or the pump itself. When we discussed the cost of repair he said it would be between $1,500 and $5,000. When I told him the price was high, he replied “what are you doing to do, you have no water” and then told me to buy a gym membership so I could shower at the gym. He said he would prepare an estimate and e-mail it to me that evening after dinner and I should let him know right away if I approve so he could put me on the work schedule for 8am the next morning.
I checked my email several times during the evening up until 11:30pm and never received the estimate. By 8:15 am Friday morning there was still no estimate. I called the AA Rapid office and was told they were working on it and it would be ready in two hours. In the meantime, when I checked the downstairs bathroom, I noticed the tub and sink were full of dirt and debris.
I discovered that the technician had changed the water filter (which was not due to be changed and I had not asked him to change) and dumped it out in the sink and tub even though there was an outdoor drain right outside the back door adjacent to where he was working on the well plumbing. The old water filter was in a trash can and a banana peel was on a table.
At this point I called another company and scheduled a technician to come out. They arrive and within 20 minutes (and without internet access or hot tea) had determined that a fuse was blown which they replaced and traced the problem to the cable and/or pump. When they examined the well outside, they found the AA Rapid technician had wired the hot to ground at the pump, which blew the fuse and tripped the breaker in the house. This same task that took them 20 minute took the AA Rapid technician 3 hours.
The AA Rapid repair estimate arrived about 10 am. It contained a list of tasks, with no subtotals, and a final total that read $5,5500. A note at the bottom indicated that if the cable needed to be replaced, it would be extra–the estimate was only for the pump replacement.
The new company gave me an estimate on the spot of $1,500 to $2,500. They indicated they had everything they needed for the replacement with them. They began the repairs immediately and had completed all the work two hours after they arrived. They diagnosed the problem, pulled the pump, replaced it and the cable, and put it all back in the ground in less time than the AA Rapid technician had taken to “troubleshoot” the problem.