• Report: #236026

Complaint Review: Mister Sparky

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  • Submitted: Thu, February 15, 2007
  • Updated: Mon, January 13, 2014

  • Reported By:Acworth Georgia
Mister Sparky
2064 Canton Road Marietta, Georgia U.S.A.

Mister Sparky ripoff Refused to give ball park estimate by phone but prices are pre-printed Paid service call to find out Marietta Georgia

*UPDATE Employee: Time and Experience

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Called to request estimate for installing a new circuit and asked for a ball-park figure. CS Rep told me they don't have prices and that a service person would have to look at the job. Didn't sound unreasonable for a custom installation job. I had them come on out. Found out their prices are already fixed, they just want you to pay a service call to find out what the price is.

Tech was competent and efficient. Sized up the job and showed me a very nice, laminated booklet with all of their prices. The job I needed done was specifically noted with a fixed, PRE-PRINTED price. The same price he checked on the PRE-PRINTED invoice he gave me.

The price was three times what I had budgeted, so I paid the tech $59.00 for the service call / estimate, and sent him on his way.

My issue is not with their prices. They can charge whatever they want. My issue is that they DO have pre-determined prices, but they sell the service call as if they're calculating each job individually. So you get to pay a service call to find out the answer to this question:

"What's a typical, ball-park charge for installing a '50A hot tub cct w/o GFCI'?" -- (quoted from the invoice)." Well, that costs $679.00, says so right on the pre-printed invoice.

When I asked for a ball-park notion of what they charge for installing "so-and-so", they could have disclosed their already printed price which would have ended the matter right there. Nope. They'd rather keep their secret until they've "earned" their fee for a service call, which is, in this case, all they'll get.

These people probably do good work, and they've certainly done a good job calculating what they charge for this-and-that. Fine. They market to people like me who have no idea what their services cost, but it'll cost you a service call to find out the price they already have all worked out in advance.

Bottom line, if Mister Sparky tells you they don't have any ball-park prices for the jobs they do, don't believe it. Just get ready to pay a service call to find out what they could have read to you from the very nice, pre-printed book that they'll show you when they get there.

Mister Sparky, please don't tell me you don't know what "so-and-so" will cost when it's already pre-printed on your invoice and all your tech has to do is check it off.

Terry
Acworth, Georgia
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/15/2007 01:00 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Mister-Sparky/Marietta-Georgia-30066/Mister-Sparky-ripoff-Refused-to-give-ball-park-estimate-by-phone-but-prices-are-pre-printe-236026. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Time and Experience

AUTHOR: bandr0407 - (United States of America)

I can understand your frustration, honestly.  However, even though the prices are "pre-printed", you will also notice after looking further that the same items are listed more than once.  There are things that the guy that comes to your house to do work has to look for.

The priority isn't to get a little travel charge, believe me.  That doesn't pay for the time the tech spends driving out to your house, the gas the truck uses and all the other expenses involved with running a business.  The idea is to make sure that you get a legit estimate. 

I've been doing electrical work for a long time and believe me, most of the time, it isn't just "adding a circuit".  What if your panel has no more available space for additional circuits? What if there's a more logical and less expensive option?  What if you get a ballpark price over the phone and when the tech gets out there to do the work, it's an 8 hour job instead of the 4 hour job that the "quoted" price reflects? 

You see, it's not that they want to just get in the door and collect a travel fee.  The customer service rep is NOT an electrician and cannot possibly see what it will take to add the circuit over the phone.  People always assume that things are so simple when in fact, when done incorrectly or in an unsafe manner, electrical repairs/installations can have disastrous results!

I have no clue what you do for a living and it is really none of my business.  But for example, what if you were a mechanic and someone called you up and asked you to fix their car?  It won't start and makes a funny noise when you turn the key. Could you possibly give them an accurate estimate for a repair having NEVER laid eyes on the vehicle?  The honest answer is no. 

A lot of people use Mister Sparky and are extremely satisfied with the service they receive.  Others are not as satisfied.  But even McDonalds doesn't receive good reviews 100% of the time.  Think about it, what probably costs them less than a dollar to make and they're selling it to you for over $5. 

Fact of the matter is, no one expects to work for free.  But until you know what work you'll be performing, how can you tell how much someone needs to pay.  As your post stated, you wanted a circuit added.  But you failed to give all the necessary details needed to get a quote from someone who has never done an ounce of electrical work in their life?  If all the electricians are in the office answering the phone, who will be out to your home to do the work?  Did you explore the website to see if there were any Free Estimate or Free Service Call coupons available?  I think that could've saved you at least the travel fee you were upset about paying.

In short, any Joe can do electrical work.  Question is, do they know what they're doing?  Did they did it safe?  Can you get in touch with them in 6 months if a problem occurs?  Will they guarantee their work and fix that problem for free?  Yes, you will pay more for a company like Mister Sparky to do work but at least you know you can find them if something goes wrong.  At least their technicians have the knowledge of the National Electrical Code AND local jurisdictional codes to ensure the work is done properly.  They don't just throw a guy in a truck and hand him that "beautifully laminated book" and tell them, go get 'em Tiger.  No, they have earned their job and position through years of experience and training, whether with the company they work for or others. 

Yes, money is always an important factor when deciding on who to use, I'm no idiot cause I do the same thing.  But always going with the cheapest isn't always the way to go.  Remember, you get what you pay for and thanks to the average handyman, Mister Sparky, and other companies like it, stay in business because after those things go wrong, the average customer gets fed up with paying multiple "electricians" to fix their problem and eventually call one of these reputable companies because they know the work is not only guaranteed, but the tech is held accountable as well. 

I know, cause it's what I do for a living.  I see it EVERY day and I talk to customers like that EVERY day.  Sure, I get the occasional "you guys are priced too high" or "my friend said he could do it for this much".  But I also know what can happen when things are jerry-rigged.  I lived in a house where an "electrician" did some work and not long afterwards, things went wrong and the house was never the same.  One big reason why I do what I do is because of that. My question to people would and always be, how much is peace of mind and quality work worth?  There's a reason why people buy mercedes instead of fords. 

Hopefully, this will enlighten people about service industries in general, not just Mister Sparky. 
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