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Question about contractor and payment issue....


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So when we moved into our new house we hired an electrician to do some work in our house. We had a fixture added to a room where there were no ceiling lights and had some of the fixtures changed out to recessed cans. So they ran some wiring, added fans, added can lights and lots of things. One of the things they did was to put all the fans/lights on dual switches meaning that there is one switch for the light and one for the fan (that way I don't have to pull on the chain because I'm too short to reach them). 

Anyway, the one in our bedroom was put on a dimmer switch so I can adjust the fan speed with one switch and then adjust the brightness of the light with the other switch. 


It suddenly stopped working correctly. Now if I try to turn the light up any higher than halfway the switch shorts out and the light goes off completely. I can't turn the light up more than halfway at any time. I called them back to come fix it because in my mind there was something wrong with the switch and it should still be working so they needed to come fix the problem. 


The tech can out and worked for about 30 minutes. He came down and told me that the fan was going bad and I had to replace the entire fixture - fan and lighting and that they would come out and put a new fan in after I chose one. He simply said something about the lighting part on the fan had gone bad. 


I'm not an electrician at all and this didn't make sense to me. The light worked on the highest setting before they put in the dimmer switch. Only a few weeks after the dimming switch was added my light started shorting out. So in my mind it didn't make sense that my entire fixture suddenly went "bad" after they did work to it. 


So he said he would have to charge me a service charge for coming out since the issue was on my end and not related to the work they had done. Ummm, not what I was expecting at all! I was initially told they would just come out and fix the switch since that was likely causing the problem. 


He told me the service charge was $75 which seems pretty typical for a service charge where I live. Then he said there was an additional $50 charge "for his time." I nearly choked. I have never paid for a service call plus their time - for the record he was in my home for a max of 30 minutes. I paid the charge to get him out of my house and then I called my husband. He was not thrilled and called the owner of the company. He told my husband that this is normal and that the service charge is for the first 15 minutes they are in your home and then you pay for their time spent after that 30 minutes. Oh my goodness! Never again!!!


Anyway, what would you have done? Is this typical? 


Also, this electrician was highly recommended (and I am happy with the other work that they did) and his daughter is in the American Heritage Girls troop where my daughters go. So I'm not trying to cause a huge problem but I felt that this was highly unfair. At no time was there mention of paying for time above and beyond the charge for the first 15 minutes of the service call. What kind of work can anyone get done in 15 minutes!?


Obviously we won't use their company again but I just wanted to know if anyone else had an experience like this. It was totally unexpected on my part. 

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In our area a service charge is basically to arrive at your house and diagnose the issue.  The time and materials to fix the issue is above that fee.  I would return the light with the receipt and the diagnosis from the professional.  It should be replaced. (You may have to deal with the manufacturer directly.)  You can hire someone else to install it, but I am guessing they would charge more than $50. Maybe you can DIY?


My husband does reasonable warranty work for free(he is a painter) and has never charged a service call fee. Ever.  But we have paid them to other servicemen.

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My SO is an electrical contractor that owns his own company. He has a one hour minimum charge. So for this call it would have been just 75$ unless it was a problem with work he previously did. For a ceiling fan install its $150, that is including his time. Just thought I'd add that in case you wanted a reference amount.

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