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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Saturday, I get a call from HO. Lights are flickering and 1/2 the house is dead. I show up, test power with main off. One leg is dead for an underground feed. I tell HO to call poco.

HO calls poco and verifies that her line is bad and installs a 30 day temporary bypass until old line can be replaced.

We call for locate service, and then go out today to see if we can find bad spot at pedestal in the backyard. The pedestal is in the neighbor's backyard. We dig it up and sure enought the old line is severed right under a plant that was planted in October (per the neighbor).

My customer took pics before we dug and afterward. Pics clearly show plant above bad spot. The neighbor, who had a new pool, landscaping, and sprinkler system installed in October, calls the pool company. The pool company calls his sub, the landscaper. The landscaper comes out and says he didn't put the plant there, he put it 2 feet away. (Keep in [email protected] 2 feet away, the ground is hard as sh!t.) He denies everything.

Then, neighbor calls pool company back. Pool company says he wants to see damage. He says that we must stop working. He says if we remove the old wire, he will deny everything. Pool guy says he can come out within the next 7 days because he is busy. He then tells the neighbor that his electrician should see it before its removed.

My electrician calls me and says they want him to wait. I tell him to keep working, I'm not waiting for anyone to come see it. Everyone took pictures and had a first hand look at the damage.

Then, my customer says for us to stop. She wants to wait to see if the pool guy will pay. The neighbor already made it clear she wasn't paying.

So, I decided to go to the job to put my eyes on everything. When I arrive, I introduce myself to the neighbor, take a look at the XFMR, etc. The wire had already been yanked by this time and a jet line put in its place.

So, what would you do?

Wait? Proceed? Bill for a day spent on the job?

I do have a conclusion to this story, but I was stuck in the predicament for about 20 minutes. But I am curious as to what you guys would have done.

One last thing I forgot to add. Our poco requires that you put nothing within 4 foot surrounding his pedestal or he will rip it out (his words). There is a sprinkler line with 12 inches of the pedestal that we found when we dug it up.
 

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Generally I tell the customer who called me that payment in full is due by them at the end of the day or job or however the work is done at the time. I don't duke it out with others insurance companies, contractors etc.
But with your client telling you to stop not sure I could have gone both ways as far as payment. I hope it worked out for you!
 

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Customer wants me to wait, I will wait. As long as he knows my hourly rate for waiting is the same as my hurly rate for working.
 

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I'm in Katy as well...small world.

I'll be interested to see how this plays out, and I'd also be interested to know the name of the pool company (or landscaper) via PM if you wouldn't mind.
 

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I would have directed my guys to stop all work when the client asked them to stop.
Told them to p/u and be ready to roll when I get there. Quick look over the job and conversation with homeowner/client letting them know we took pictures and filled hole in for safety and call me if they want me to repair and I will give them a cost.I would bill it out while onsite and collect payment before I left and tell them I would be glad to send a recap of our findings but we are done.They can figure out who owes what to who but I'm out.
 

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The service belongs to the HO or the POCO. If the HO wants it fixed,fine,if not collect your fee and leave. In my area the other utilities damage the underground,tape em' up and leave all the time! Unless you can find some DNA:)eek:) at the crime site,it's going to be a hard sell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would have directed my guys to stop all work when the client asked them to stop.
Told them to p/u and be ready to roll when I get there. Quick look over the job and conversation with homeowner/client letting them know we took pictures and filled hole in for safety and call me if they want me to repair and I will give them a cost.I would bill it out while onsite and collect payment before I left and tell them I would be glad to send a recap of our findings but we are done.They can figure out who owes what to who but I'm out.
This is basically what I did. When I got there I tried to tell the customer we needed to charge more if we were going to waste a day on it. Just so happened the poco showed up to take the meter out (they don't allow us to do it) so we could remove the old line.

Then the husband half of my customer shows up. It was my first encounter with him. He is smiling and laughing at it all. He says, "You know, why can't people just be responsible? If I had some people working for me and they hit her (the neighbor) line, I'd just write the check and deal with my pool contractor."

Then, he told us since we had been on the job all today, he wanted it finished which we did. In the meantime, he went and yelled at the neighbor and told her what he thought about it.

Long story short, I got to finish the job. It could have been worse. But it was very awkward for about 20 minutes on what was going to happen.
 

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I'd be informing the customer i'm an electrician, not a lawyer, investigator, or mediator

~CS~
 

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Now that everyone has smartphones, document everything. Take pictures and video as you proceed. Video with narration is the best. Use landmarks of the yard how far away from pool, fence, etc... while narrating.

Make sure you then upload to the cloud or send to yourself (other email account) in case something goes wrong, like having no chip for storage in the phone.

Having this, will greatly assist in shaking money loose from whomever or an insurance company. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. But recall for next time.
 

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Or if you have a crappy camera phone like me digital cameras are cheap insurance too.
 
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