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DIY Caveat

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  • DIY Caveat

    Folks - just a note about DIY

    Scenario: Property owner rents out executive house with built-in espresso machine.

    Prior tenant attempts to "unblock stoppage" in copper inlet line ("what's de scaling for?") from reciprocating pump to boiler and breaks copper feeder: replaces with air hose from paint ball gun and original double olive gas compression fittings which are crushed with pliers or Vise Grips.

    Water leaks even though several yards of PTFE tape are utilised. Rust, corrosion, and water shorts out LED lighting. Machine lies dormant for some time plugged with calcium scale like plaque in coronary arteries in a long time fast food aficionado.

    New tenants try machine. No joy. Property manager calls me. I fix the machine. New tenants are blamed but refuse to pay for repair. Owner refuses to pay for repair. Property manager refuses to pay for repair. Everybody points fingers and no one wants to be held accountable.

    And I refuse to work on any more machines for the real estate company.

    In conclusion, unless you're qualified, please don't DIY on any machine that isn't your own. You may be causing all sorts of havoc down the road for hapless machine operators and starving machine technicians like myself.

    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    Very simple scenario for you mate.

    The property manager called you. He therefore pays you direct or the small claims court will instruct him to. His choice, not yours.

    The other scenario (where people shouldn't muck around with stuff that isn't theirs) should be a part of the old "common" sense deal.

    Hope that helps.


    • #3
      And if I may add a little...

      If it is exactly as per you described, it is an open and shut case, so the small claims court will direct the property manager to pay you.

      To fill out a claim, file it, and then present at the court or to mediation (sometimes more than once) is a costly affair in terms of your time.

      So if you do a claim, you dont just pass on the court cost for filing the claim and for service of the summons to the other party.

      So I would be adding the cost (at your normal hourly rate) for a few hours to do the claim and present at court or mediation.

      For example. An hour to go down to the courthouse, fill in the claim and file. Atleast an hour to go down for a mediation and an hour of your time time wasted in getting all your stuff together. This is time wasted where you would/should have been working on billable hours, and is quite legit.

      That will add 3 hours legitimate cost for you to do a claim, on top of the court costs and the figure of the claim for work done remaining unpaid.

      At mediation / court, stick to your guns re the extra charges. They will (always) try everything to get out of paying them, just be steadfast, and you will get more than the cost of the original job.

      Again, if the scenario is pretty much as decribed by you above making it pretty much an open and shut case, the property manager would be foolish not to roll over and just pay your invoice.

      Be nice, state your case which includes an explanation of how if they force you to make a claim, it will include the extra charges for your time spent on the extra administration time incurred by you. Stick to the facts (or as someone once stated, "lets not get distracted")...they called you out. The rest is totally irrelevant, dont care.

      Next time the prop manager calls, (nicely) tell him there is a $1000.00 service call charge payable up front in cash or you will be unable to help.

      Hope that helps.


      • #4
        Thanks, TOK. I did document everything. On a good note the new tenants were very appreciative and delighted that they now can make flat whites with their rancid coffee beans.


        • #5
          ... and thanks for the advice about claiming. I haven't had an issue yet. I had a bad feeling about this repair as the property manager and the tenants were already at arms over several unrelated issues.


          • #6
            I have been down this road a few times over the years and the success rate in small claims court is pretty good but it takes up a mozza of your time where you should have been doing billable work. Especially where the OP doesnt care and will obstruct the process to spin it out and make you lose more time, by not turning up to mediation, or to court, then arguing to beat you down etc.

            Dont get angry, get even.


            • #7
              I've got a pretty cool head. I'm waging that the repair will be less costly than tying their time up in court.

              I'll let you know how it plays out.


              • #8
                Update: Went into Real Estate with report and images. Sat waiting and didn't leave until I cornered the head property manager. I calmly explained that I was going to go back to the house and retrieve my pump and fittings and leave the old pump and fittings on top of the machine. She said she'd process payment by the end of the month. I considered charging a late fee but decided not to. COD next time. At least she didn't question the amount.