LESLIE: Bob in Rhode Island is on the line and is having some mystery electrical issues at their house. What’s going on? Electrician charged for mistakes?
BOB: I gutted the whole house out and I rewired – I had an electrician come in and rewire the whole house. And he finished up and I’m putting the plug covers on and I plug something in and I – it didn’t work. So I plugged another plug in; it didn’t work. I went to another one; didn’t work.
So I called him back. He comes over and he says, “There must be a plug buried somewhere. There’s got to be an outlet buried underneath the new plaster.” My question is: how can I find it?
TOM: So, this guy did all this wiring work and he missed the fact that he put in a whole bunch of outlets that had no power?
BOB: Yeah. Can you imagine? He didn’t test the power when he was done?
TOM: No. It’s ridiculous. This is ridiculous. This guy did not do his job and he should be able to track this down for you.
BOB: Oh, yeah. He wanted – he started tracking but he wanted to be paid for tracking it.
TOM: So, he wanted to be paid for missing it.
LESLIE: “Give me more for my mistake.”
BOB: Yeah, he wanted more money.
TOM: And you paid him for the rest of the work already.
BOB: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I paid him for everything.
TOM: No. Well, it’s not right. It’s going to be difficult for you to track this down without specialized tools, I’ll tell you that. It’s kind of a matter of just taking each circuit and starting at the panel and then following the wires up to see where they go and trying to figure out where the disconnect is.
BOB: Yeah. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. Because as I looked, when he was explaining to me how he wired, I think it’s pretty odd he wired a key, come up with the live and he went from one box and then went left and then also went right from the same power source. I mean that’s kind of weird. Even being an amateur, I wouldn’t do that.
TOM: Yeah. You might want to try tracking it from the sockets back. You may have better luck trying to figure out where the disconnect is. It sounds like he didn’t hook something up, though. If he rewired these outlets and didn’t figure out that they weren’t hot to begin with, that’s a real problem.
BOB: Oh, no. He didn’t – no, he didn’t rewire. We rewired the whole house. We did – I took out all the wire in the house.
TOM: You took all the wire in the house out.
BOB: Oh, yeah. He started from scratch here. It’s all brand-new wire.
TOM: Well, how is it possible he missed this? That’s what I’m not getting.
BOB: Neither am I.
TOM: So, when he went in to do the wiring, were the walls open? Did you pull the drywall out or what was the case?
BOB: Oh, yeah, yeah. Gutted it. I totally, totally ripped everything up. Picture, just imagine an old house without any wood or plaster.
TOM: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Wow. So this guy goes in, he wires the whole house, you put the drywall in, he comes back in to hook everything up and he’s got a bunch of outlets that have no power. This is his problem, OK?
LESLIE: Yeah. You shouldn’t be paying twice.
TOM: So, this is his problem. You shouldn’t be paying him twice. He screwed this up and he needs to come back and fix it or you’re going to have to sue him or file a complaint against his license.
LESLIE: Or all of the above.
TOM: This is his problem. This guy is incompetent and you shouldn’t be paying him to fix his blunders. You paid him to wire the whole house. He obviously blew it.
LESLIE: And an electrician is the last one you want doing shortcuts and not great work.
BOB: Yeah, exactly. I was shocked when he expected to be paid for the day he spent troubleshooting it.
TOM: Yeah. And he spent a day troubleshooting and he still hasn’t figured it out?
BOB: Correct. He wanted – he asked you – he had his hand out. I was like, “What? Are you kidding me? I’ve got to pay you for not doing it right?”
TOM: Yeah, exactly. I think that’s your option.
Now, if you don’t want him to come back, then the other thing you could do is hire a different electrician. But then you’re going to have to go after him for the cost.
BOB: Right. Yeah.
TOM: Alright? Well, I’m sorry that happened to you but that’s where you’re at, OK?
BOB: Alright. Thank you.
TOM: Alright. Good luck. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.