It was October 26th 2016 , the call came through my answering service. It was a woman inquiring about my services and upon returning her call I asked as always: where she had found my number? Oh! she said she had discovered me on one of those national review websites and placed the call based on my favorable reviews.
So as is my policy I explained the costs associated with getting me onsite to make a diagnosis of her problem and also advised her that because she found me on that review site, she would be entitled to a first time discount off her bill of $25.00. By the way, she did not have access to the internet but did make use of the phone in services that website offered to all of its members.
The day October 26th, 2016 and as I recall if was a Friday and as requested set up an appointment for 10 A.M. This women lived alone and had a little trouble getting around so it took her an extra minute or so to answer the door. We settled into the kitchen where I asked her exactly what kind of problem she was having. She said that local handyman that helped her out in the house on occasion saw a leak down in the basement and stated that it was coming from her 1st-floor toilet.
I ventured into the basement took a look and explained that the toilet would have to be removed in order to make a proper diagnosis. I also advised her that her toilet was very old and in need of some repairs. This might be a good time to make an upgrade and install a new energy efficient tank and bowl. I quoted her some prices starting with the good, better, best choices and she settled on the lesser of the three.
Now she was a big woman and I made her aware that the modern toilets were somewhat scaled down versions of what she was accustomed to so if she would rather have me repair the old toilet, I’d be happy to do it even though I didn’t think it was a cost effective choice. Well after weighing the choices and somewhat being shocked over the pricing of a new toilet, she agreed to proceed to go with a new tank and bowl installation.
By the way, as I tell all of my customers, I’m not the least expensive choice when shopping plumbing services and she was free to get other quotes if she so desired. She said it was fine, so as per my policy she signed off on my quote as presented on my invoice and I proceeded to get on with the task at hand. I pulled, removed and carted away the old bowl. Made my repairs to the underlying issue and Installed a new energy efficient toilet.
When I called her in to see the new installation, I think she was startled by the smaller foot print vs. what she had, but because this toilet was a comfort height model (taller), it made it easier for her mount and dismount. I went over all the features, demonstrated how it flushes and that she no longer had a leak in the basement.
She proceeds to pay me with a personnel check and as promised I extended a first time discount of $25.00 for new referrals. She then signed my invoice a second time stating that the job was done to her satisfaction, we exchanged pleasantries and as always, I asked for a review of my services on the referral service she had discovered me on. So Far, So Good! Right?
May 23, 2017- After being notified via email that I had a new review posted to my profile at this national review website, this is what I read:
Review Date: May 23, 2017
Robert Sessa Plumbing Company
* More Weight is given to a review where work has been completed.
Work Completed Date:
May 05, 2017
Last Modified Date:
May 28, 2017
Home Build Year:
Description Of Work:
Robert Sessa Plumbing put in a toilet.
Robert Sessa Plumbing admitted to me that he overcharges. He lives in my area. I had him come out because I had a leak in the basement, which I think I still have. He didn’t say anything, he just went ahead and did things. He didn’t have me choose a toilet or anything like that. I think this was an extraordinary amount of money just to put in a toilet. I asked him and he said I know, I charge more than I should.
I thought that was incredible that he would admit to me that he overcharges. He didn’t tell me he’d fixed the leak and I still have water. I called him for the leak and he told me it was in the toilet and I took him at his word because I trusted him to do that.
I called him back because the refilling of the tank was making a noise, which means it is using water. He came back and now you don’t hear the noise. That cost me $500 on the water bill which is why I had him back. I know how to fix it with the old toilet, but I didn’t know what to do for the new one.
Concerns? Please tell us!
Needless to say, I was dumbfounded and immediately called my sales rep. at the review site. I told him that none of these statements were true, that’s not how the sequence of events went and I wanted it taken down. His reply shocked me as he stated the membership owns their reviews and cannot be removed from the record. Now bear in mind that my first contact with this client was on October 26th, 2016 and on May 23rd, 2017 she decided she wasn’t happy with the way she was treated.
HELLO! Why is it that seven months had passed and I never received a call stating she was dissatisfied? To be fair she did call me back the following week to say that she heard water running. I returned to find out that she had been trying to adjust the water level in the tank herself. I took care of the adjustment, she thanked me for coming back and BAM! Posted her review. By the way, just for the record, she paid more than the stated amount in her review.
Now even though you are able to post a rebuttal to your reviews directly beneath the members’ comments, the webmasters at the review site reserve the right to “Censor” your rebuttal and water it down. The point I’m trying to make is that unwarranted reviews like this are be posted on a daily basis all around the country disparaging reputable contractors and it’s got to stop!
That review will remain in perpetuity and if you don’t think it affects your reputation, THINK AGAIN! So this 1s just one example of my experience with what I like to call a Consumer from Hell! Needless to say, I told the review site if they refuse to remove that review, I will immediately close my account and not advertise with them any longer. Although I can’t remove any information from there website I’m proud to say I no longer participate in any review sites of any kind.
I know social media is a big part of our lives, and good or bad the new generation of professional service consumers base their buying decisions mostly on reviews posted by sometimes not so honest people. And unless your hiring a professional “Reputation Defender” firm (yes they do exist) to surveil your companies reputation for bogus reviews, you’re SCREWED! My company is to small justify that added expense at this stage of my life. So folks their you have it, just one story from some mentally disturbed consumer (and i say that with Peace & Love) who just blatantly LIED about her experience with my services. Until next time…
Stay Well & Keep Out of Trouble