Man in the White Van

It was 1:00pm on Tuesday when my friend invited the plumber in to fix his washing machine. The Plumber showed up on time and finished the job within a satisfactory period of time, but what he didn’t expect was the mess that was left behind from his labour and a machine that was worse than before.

When he phoned me to come over and have a look, I remember thinking that this must something insignificant, like a small pile of wire trimmings, or insulation and bits of tape.  Anyway, I agreed to come over and see this for myself.

We walked down into the basement and then he led me over to the laundry room. I looked inside the room and on the floor were several rolls of wire, most in one metre lengths, several rags with oil and grease stains on them, and a puddle of rust and water covering half of the room’s floor.

His wife had tried the machine with a load of laundry and the machine did not perform as it did before it had broke. The noise that came from the machine made me run over and turn it off—it was a squealing sound from the belt, even though the machine seemed to be going through the wash cycle normally as it was intended.

He had phone the company that he hired and made a complaint. The person on the phone said that they would talk to their technician and see if they can resolve the “situation.” The agreement was that the company would phone them back later the next day to try and sort everything out. So my friend waited, and there was no call from them, so he called back the next day after. He was talking to a new person this time, someone who seemed less a where of their business’s activities, and she passed the message onto someone else—who would call my friend back as soon as possible.

Today, they hired another plumber from a different company to come and fix the washing machine. The plumber came over and looked at the machine and then gave them the estimate of cost. He said that the motor was damaged and that it needed to be repaired at once. My friend asked the plumber if he noticed anything else wrong with the belt, as they described the sounds it made. He said that the belt was OK, and that it seemed to be band-new.

This time, they checked to see if the machine worked before the plumber left and made sure that room was free of any debris from the work. The machine seemed to be in good running condition, and the room was cleaned. So they thanked him and he went on his way.

The previous plumber has not been heard from—yet. My friend is considering going to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to complain. Then they are considering some form of legal action because the machine was never fixed and about the state of the room after this guy left it. They are not holding their breath because they know how hard it can be to get their money back from a dispute in British Columbia. The best they can do is warn people and tell everyone to check with the BBB first before they commit to having anything done by a contractor in BC. And of course, it is not my intention to post names when a legal action is taking place—this is just a FYI for you all.

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