I spent Friday at the house, waiting in vain for the city inspector and plumber to come by. We paid the plumber $300 on 9/1/11 to pull the permit and had absolutely nothing to show for it. On Tuesday, 9/6/11, the city inspector came by, but the plumber did not call us to notify us so someone could be here. The city inspector left a sticker to show that he had been there and that the plumbing company needed to reschedule. All week long, Josh had been placing calls to get someone to come back out and so the inspection so we could get work started. Friday was more of the same. I decided that if Josh's frequent calls were not enough, they needed to hear from me, too, so I started calling around noon. I was PROMISED someone would be out between 1 and 4pm. I told the customer service rep that I generally pick my kids up within that window and he told me to make other arrangements because someone would be coming by for sure. I left a note on the door when I left and picked the kids up in the office to save time. NO ONE CAME. I called the plumber back to complain and was promised a call back and never got one.
I had to cancel KayTar's pulmonology appointment yesterday (long story for another day), but since I had planned to miss class, I stayed home anyway. KayTar's feeding pump was in need of service, so I stayed here to get the pump taken care of and to wait for someone from the city/plumbing company to get the inspection done. I kept the pump at home with me, because I didn't know exactly when the tech would come by, so after I got an ETA from the company, I left the house for 30 minutes to bring it to KayTar's school so she could get her feed and I could then bring it home to be serviced. I left a note on the door saying, "HHCName/PlumberName/City of CityName, if no one is home call CellNumber. Will be right back!" When I got home, there was a sticker from the city on the note...but no one had called me. AGH! So Josh got on the phone again with the plumbing company and raised some hell. They assured him someone would come back out after 12:30, so I made plans to stay home for the rest of the day.
At 2pm, a city inspector arrived and said, "Yes, I'm here to do an annual foster home inspection..." I didn't even realize what he said at first, I was just so happy to see him! I brought him to the backyard and he said, "Is this a foster home?" I said, "No? This is a residential home with a broken gas line." He said, "I am here to do an annual inspection for a foster home." WHAT?! The stupid plumbing company had pulled the wrong permit, in fact, NO INSPECTION NEEDED TO BE DONE until after the work was completed. This was maddening, because we asked the plumbing company how the city was going to inspect/test a clearly broken gas line, but they kept telling us it had to be done. So absolutely nothing has been done because we have been waiting on this supposedly mandatory inspection. The city inspector was nice and helpful and pretty disgusted by the apparent idiocy of the plumbing company. He went ahead and looked at our in-house gas apparatus to be sure it was up to code so we wouldn't face another delay after the work is completed...and it wasn't up to code. Of course. We need all new valves, too. At least we know on the front side, though, I can only imagine how long it would have taken if we found out about it after the rest of the work was done. He left a business card, as well as detailed notes on what needed to be done and told me how to get the permit switched, in case we wanted to choose another more competent plumber to do the work. He was the first competent person we have spoken to about this whole mess in the 12 days we have been without gas.
Yesterday evening, the plumbing company sent someone new out to look at what needed to be done. They blamed the error with the permit and delay on the person they sent out to do the original quote. Whatever. You would THINK that in the 12 days we have been calling and asking for assistance and complaining about the lack of work, someone would have actually bothered to read the notes on our order and realize it was a broken gas line and an error had been made! The new guy gave us a new quote...SIX GRAND to replace the line. The first guy they sent out said it would be $300 for the permit and $200 for the work. First, they pull the WRONG permit and now we were being told SIX GRAND for the work?! The other option was basically a patch job with no warranty for $2300. They needed half of the payment up front, too. We are not the type of people to have thousands of dollars lying around waiting for something like this...we are the type of people who have two kids at home...who have had to take a pay cut to qualify for the ONLY insurance that will cover our child with complex medical needs...who are both university students...and who have one job between the two of them. We do fine, I'm definitely not complaining, but we don't have piles of money lying around, unfortunately. I suggested to Josh that it wouldn't hurt to look around a little, because it isn't like anything was happening QUICKLY to resolve this. We were both a little dumbfounded about it all and I griped on Facebook, as I am prone to do, and a friend saw it and put us in contact with a plumber they know from church. He told them to have Josh call last night (even though it was 9pm) and he seemed intelligent, helpful, competent, and told us he could come out this morning between 8:30-8:45am (a fifteen minute window!) to look at what needed to be done. He came by this morning, inside the time window he gave us, and quoted us a price for a total line replacement and new valves that was less than the patch job we were quoted last night. He will have diggers out here tomorrow morning to get this going and we will not need to be here until he is doing the indoor work and the inspector needs to come back. He will keep us posted so we can plan on when we need to be here, and we can reach him personally via cell phone, if needed. It still isn't going to be a cheap fix, but I feel a million times better paying this guy for the work than I would have paying the original company. We may actually have a stove, oven, and hot water by the end of the week...fingers crossed!
The moral of the story is that the John Moore jingle did ring true in our experience. If you call John...you do get Moore...more headaches, more waiting, more debt, and more incompetence. Learn from our mistakes...even when there is a seemingly emergent situation, do not just go with the first name/company you know in the field. Shop around. If we had gotten multiple quotes when this first happened, we'd probably have gas by now.
Disclaimer: This post is meant to relate my personal experiences and opinion, it is not intended to malign any organization, company, or individual.
Edited to add: John Moore did release the permit like we asked, so we didn't have to file paperwork with city hall. They also refunded us the $300 we paid for the permit to be pulled originally. So we lost 12 days to this fiasco, but at least we didn't lose any additional money!