• Report:  #2563

Complaint Review: Action Water Heaters - Kirkland Washington

Reported By:
Thu, June 29, 2000

Action Water Heaters
12704 NE 124th #43 Kirkland, 98034 Washington, U.S.A.
Tell us has your experience with this business or person been good? What's this?
About a year a go we had a water heater installed by Action water heaters. We had just returned from vacation and, with small children, needed to do laundry etc. I was at work when it broke which left my wife to deal with it. She got Action Water heaters out of the yellow pages and called them to come out and fix the problem. After she hung up she thought better and decided to shop around.

When she called back she was told the plumber was already on his way and we would be charged a service call fee if we didn't go with them. She was intimidated by this. She did not want to pay a service fee as well as an installation fee. She told them to come out. There was nothing odd about the installation. It was not hard to get to, there were no upgrades (eg; gas to electric). We were charged $1412.73 for a water heater installation.

Unfortunately I did not contact the BBB before we had the work done. Had I done this I would have found out that Action's membership had been revoked and they were in bad standing with the BBB. I spoke to the owner, Bret Medland several times on the phone. He was indifferent. He explained the big labor charge by saying all of his plumbers were licensed. He justified the exorbedent parts costs by saying they only use the highest quality parts. I do not know how he can justify close to a %500 increase in one case.

I called around, got an itemized price list of all the parts and labor and the difference in what they charged me and what any of three other companies would have charged is about $800. None of these other companies (I've got names if you want) had ever heard of quality parts that are not available to the consumer. All of them were astonished at the cost of my installation. I want my money back. I want to be charged fairly for services rendered.

4 Updates & Rebuttals

Concerned consumer

Yes it is a joke!


Wed, August 19, 2009

As a single parent consumer living on a low fixed income, I only expect from a service company a fair and reasonable charge. I was seriously over charged 425.00 just for a 35.00 faucet from a different company (I priced the exact same faucet at Home Depot).I am seriously appalled at the company that charged this consumer almost double of what the standard going rate is.

I am also appalled at Jeff Mittelman and Dave in Los Angeles comments who seem to think that charging this consumer the %500 increase over inflated charge was justifiable. Yes I get it "youre in it for the money/profit", but you are also "ripping off" the consumer to do so.

We all work so we can make a profit, to make a living, to provide for our families etc... I could not live with myself knowing that I had charged a consumer a 500% markup just because I was in it for the profit and have the power to do so.

As for Michael the license contractor who charges his customers a reasonable rate for his services, and bothered to comment on this site, my hat goes off to you and I commend you for being an honest and respectable contractor.


Los Angeles,
It's No Joke

#3Consumer Comment

Mon, July 15, 2002

I too am a licensed Plumber. I am also a licensed Plumbing contractor in California. Maybe therein lies the difference between myself and Michael. I would not purport to know anything about the cost of doing business in Maryland, or, most importantly, his particular costs of doing business. I would then say that I can no better guess at his costs for that particular job then he could guess those of mine in California or Washington or anywhere else for that matter. I will say without meaning to disparage Michael or anyone else, that our business suffers from an image problem. We have far too many excellent plumbers out there who are quite capable of doing high quality work, yet who also do not have the slightest clue of how to run a for-profit business. I have seen more than I care to retire, or attempt to retire, with little or nothing to show for years of hard work except a "client list." That and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee. I must agree that the cost of providing 24 hour service (this means a live person will answer the phone, and someone will actually show up at midnight, as opposed to you getting a call from the plumber himslef telling you he is busy and will have to come out in the morning), Radio dispatching, liability insurance (I doubt the plumber who advertises in the local flyer-type magazine has any), benefits to my employees, a wage above the poverty level, constant and continual training in the latest technology and equipment, advertising, community service (how many really support their community?), good equipment, reliable vehicles, etc is quite expensive. You get the picture. Of course _______'s Plumbing (fill in the blank)can offer you cheaper service. He works out of his garage with his nephew. He has no overhead to speak of. I did say cheaper, not less expensive, right? You always, and I mean always, get what you pay for in the end. There are always people who do the work for more, and for less. If the work is done with quality materials and up to the local codes, then so be it. We all have a case of caveat emptor at times, and I absolutely believe that there are people in this and every industry who take advantage of others. I just don't see it here. Remember, you could have bought a Yugo too!


What a Joke!

#4REBUTTAL Owner of company

Thu, June 27, 2002

I am a licensed Plumber for 20 years. $1412 to replace a residentual water heater? Yes, I read all the lame excuses, Call receiver, Dispatcer ect.. I would wager that the call receiver and dispatcher are the same person. If this water heater was over 75 gallons, I could see $1400. Most home water heaters are between 40 and 60 gallons. The water heater itself me between $160 and $500 depending on gas, electric, Flue systems ect.. Here is a cost breakdown on a worse case sinereo. Direct vent 60 gallon water heater with 10 year warranty. $480 Labor 4 hours max. $220 Parts $50 Permit $50 Total $800 A typical Installation is usually around $600 Just where do you justify $1412 ?

Our customers are informed of the $59.95, plus time and material for a service call


Thu, September 21, 2000

From: Jeff Mittelman [SMTP:[email protected]]
To: [email protected]

Subject: Rebuttal to Report
Sent: 9/21/00 7:55 AM

Efficient, dependable service requires far more than a technician, a tool and a part. To serve our customers well requires a substantial investment of time, money and equipment. Unlike servicing a vehicle, we must travel to their doors, which involves mileage as well as the technician's travel time.

Here are some of the items that contribute to our superior service:

An experienced representative to receive calls and get the facts.

A qualified dispatcher to relay calls to the nearest service technician and schedule stops for efficient operation.

A parts department with a large working inventory of back-up parts to eliminate costly delays in servicing your equipment.

Trucks with a large working inventory of parts plus expensive tools and test equipment for prompt repairs.

Trained service technicians to diagnose the problem quickly, make the repairs promptly and keep costs reasonable.

When our customers call, we give them the following information:

"Please note that our service call is $59.95 plus parts and labor." If the customer asks about the price of a new water heater, we then quote a price for the specific tank the customer might need to have replaced, plus any extra cost for permits that may be required in their area. We tell them that the cost of installation also includes:

1. The water heater
2. The $59.95 service call
3. Up to 1 hour labor
4. Two new copper water flex lines
5. A new Temperature and Pressure relief valve
6. Disposal of the old heater
7. Water Heater Parts warranty extended to 6 years
Any additional parts, labor, and permit, if required, are additional.

We do have a base service call fee of $59.95 plus time spent at the location plus tax, and our customers are informed of the $59.95, plus time and material for a service call.

When our plumber technician arrives on site, he is qualified to assess the heater and location, and to receive a more accurate figure if needed. Our plumber will assess the situation and list any other parts that are needed to bring the water heater up to current UPC code and note other repairs that he sees. We do inform the customer with the written estimate before any
work begins, thus allowing the customer the option of what he/she needs.

The customer then has the option of proceeding or not. Upon acceptance the customer then signs the authorization to perform the work as quoted. This signature is the customer's approval for the intended job.

There are some other installation companies that do not care about the safety of the customer and do not pull the permits required by the individual cities. They also do not bring the installation up to current UPC code thus the difference in prices. Those individuals that use these type of installers will be quite surprised when they put their home up for
sale since the code compliance would be necessary at that time.

Jeff Mittelman
Chief Operating Officer
Action Water Heaters

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