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Thread: Paying for Locates

  1. #1
    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Paying for Locates

    Today, I had a ticket for a plumbing company replacing a drain field. At the locate the homeowner approached me and asked me what I was doing. I let him know and he asked why. (I'm cutting the conversation real short here) I told him it was required by law. He wanted to know why he needed to pay for the locates. I told him the locates are free and the utility companies pick up the tab for them. Well, he wonders why then the plumbing company is charging him $125 for locates. I questioned him to see if he had any wires in the ground that maybe ran to a pump or anything and he said no. I wanted to make sure he wasn't paying for a private locate and didn't understand it. He told me there was nothing in the ground except for phone and power and he had no wires for sprinklers or anything. He was correct since this was an isolated residence and they had no cable or gas out there. I let him know that the plumbing company doesn't pay for us to come out and locate utilities and all the plumbing company does is make a 2 minute phone call. I suggested he get an itemized bill and if the locates show up on it that he start asking questions. I also told him I'm very curious if it is as he says it is so I hope he doesn't mind if I follow up later on by dropping by.

    This conversation comes up now and then but I've never personally heard it from a homeowner. I think the Better Business Bureau should get involved in this.
    "Change does not always equal progress."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paying for Locates

    Agreed Steve! We have come across this in the Midwest as well . Interestingly enough it was also plumbing outfits performing sewer work. They would call in short notice or even emergency locates, and then charge the homeowner whatever they felt like. They would tell the customer that they needed to get the locates done as quickly as possible, thus the surcharge. Of course most homeowners are not aware that these outfits routinely call almost all of there locates in as short or emergency tickets anyway. Or that these locates are free for that matter. Lame business, and downright stupid in today's world. They'll get corrected one way or another I believe.

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paying for Locates

    I have also come across this in Maryland. I do not recall anything in the local call before you dig laws that prohibit this practice. So if they want to charge them $125 for a two minute phone call I guess they can. Also many local call centers now accept emergency locate, as well as regular requests, via the internet. All you have to do is register your company. Sometimes these internet "calls" account for over fifty percent of the tickets called in. So there is no waiting for the operator to get around to you. $125 for logging into the website, that's more than a good hooker costs. (so I hear)

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    Senior Member Turk182's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paying for Locates

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    I have also come across this in Maryland. I do not recall anything in the local call before you dig laws that prohibit this practice. So if they want to charge them $125 for a two minute phone call I guess they can. Also many local call centers now accept emergency locate, as well as regular requests, via the internet. All you have to do is register your company. Sometimes these internet "calls" account for over fifty percent of the tickets called in. So there is no waiting for the operator to get around to you. $125 for logging into the website, that's more than a good hooker costs. (so I hear)
    Eliot Spitzer disagrees with you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member yahoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paying for Locates

    I ran across a fencing contractor that was doing that to people down this way !
    wise men talk because they have something to say and fools because they have to say something....plato

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    Member premo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paying for Locates

    They should be kicked in the a#@ for that!!!

  7. #7
    Senior Member AULupstate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Paying for Locates

    This isn't isolated to any one part of the country. Happens EVERYWHERE.

    The General Population is very ignorant to what we do for a living. They don't understand the 811 systems and how they work. They put their total trust into contractors who rob them blind and pay the bill in the end.

    I'm POSITIVE that even on an itemized bill a Misc. Charge category is on there somewhere with no real expination as to what those charges are for.

    I located for a Drilling Company that did that ALL the time. Actually double banging their clients. Charge them for calling One-Call then using the laziness of the Contract Locators to make their clients use the Private Locating that the company provided (at a fee of course) to finish the mark out. I think it was something like $500 Misc. Charges and $1,500 for the 'Private'. Real scam there, I'm sure they are still doing it.

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