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Please give me some perspective on a garbage disposal install.

Our kitchen is 19 years old. The original garbage disposal just stopped working. I guess we got our money's worth from it, but we really didn't use it that much, because we compost kitchen waste. Still when we called a few plumbers, they said typically once garbage disposals stop working, they can't be fixed. That didn't sound unreasonable. So we decided to replace it.

I looked at Consumer Reports and the Waste King was top rated, InSinkerator was in the top three. I priced them on Home Depot and Amazon. Then went looking for a plumber. We don't know any service or trade people so we never look forward to having to find someone, so we joined Angie's List.

Got the name of local person, had very good reviews and called and discussed. This is what he told me:

In his experience and opinion, InSinkerator was the better of the two. I told him that the price for the InSinkerator model we needed, was $260. and the price on Amazon was $220. He said, that buying at Home Depot or Amazon was like buying seconds, because they manufacture for Home Depot a version of the product that is cheaper and he buys his from a Commercial Supply House and it is a Commercial disposal. He never said a word about the price, and I assumed it would be cheaper because with a commercial account he would be entitled to a discount. I asked for an estimate, he said he couldn't give me one until he saw my situation, but that he charged $100. an hr for labor and then the cost of materials. His estimate for the time it would take was 1.5hrs to install it. And another 1/2 hr if he had to make adjustments, because the new InSinkerator [Batch Feed] disposal is significantly different in size and shape than the 19 year old one.

I had read reviews on Amazon and did see reference to a couple of DIY homeowners who had trouble installing it. And someone who said they received a 10 year old garbage disposal from Amazon that rusted and developed a leak a year after he bought it and that was when it was discovered how old it was. So those reviews lined up to some degree with what he told me. So we hired him.

My husband handled the appointment and all went well. He installed the disposal in 30 minutes, tested it before he went everything worked fine, we were happy with the work. Then he gave us the bill. Told my husband that it was $150. an hour for the 1st hour and $100. an hour after that. The bill listed the garbage disposal as costing $325. So the total bill was around $500.

I feel this was more than I was expecting and should have been less, considering it only took him 30 minutes. I feel he was deceptive up front and still not sure if it was just carelessness or intentional. He should have told me the price of the garbage disposal up front, since he talked me into it and it was significantly higher than what I could have gotten myself. I also wonder how could he misjudge the time it would take by so much and was it a mistake that he 'forgot' to mention $150. an hr for the 1st hour.

I would like to work this out for myself, because we need to replace a bathroom and are looking for a good person to work with. So, would love some opinions on what you think of our experience with this plumber. Would you call and complain, and would you post your experience to Angie's List?

[Geez, just realized how long this post was…sorry!]

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