I was charged a highly inflated rate (which is ~6X times the retail price). The price of this transaction is $3,000 dollars.

We purchased 5 regular smoke detectors, and 4 combination carbon monoxide detectors, totaling 9 units. Using the ratio of prices that Home Depot showed one can estimate the amount paid per unit since the receipt did not include such information. This contracting company estimated cost for the regular detector is ~$233.14, and the combination detector ~$407.26. This comes to the contracting company inflation rate of 5.9 times the retail price or ~700% over retail.

Home Depot with the same exact model (Kidde P4010DCS-W) is only $40 dollars.

The smoke detectors have already been installed and paid for by credit card. But what honest company makes a person pay 6 times for the product. We don't know how much smoke detectors cost, that is why you hire someone. This really caught us by surprise.

We contacted them by email and phone, but so far, they have only offered $300 dollars off, which is ridiculous.

(EXACT Model P4010DCS-W) Smoke Detector (Home Depot $39.50 each unit): Home Depot link available.

(EXACT Model P4010DCSCO-W) Carbon Monoxide Combination detector (Home Depot $69): Home Depot link available.

First thank you for your help, I know this is somewhat of a gray area, but X6 times the price, without labor!

I have complained to the main Consumer Complaint companies, but I would like to do more.

Is this legal?

  • Did you not receive a quote for this, and vet this out before agreeing to the work? If you did, and you approved it, there isn't a lot of ground to stand on as far as price gouging. – Ron Beyer Jun 16 at 22:10
  • Sadly we did approve the work, they took advantage of a hard working lady who did not know any better. But X6 times the price that is so exorbitant, and talk about unethical! These people always promote customer satisfaction, and say if they did not do a job correctly they will fix it. They have nice trucks, one would think a company like this would Not commit Fraud. – Andrew Jun 16 at 23:36
  • "We don't know how much smoke detectors cost, that is why you hire someone." - well, smoke detectors are sold in stores and online, it's not difficult to discover prices. Anyway, if you can't get anywhere with what Dale M suggests, try causing some bad press, perhaps you can get the interest of a consumer champion, particularly if you play up the vulnerable customer aspect. – Lag Jun 17 at 15:58
  • How much time did they spend installing the units? Their cost to you is paying for the nice trucks, advertising, travel time and fuel, the ladder they used during installation, etc. Could you have gotten this job done by someone else cheaper? Yes, but not 6x cheaper. – mkennedy Jun 17 at 16:55
  • Thank you guys for your help, I am new to the field! The receipt for the work is very minimal, which only includes the total price. However, the units are battery operated and labor is very minimal with '2 screws and a ladder.' I do have some good news that the service manager said he "would be happy to give a monetary refund," which at least I have that in writing. If all goes well, I am wondering if I should go after them for the ~$8,000 charge, but I want to see a refund for the smoke detectors. – Andrew Jun 17 at 18:56

In general, a business can charge what they like for their goods and services

If you don't like the price - don't buy.

Once you have bought, your electrician should charge you the price that you agreed in the contract. If the work has varied from what was contracted, they should charge you for variations in accordance with the procedure in the contract.

If your contract was silent on the price to be paid:

  1. Why did you agree to pay someone an unknown amount of money?
  2. Contract law requires that the price be reasonable. You clearly don't think it is so you have a dispute. You can resolve this dispute by:
    • negotiation, or
    • by following the dispute resolution clauses in the contract, or
    • by going to court.
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  • Nice to hear from you Dale! The issue that I have is this company appears to be professional, but then slip in with a X6 times price gouge, in which I feel just X3 is Fraud. However, I do understand legally this is a gray area. Also, I know this doesn't mean much, but we called them about an electrical circuit breaker being tripped, and the contractor asked when are smoke detectors were replaced. Anyways, thank you for the outline in your answer. – Andrew Jun 17 at 19:07

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