On Wednesday, a service plumber came to my house to jet the drain for my kitchen sink. He came around 9 a.m. and by 9:30 had pushed his hose beyond the clog. Then he spent 3 hours trying to get his hose out. He went to lunch and came back with a helper (his boss, I think) and they spent another 3 hours trying to get the hose out. They finally left, leaving my kitchen drain open and the water off. They said they couldn't be back Thursday, but would be back Friday. Meanwhile, I was supposed to have the septic tank pumped so that they could look into it and see if the hose was in there. (They also wanted to cut 4-inch pipes in the basement to see if the hose had gone other places.)
Thursday, I paid a guy $750 to pump out my septic. Then I had another guy, recommended by the septic pumper, to do more work. He had to cut a hole in the top of the (cement, 60-year-old) tank. $450. The hose had somehow wrapped and knotted itself around a pipe. See pic. The last guy and I were able to untangle the hose and I pulled it back about 6 feet into my kitchen.
Friday, the two original buffoons showed up, finished pulling the hose out, cleaned up, put my trap back on and now the kitchen sink is functional. Now comes the bill. They want to charge me for the 9 man-hours these two spent failing to get their hose out of my drain. I am not so inclined. I spent $1200 already getting their hose out for them. They ought to be paying me.
If there had been some problem with my line, like the pipe was crushed or broken, then maybe it could be my fault. But in this case, the pipe is fine and the problem was that he ran the hose way too far into my septic tank, where it jetted crazily around and tied itself in knots.
You can see the hose wrapped around the horizontal PVC at the upper left in the pic. I feel like I should bill them for part of he $1200. The tank was full and needed pumping, so I can eat the $750. But the $450 was done strictly for them to get their hose back. Then, it seems bizarre to me, that they'd try to charge me $2000 for their screw up and their failure to correct the screw up.
So my question is: Who should pay and what? Are my perceptions correct or am I all wet?