Can I Use A Chargeback On A No-Show Electrician?

Penelope and her husband hired a licensed electrician/handyman she had worked with before to replace the breaker in her house. Miscommunication and what looks like laziness on the electrician’s part meant that he missed several scheduled appointments-stopping by but not calling, then just not showing up at all. Now he’s charged their credit card, but is ducking their calls and won’t come out without being paid for another service visit. So Penelope and Mr. Penelope did what any sensible person would do: installed the breaker themselves, and requested a chargeback.

We recently had some electrical issues in our home. We noticed a strange smell near the breaker box when the dishwasher was running. We flipped the breaker for the dishwasher and when we turned it back on, no power was going to the dishwasher.

We called an electrician/handyman that we had recently hired to do some work on our rental property. I thought he did a good job and charged fairly for the work he did at the rental. On March 14th, he came out to our house and determined that the breaker needed to be replaced and he would have to go buy one. He wanted to charge us for his mileage to Lowe’s. We suggested he try a closer, local hardware store. He went to the store we suggested and said they would order the breaker and he would return two days later to install the breaker.

On March 18th, my husband and I were both home. My husband missed the call from the handyman, but returned his call 30 minutes later. The handyman said he was no longer in the area and would come by on March 19th to finish the job. My husband tells him that he will be home all day and that he doesn’t have to call first before coming out.

It should be noted that at this point the handyman has charged our credit card for the entire job: two service calls and the cost of the breaker. On March 19th, my husband left in the morning to grab breakfast from the fast food place nearby. When he returned he found the new breaker sitting in the door with the handyman’s business card. My husband checked his phone and found no missed calls. He tried to call the handyman but there’s no answer.

The next day, March 20th, my husband reaches the handyman by phone. He states he didn’t try to call when he saw no one was home because my husband told him he didn’t need to call. He says he can come out on March 23rd to finish the job. In the meantime, I googled how to replace a breaker and end up doing the job myself. Regardless we still want an electrician to look at it and make sure its done properly and there are no other issues.

March 23rd comes and the handyman doesn’t show up, no calls no nothing. March 24th, my husband calls the handyman. His phone goes to voicemail after a few rings and we believe it was purposely ignoring our call. My husband calls from a different number and when he answers and recognizes my husband’s voice, he hangs up on him.

At this point we are pretty frustrated. We realize that there were poor communication issues on both ends that has caused this to be dragged out. My husband leaves him a message saying we will be pursuing a chargeback with our credit card company if he doesn’t finish the job he already got paid for. The handyman leaves a voicemail stating that he will not be returning without charging for another service call. He makes the statement that he lives in a different city and he can’t keep making the trip out to our house. I feel as if the distance was an issue, he shouldn’t have taken on the job from the beginning.

My husband didn’t return the call from the handyman and instead called the credit card company and requested a chargeback which they granted. I’m torn on the issue. The handyman did make the first appointment, bought the breaker, and made two attempts to return to the do the job. I concede that the first missed appointment was our fault for missing the call, but I disagree that he should have left the property the second time without calling first. Was a chargeback appropriate for this situation?

Update: Penelope wrote in to let us know that the chargeback was for the full amount of both service visits and the breaker.

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