The vertical machining center built in 1996 was dirty, but it had been making parts a week earlier in a factory near Milwaukee. When we brought it into our plant our best mechanics looked at it and motioned for help.
We called a local CNC repair firm and asked for assistance. The repair guy they sent charged $120 per hour, plus $75 per hour travel time. He was booked up for a week. We checked his references as best we could. Nothing negative showed up on the web, so I decided to take a chance on him and signed a paper he thrust into my hand.
After a day of noodling around the machine, he said the control was giving him consistent error signals. By the second day, he declared that he needed a new board. I OK’d the order of the part. He came in with it three days later. He then attempted to reset the parameters but ran into more glitches.
He called a colleague to consult, and they fretted for five hours and still couldn’t get the machining center to perform properly. They were getting frustrated and irritable. I overheard them calling my machine “that old jukebox” and speaking disparagingly about the dumb machinery dealer who paid good money for a “boat anchor.”
After five days, the repair guy told me that his “operating clients” needed him and that they took preference over a “speculator.”
I told him I had lost faith in him. He presented me with a bill for $6,073 for labor and travel plus $1,247 for the board.
I told him I wasn’t better off than before he showed up. He said, ”you agreed to pay for my time and material. I could not guarantee success on that thing,” pointing toward my VMC.
So what should I do in this case? I despise rewarding failure. I want to pay for success, not hours expended to no avail. He told me that when you go to a doctor you get no guarantee.
I have not paid him and he is threatening legal action.
Question: Should you have to pay a technician who fails to fix your problem?