Ripped-off B.C. senior wins 'substantial' plumbing refund
90-year-old Kay Alexander was charged nearly double the industry standard for hot water tank
A 90-year-old Coquitlam woman has won a partial refund, after CBC News revealed she was grossly overcharged by B.C. plumbing company Seven Standards Services Ltd.
The North Vancouver-based company arrived at Kay Alexander's home in August, after she received a call from someone saying her gas-fired hot water tank needed checking.
The company told her she needed a new tank and charged her $1,786.40, almost double the industry's going rate. But shortly after it was installed, pipes near the unit began leaking.
In September, Alexander called Seven Standards Services back and asked them to repair it. The bill for the repairs amounted to $2,128.00, bringing the total for the tank and maintenance to $3,914.40.
Realizing she had been ripped off, Alexander came forward to the CBC Investigates team. Ultimately, B.C.’s consumer watchdog — Consumer Protection BC — began investigating.
Afshin “Sean” Pourian, who owns Seven Standards Services, refused an on-camera interview, telling the CBC he can charge whatever he wants for the work his company does.
But the watchdog says unconscionably high charges beyond industry standard rates are prohibited, and has now worked out a partial refund for Alexander. The amount cannot be revealed due to a confidentiality agreement.
Alexander says she is delighted by the news.
"It think it's a substantial amount," Alexander said. "I think they did themselves proud. By giving that, they admitted wrong."
But Alexander made a point of cashing the cheque quickly, after Pourian threatened to cancel the cheque when he found out CBC News knew about the deal.
The BC Safety Authority, which regulates gas contractors, also investigated the work done on Alexander's property. It found that the proper permitting procedure had not been followed in the installation of the gas-powered hot water heater, as Seven Standards was not registered as a gas contractor with the authority.
A representative with the BC Safety Authority told CBC News it continues to audit the company's past practices, and its investigation into Pourian's company, Seven Standards Services, is still open.
Pourian also operates under the name Advantage Plus Heating and Plumbing.
- Submit your story ideas to the CBC Investigates unit
- Send story tips to CBC investigative reporter Eric Rankin
With files from the CBC's Eric Rankin