Pumping up the price?

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Despite the credit, Goldfarb still was not satisfied with the amount he was charged. Finger said that the company offered him another $1,500 credit, which Goldfarb has not yet accepted. “We’ve gone back and forth a couple of times, but he’s not satisfied with anything,” Finger said. “Our feeling is that we did nothing wrong — our pricing has been cents per gallon for the past 54 years.”

Estelle Goldfarb said that she and her husband want to pay the company, but believe they were taken advantage during an emergency. “It’s an outrageous amount of money, and I’m sure they’ve done this to a lot of people,” she said. “Everyone is entitled to earn a living, but during a situation like this, you have the opportunity to do something bad or you have the opportunity to do something good, and they did not take that route.”

Her husband continued collecting estimates to send to the state attorney general’s office — including one for $1,500 from Shilo, a contractor for Mobile Carpentry Workshop in Woodmere who declined to give his last name. According to Shilo, pumping water from a home can be done with a gas-powered pump, with a truck or with a generator and a sub-pump. “In all cases it takes hours to get that amount of water out,” he said of the Goldfarbs’ crawl space. “In most cases it costs anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000, and $10,000 is beyond anything I’ve ever heard.”

For his part, Goldfarb said he would advise homeowners to become educated consumers to avoid panicking in emergency situations. “I had a goal to protect what I had,” he said, choking up with emotion. “In an emergency you don’t always think logically, but I want to pay a fair price.”

If you believe you have been a victim of unfair pricing, contact the attorney general.
Consumer Helpline (800) 771-7755
Website www.ag.ny.gov
Mail: Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341

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