Electrician charges $3,590 to fix circuit breaker on first day of CNY at midnight: 'Is this normal?'

It was an expensive lesson.

A homeowner was charged $3,590 by an electrician to fix the circuit breaker on the first day of Chinese New Year at midnight.

The homeowner, whose name is Andy Seng, asked in the Singapore Home DIY Facebook whether this was normal.

What happened was on Feb 10 at 11pm, the power went out in his home.

Andy got frustrated trying to "troubleshoot" the problem himself as he was unable to restore the power.

So he called one of the top three electricians he found in the Google search results.

The electrician went to Andy's home, assessed the situation and said it would cost $3,500 to fix it.

He asked Andy whether he wanted to proceed.

Andy explained on Facebook that he felt pressure to settle the issue due to the "kids unable to sleep and family complaining about fridge stuff gonna spoil".

So he paid up and got the job done. The electrician unscrewed the charred circuit breaker and showed it to Andy.

Andy said on Facebook the next day: "No receipt or invoice, but he did the breakdown for me after I asked for it today."

According to the cost breakdown:

  1. Workmanship: $450 per hour (midnight and troubleshooting) 2½ hours = $1,125
  2. Main switch box repair and install: $625
  3. Emergency call-out rate: $90
  • Total = ($1,125 + $625) x 2 CNY double rate + $90 = $3,590

In the Facebook post, Andy asked: "Is this normal?"

He then answered his own question: "Okay, not normal. Expensive lesson learnt."

One netizen commented on the post: "Really bad timing, CNY+emergency+midnight. I think you call a few electricians, they also won't come.

Andy replied: "Ya, that's what he said when I ask him please reconsider to adjust (the price) a bit."

Several netizens pointed out that for the sum he paid, Andy could've gone for a staycation.

One commenter said: "You can bring the whole family to sleep two nights in a decent hotel. Then fix it come Tues. All shops open by then."

Andy said: "Yeah, no choice. Just suck it up and move on. Money out of pocket liao. Almost impossible to get back one lor."

He added: "Gonna ask my son to become electrician."

Andy later updated the Facebook post: "Just got off a call from him. As expected, not going to 'adjust prices'.

"(He said) just call me within five yrs anything, rectify I do for you free. Don't worry, five-year warranty. 'CNY is this rate, other people tell you how cheap, how cheap, will anyone come help you on CNY midnight or not?'"