There are two primary functions of a consultation. One is to help people figure out what they need to buy. In that case, if they buy the product I suggest within 10 days, I’ll refund the consultation fee. I get paid for my involvement with the item sale.
The other is to help solve complex problems. There I get paid by the consultation fee itself. If you have a bunch of questions that take a lot of time, I might even ask you to buy two consultations, but I’ll tell you up front. In this scenario, I likely won’t refund the fee even if you buy a product. Just remember that most plumbers would charge a minimum one hour fee to answer a question and most of them don’t know nearly as much about water heaters as I do. All consultations are conducted by e-mail. — Randy Schuyler