Plumbing Fraud

About a week ago, I posted a message on this NG under the topic "Need Bathtub Drain Repair Advice." I'll quote an excerpt:
> The other day it stopped draining altogether. The usual measures > didn't seem to help. All the other drains in the house seem to be > working. My wife called the plumber while I was at work. He says he > couldn't get his snake down the bathtub overflow tube. He says the > brass fitting has corroded hopelessly, the tub has to come out, and > then "he'll see what kind of repairs are needed." He may be right, > but I have a funny feeling I don't trust this guy. > > He said he "might try" to go in thru the back of the kitchen sink. > It's "not impossible" that he'll have to break out the old > jackhammer.
I got some good advice, and I described how I fixed the problem myself by unclogging the main wastewater drain line with really hot water and a bunch of dishwasher detergent -- like several boxes.
(BTW, this method worked better than any unplugging method I ever tried, partly because it goes right thru the traps and down to the obstruction, wherever it is. Of course, it wouldn't work on every type of obstruction. Is this a common practice?)
Anyway, I paid $200 to "Drain Patrol" for nothing. (They seem to be a Northern Caliornia regional operation.) They didn't even replace the drain basket or overflow tube cover. I think that was one more inducement for me to sign the contract for their expensive repair recommendations. I thouht about trying to get my money back, but decided against it.
Then, to my surprise, yesterday morning I found a major article in the newspaper about Drain Patrol. (The following statements are approximate.)
They did about $10,000 worth of (allegedly) unnecessary work on the wastewater drains of a little old lady who probably couldn't afford it. She happened to be a friend and neighbor of a district attorney in charge of consumer fraud prosecution and the guy knew a little about plumbing. I think he got in touch with his colleagues from other counties. An investigation ensued. It appears that Drain Patrol is in big trouble. The newspaper article described lurid allegations of grossly misleading, fradulent and coercive sales tactics, plus exorbitant charges for routine work. Their plumbers were allegedly instructed to say, "This is the worst I've ever seen," whenever possible. (Their guys said something similar to me and my wife.) At least one Drain Patrol facility (allegedly) had a "closer," i.e., a guy whose job it was to bump up the price even more, while convincing the customer to sign the contract immediately.
The tactics described were similar to those my wife and I experienced.
I called the local Drain Patrol manager and got my money back, with little dfficulty. I wasn't even rude or sarcastic. (More like polite and subtly menacing. I made the tiniest comment about having seen the newspaper article.) I figured they might not be solvent long. I imagine the company is looking at bankruptcy and I wouldn't be suprised if a few people went to jail.
I'd guess that this particular company just happened to get caught. I suspect that many of their local competitors (the other drain cleaning companies, many of them seemingly brand-name franchise operations, with double page ads in the yellow pages) engage in similar behavior. I'm not sure, though. I hope the district attorney attempted a sting operation on similar companies before all this legal action against Drain Patrol hit the newspapers.
What a world, what a world!
Comments?
Tim Miller
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Timothy Miller wrote:

cleaning people are the same... dont think so.... they make enough cleaning drains that they dont have to rip people off... it cost me $15.00 to buy a new snake for my tub at home depot... 1/4 in. by 25 feet in a plastic case that you attach to a drill and go to town with it.. i buy the cheap ones as they dont last long.. in the past 30 yrs. in this house i had bought 4 of them..... alot cheaper than calling out a company to do it and now in my area they want about $75 to take off the two screws to get into the tub overflow.....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
My experience with closet augers (toilet reamers) is that the $23 Ridgid works better than several of the $8 ones that twist up and need to be thrown out.
Wonder if a better quality drill snake would last longer?
--

Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've not heard of boxes of dishwasher powder and hot water. I've got a kitchen sink drain that still has some beef fat from the last people, and it's irritating. Wonder if that would help? I've tried several doses of Drano type products.
What brand of dishwasher powder? Does it matter?
--

Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Stormin Mormon wrote:

No and neither do you.
--
Mormonism exposed:
http://www.irr.org/mit /
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A Mormon with a dishwasher and a computer? never heard of it.
Aren't you supposed to be living off the land with no outside help from the rest of the world. Aren't "we" considered satanistic to you people?
I think you have disappointed your fellow man.
_\ \ \ | / / / _ ( ' 0 - - 0 ' ) -----ooO----(__)----Ooo----- 3GCPO I'll wait here while you decide
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You may have us confused with some other church. The Mormons I know drive cars, use computers, and some of them have dishwashers.
And we don't make blanket statements about others being Satanic. Most of the people I know in other churches are quite wonderful, and serving Christ as they see fit.
--

Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Talk about off-topic. Sheesh!
Tim
Stormin Mormon wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No...no...you have him confused with a Penns Quaker...
He is one that thinks that all black men are not equals, not good enough to be of the Mormon faith, that God resides on a planet out there, and Jesus IS what we call God.
The more I learn about the religion, the more I like the jehovahs witnesses....lol

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm no friend of Christian zealots, but plenty of people put Greenpeace or Ralph Nader or Anti-Globalization or religion-ridiculing taglines on NG messages, sometimes with URLs. I tend to be sympathetic to those. Nevertheless, I guess they have about as much right to do that as SM has to do what he does.
CBHvac, if you're on a crusade to eliminate Christian tag lines from NGs, or Mormon tag lines, you don't have enough to do.
Maybe you could come over to my house and help me repair my roof. Or have children or something.
Tim
CBHvac wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

It wasn't CBHVAC who did the original troll, it was Arty. You'll make him very happy if you continue to feed him with an off topic argument. It's what he lives for.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm no expert, but I turned the thermostat on my water heater up to full blast, first. Maybe that made a difference.
BTW, I didn't mean to say that all drain cleaners are the same. I just wondered if practices like these are pretty common in the industry.
Tim
Stormin Mormon wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.