About two weeks ago we had a roto-rooter guy out as I've had to about once a
year to get rid of the tree roots that have grown into the drain under the
house + driveway. Three days later, the shower and toilet in the north
bathroom overflowed. I tried using a plunger on the commode and the sewage
backed up into the shower stall next to it.
Then we heard a funny sound from below....
In the crawl space, I noticed a leak coming from the drain line near where
it the shower connects to it. I crawled in there and found a broken joint at
the coupling plus a large crack in the line beyond the coupling. Due to the
broken joint, the drain line was also sagging down. I guessed this to be the
cause of the lack of drainage. The damage was probably caused by age, with
the help of the roto-rooter.
I called the plumber who replaced the water line last April. He wasn't in
but I left a detailed message. He didn't call back, so I left another
message two days later, then waited another 2-3 days and he still didn't
call back, so I decided to see if I could work on it myself since it's all
PVC and simple to fix.
This time noticed dripping from below the bathroom sink, and the pipe into
the shower drain had come unglued. And I wasn't sure how to deal with the
cracked drain line and coupling since a foot of the line had to be cut out
and ... well, if you know anything about drain lines you know the problem I
was grappling with. What a mess!
I needed parts and went to the building supplier and ended up deciding to
buy a new toilet (high time for one, too). Finally the plumber called and
said he'd been on vacation and was now available. I again explained exactly
what was wrong with the drain line and that I had looked at it and found
more problems and wanted to get a new commode installed, too, so, yes, I
would need his services.
He finally showed up today (45 minutes late, but at least he did get here)
and installed the commode and fixed the shower drain and the leak under the
sink, but we STILL can't send any water into the drain line because it still
leaks and is still blocked. Apparently roto-rooter guy didn't clear all the
roots (he'll be back in the morning to deal with that), and plumber was
When he first arrived today, I rook him downstairs and pointed out the
problems. This was the 4th time that I told him about the crack in the drain
line near where the coupling had come unglued. The first two times were in
phone messages, the 3rd was when he returned my call and made the
appointment to come by.
After installing the new commode he said he was done with all the repairs,
turned the water back on and went down to check for leaks. The drain line
was still leaking because he hadn't replaced the cracked part of the line
but had simply glued the coupling back together. Apparently my telling him
about the crack in the drain line had never registered in his mind, but I
didn't know this until he was getting ready to leave.
He was on his cell phone a lot of the time he was here and said he was in a
rush because five or six other customers had frozen pipes plus he was behind
from being on vacation. I don't think any of that's my fault, however, when
he was leaving, and telling me he'd be back in the morning to fix the
remaining leak, he looked at his watch and said "I've been here 2.5 hours so
far, tomorrow we'll just add to the total bill whatever extra time it takes
me to fix that leak".
So it appears that this plumber wants me to pay him for:
(a) reinstalling a cracked pipe - that I plainly told him, four times, was
(b) the additional time he will spend correcting his mistake; and
(c) the additional parts that will have to be used due to his mistake.
Note that all the other stuff he did took about the same amount of time,
total, as fixing the drain line did. And he's not finished fixing the drain
I did mention to him before he left that I had in fact told him several
times about the cracked drain line, but he acted like this doesn't matter.
Now, I may have posted in the past how difficult it is to get a plumber
around here. I had lotsa plumbing problems on the farm, which is why I
replaced all the copper pipes there with PVC. This plumber is usually good,
and he's amiable, and he shows up (eventually). So I sure don't want to piss
him off, yet I just as surely don't want to pay for extra time spent
needlessly due to his error.
I'd probably let it slide if I could afford to, but on my budget, no way. At
the same time, I simply do not know how to approach this in a way that won't
seem overly stingy nor put egg on his face.
What do I say to this plumber, to be diplomatic yet firm so as not to be