T’was The Scam Before Christmas
Moving into the holiday season is a hard enough time of year for most of us. This year, with the economy the way it is, it has been fierce for us.
On top of the fact that our 2 family cars are on the verge of ceasing to operate, the other day our kitchen sink clogged. I, wanting to save some money, decided to take a look at things myself. I crawled under the sink with my tool box, loosened and removed several exposed pieces of the pipes &finding no clogs.
After reassembling the piping, I went to the local hardware store where I conferred with the manager about the best product for a clogged kitchen sink. After telling the manager about the pipes that are under the sink and what had been happening &he showed me a product called Bull Dozer, indicating that it was safe for kitchen sinks and safe to use with the pipes in my house. Purchasing that in addition to a 15 foot snake, I proceeded home feeling secure that I’d be able to handle the problem effortlessly.
After using the snake on the drain (to no avail) I followed the directions on the drain cleaner and saw nothing improve.
At that point I gave up and called Roto Rooter. I had called them a few months ago for a clogged toilet and saw that all that they used was a snake and they charged me $80 but fixed the clog.
Anyway, the plumber was due to show up at 3PM. Sometime between three and four I saw his truck pull up. After showing him the problem and explaining exactly what I did, he said that the charge would be $210 for him to fix it. Cringing, I agreed because with six kids and the holidays approaching we needed it working ASAP.
He got to work and started his snake running down the pipes. I had to then leave to bring one of our children to practice. My wife was at home and called me about 30 minutes later to tell me that the plumber had broken a pipe under the house and that he was still there working on it.
I did not think much about it at that point, thinking that he broke a pipe and that he would just have to fix it. Upon my return home, 2 hours later, the plumber was still there. He politely asked if it would be ok for him to come back in the morning to get the pipe fixed for us. I told him that that was fine. He indicated that he’d be back by around 9:30 a.m. to take care of the rest of the work.
10 a.m. the next morning, the plumber showed up with one additional worker to get started. About 45 minutes later, they called me outside to tell me that the breakage was MY fault, that using the household drain cleaning product was the reason that the pipe broke and that if I wanted them to fix it and it would cost me $700. At that point I went out back to the trash and retrieved the bottle of the drain cleaner that we used and showed the plumbers that it stated on the label that it was OK for use on kitchen sinks and that there were no warnings about it making the pipes weak. I also stated that the pipe was fine until they went in with their electronic snake for 30 minutes and that is what broke the pipe. I asked them what the options were and they basically told me that I had no options &that I had to replace what THEY broke.
After speaking with my wife, we decide to find another plumber to fix the broken pipe and that we had to find a less expensive way to resolve the problem. Upon telling the Roto Rooter team what we had decided, they told us that there would still be a $210 charge for them snaking the sink, breaking a pipe and 2 service calls.
I am convinced that this is just part of their industry’s scam. Take a small problem, make it (seem) worse and then charge more. And why is snaking a toilet $80 and a kitchen sink $210? At least lay off the scam during the holidays and especially families with 6 kids and barely any income.
That was completely out of control and wrong. There is no way that I would EVER consider calling Roto Rooter ever again and I urge you all to follow suit!
40 year old
Santa Monica resident
Father of six young children