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Home Electricians & Plumbing Mr. Rooter Unethical Business Practices & Shady Employees

Mr. Rooter review: Unethical Business Practices & Shady Employees

K
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10:28 am EST
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The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
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I called Mr Rooter when the main waste line of my home became clogged. The clean out is in my backyard and stretches 100 to 130 feet. I was told by the call center that the earliest a Plumber could get to my home would be that evening. Everyone else I called couldn’t get there until the next day. A red flag should have gone up when I asked for their pricing information, and the representative said she didn't have that information to give.

The Plumber, Rob, finally showed up 30 minutes late, in a couple hours it would be dark. He gave me an estimate of $350 to unclog it. Mr Rooters bills by the job, most other Plumbers bill by the hour. Other companies were quoting–over the phone–$150 to $175 hour. So I gave Rob the okay, at this point it was becoming an emergency. And for all I knew it could taken him 3 hours. I was reassured by Mr Rooters policy, if Mr Rooter can't unclog the line, the customer doesn't pay.

He attempted to snake it, or acted like he was snaking it–I’m still unsure. Either way, he did unclog the main waste line. Then he put the camera in to show me the subject of the clog, tree roots. Up until this point he hadn’t removed any roots or other debris out of the main clean out. He told me that he couldn't get the roots with the snake, and suggested having the line Jetted. (Jetting is basically a long hose with a pressure washer type tip that gets its water and pressure from a truck.) In summary, Rob lead me to believe that Jetting will remove all the roots and any other debris that was in the line, starting at the main clean out pushing it all to the cities sewer. And with yearly maintenance, I wouldn’t have this problem again. It sounded great to me, and would have been if it worked. My bill was already $320 for the snake & camera, the Jetting was going to be another $600. After asking Rob some questions and serious contemplation on my part, I gave him the okay. I thought if it works like he says, I should do it now, it probably needs done, and will cost more later. As soon as I gave him the okay, his eyes got big. He got excited, and began to talk to me about how much overtime he was going to get on this check. At the time I thought this was a little strange, but didn’t think anything else about it until I spoke to the Manager at Mr Rooter, Steve. While waiting on the jetting truck to arrive, Rob was working the snake and camera a bit more in the waste line. Again, I didn’t think to much of it until the next day when I saw a bunch of roots next to my clean out. After 45 minutes of jetting, It’s now completely dark outside. He stuck the camera back in, and stopped it where the initial clog was, the roots were gone. And this is when he told me that there was a brake in the line. On the monitor I could see what appeared to be a small pile of dirt sitting on the bottom of the waste line. Apparently he removed the roots prior to jetting. These were the roots sitting next to my clean out, which means he was aware of the brake and debris prior to jetting. He shouldn’t have started the jetting, because at this point, the jetting service couldn’t solve my problem. Complete dishonesty.

I had no problem paying the initial $320, but was reluctant to pay for the jetting since it wasn’t needed and didn’t do what I was lead to believe it would do. Which was clean out the waste line removing it of roots and debris. I was lead to believe by Rob that if the jetting service didn’t work, I didn’t pay, just like Mr Rooters policy for the initial clog. It doesn’t work, you don’t pay. I expressed all this to Rob, telling him I’d pay the $320 now and talk to the owner the next day about the $600 for the jetting. He kept repeating that he has to collect on the full amount that night. I’m very reluctant at this point, but was reassured that the owner, Lynn, was a good guy, and would make things right. I’ve never been in this situation before, I had obvious reservations about paying the full balance. Though I was worried that If I didn’t pay, the balance would be sent to collections, hurting my credit. (I’m still unsure of how to handle this situation if it comes up again in the future.) So I paid the bill on my Discover card, hoping that it would give me a little more leverage if I had to dispute the charges. I waited outside with him as he called in my credit card to his office. The receptionist put him on hold for 10 to 15 minutes. During that time Rob kept complaining about about her, the new night receptionist, and how she should be fired. He finally gave her my card information. To finalize the transaction I was given what I thought was a receipt to sign. After looking at it more thoroughly the next day, it was a service agreement. I was handed this paper to sign outside in dark, Rob didn’t tell me what I was signing. This is how this company operates. Very shady. I’m still not sure how to interpret this parting comment that came out of Robs mouth. He says to me “My wife use to be married to a (My last name)”. So was he taking advantage of me because of my last name. Was he thinking that he was pulling one over on his wifes ex-husbands family member?

After several phone conversations with the Manager at Mr Rooter, Steve, I was told that Lynn didn’t want to reimburse me any of the $600. The next couple attempts to contact Steve was unsuccessful. I was given the typical blow off excuses by the receptionist. I finally got his attention when the receptionist asked If I would like to leave a message. I really didn’t want to leave a message, but I obviously wasn’t being taken serious. The message was this. I don’t like handling this situation in this manor, I wanted to tell you this, not leave a message for you. Either I receive a full credit for the jetting service ($600) or I’m writing letters to the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau, and any plumbing organization that is relevant to Mr Rooter. I’ll also write reviews on all online Plumbing review sites. And if that doesn’t get the companies attention, I’ll file a civil suit against Mr Rooter. She said she’ll give him the message. Coincidentally he must have just stepped back in the office because he called me less than 5 minutes after the receptionist and I ended our call. After another heated conversation, Steve told me all he can do is reimburse me $280 dollars. After a couple more non-progressing conversation, I decided to except a partial refund now, and follow through with my letters and reviews like promised. Lynn the owner of the Mr Rooter franchise in North Olmsted, Ohio still owes me a $320 credit for a service that his employee suggested for a service that was not needed, could not solve my problem, should not have been suggested.

Mr Rooter prays on uninformed customers. Mr Rooter does not explain their policies. Mr Rooter does not give documentation of its services. Mr Rooter practices unethical sales techniques. Mr Rooter is not a company of integrity. And I’m left to believe that as long as Lynn is making a profit, he’s completely okay with operating his business with criminal standards.

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9 comments
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B
Mar 04, 2015 7:01 am EST

A call to the home office in Waco is a joke. Each franchise is individually owned and operated. They tell you that there is an independent relationship there. If the franchise won’t do anything, then you are screwed.

On Mr. Rooter LLC’s Facebook Page, there was a situation where they weren’t going to honor their lifetime warranty for a customer with the reason being that the lifetime warranties are only good with the franchise owner where the lifetime warranties were obtained. So, if you have a new franchise owner or the franchisee you used goes out of business, then you are screwed as a consumer - Do you want to pay $10k, $20K or more for a sewer line replacement and then not have that Lifetime Warranty honored? Fortunately for that customer they “changed their mind.” So, their Lifetime Warranty is not really a Lifetime Warranty.

Did you know that some states allow people to work as plumbers if they are working for a Master Plumber? PA is one of those states. So, it is possible that you are getting a salesman rather than a qualified technician to come out and diagnose your problem.

During our dates of service, Mr. Rooter of Pittsburgh and Mr. Rooter LLC blatantly refused to address well documented issues of fraudulent misrepresentation, breaches of contract (attached is a screen shot of an independent video inspection performed after Mr. Rooter claimed to have completed their work which shows that instead of coming 2' or less from the main according to the contract…they stopped 6' short of the main failing to remove all of the grease that they had cleared enough of to force a pipe insert into place which resulted in a destructive sewage backup on January 6, 2012 that should have NEVER happened), shoddy workmanship, and property damage. In PA, the Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act required that their HICPA # be on invoices and advertisements since July 2009 which is missing from our invoices. Our dates of service were between 12-24-2011 and 12-30-2011; thus, Mr. Rooter of Pittsburgh's owner must think he is above the law. Only recently since I made a big deal about it has he finally included his HICPA# on his invoices. More details, photographs, and videos can be found at https://www.facebook.com/rooterboycott

On top of that, Mr. Rooter LLC and at least one franchisee, Mr. Rooter of Pittsburgh, lied about being winners of the 2012 Angie's List Super Service Award. If they are going to lie to you about receiving awards, then it stands to reason that you are being lied to about everything and they can’t be trusted. If Mr. Rooter LLC is involved in infringing on someone’s brand to lie to the public about their reputation, then what are they teaching their franchisees to do? Consumers are being targeted.

It is risky and too hard to do business with Mr. Rooter or the sister companies under The Dwyer Group.

D
Jul 08, 2014 8:58 pm EDT

Mr Rooter Plumbing is a Franchise with over 500 in the USA. I am an owner of one and I would never allow anything but excellent service. I know that anything other than great service is not allowed by our franchise agreement. A call to our home office in Waco Texas would solve most problems. A few bad apples. Please don't paint us all with the same brush. Sorry for your poor experience.

B
Sep 02, 2013 6:44 pm EDT

I had mr. Rooter come to my house today and was very pleased with the results. Although it was a little more money than I had anticipated they were very prompt and professional the guys name was Kenny Brantley and he took care of my problem on Labor Day when a lot of the other pluming company's was closed. I would recommend Kenny to anyone that has a problem with there plumbing. Like I said it was a little more than the last time I had this done by about 80.00 bucks if I was mr. Rooters owner I would reimburse customers for this amount if the customer has the receipt for the same job that was done. But again Kenny was a very good prompt and professional employee I can say that about Mr. Rooter!

S
Nov 04, 2012 3:28 pm EST
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

This below describes my situation with Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Pittsburgh and Mr. Rooter Corporation: http://howmrrooterplumbingpittsburghliedtome.blogspot.com/ On the blog, there is a link to my daughter's blog which contains photos, videos, copies of invoices, and the research she did on my behalf. The situation we experienced is relatively similar to many of you. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with the type of unethical behavior!

C
Oct 07, 2011 2:51 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I have a clogged bathroom and I did not see the plumber for Mr. Rooter until 10pm. I made the call at 6pm. The online ad said no charge for after hour service. The plumber did not fix my clog I paid him 327.00 to climb on top of my house to tell me I need cleanouts. He told me he would be back tomorrow and I would have to pay approximately 700.00 for him to complete the next step and that there was also an additional step afterwards. I thought it was sort of peculiar that he was interested in what I did for a living...I think he was trying to size me up financially. I paid the $327.00 and counted my loss and told him not to come back to my house in Dallas, Texas. He then begged to do the job and told me if I have a change of heart to call him ...the fact that he was five hours late should have been an omen to me. This company takes your credit card information up front. DO NOT CALL MR. ROOTER. DO NOT CALL MR. ROOTER you will waste your time and be ripped off!

T
Sep 03, 2011 1:09 am EDT

they are a total ripoff company, today we used them, they tighted a heating element, on a hot water heater, pushed reset button, they took out and reinstalled an existing shower valve, there maybe 2 hours, our parts, bill was 916 dollars, i will harass, complain, and burn up there phone lines, if you use these people they will charge at least 400% too much, and you will be ripped off.

A
Jun 06, 2011 7:27 pm EDT

First, thanks to all of you who have posted complaints here. My experience with Mr. Rooter was eerily similar: there was no cost given up front before the plumber started (as promised by the company), he was 3 hours late (I missed an entire day's work because of his tardiness), and the bill was NOT itemized, which I thought was strange. During the HOUR he was there, he changed a washer in the bathtub tap, replaced a water line to the refrigerator/freezer ice maker (which STILL doesn't work; rather, a pool of water collected on the floor below the refrigerator), and looked at my washing machine, telling me that it wasn't the water line, so I'd have to call a washer repairman. The bill was nearly $400! I couldn't believe it; I felt totally taken advantage of, lied to, and cheated. My advice: DO NOT USE MR. ROOTER--ever!

W
Jul 12, 2010 9:06 pm EDT
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

I had a very similar experience at my home in Pittsburgh, PA and was practically laughed at when I asked for a refund. I have filed complaints with the BBB (the Mr. Rooter in Cranberry Pa is not even a member of the BBB and failed to respond to our complaint), and the attorney general's office. Their attorney told me no other "discount" could be offered at this time. I will not stay quiet about this, just like you. We were lied to, lie after lie. Then I found out those guys work off of commission-no wonder he said I needed a $7, 000 reconstruction. Which, by the way, was another lie. A wonderful, HONEST company came to our rescue, and said they are hearing more and more problems from customers who have used Mr. Rooter. I will also file my complaint here, so others can read, in detail, how we were treated by Mr. Rooter. I am so sorry you had to go through the same thing.

M
Feb 02, 2010 9:59 am EST
Verified customer This comment was posted by a verified customer. Learn more

We are sorry to hear of your recent trouble. Your business is important to us and we want to ensure each and every customer experience with our company is a good one. If you would like to speak directly with us, you are most welcome to call our customer service manager at [protected] who will be happy to assist you. Sincerely, Mr. Rooter Corporation

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