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.
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.