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the newest scam out there. buyer beware

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  • the newest scam out there. buyer beware

    just got a call tonight from 1 of my home owner associations residence. she lives in a penthouse beverly hills condo and asked me to come out and snake her master shower drain. told me she threw out the other plumber today without paying them

    the building is about 12 years old and in well kept condition. no reason why they couldn't snake out a 2'' shower drain more than 4'. but of course for another $500.00 they will jet the line and clear the stoppage.

    please tell me that if you can't get a snake through a 2'' shower drain and trap, that you'll have better luck with a jetter on a 5th floor unit. now i've heard it all.


    lots more scams going on and i hear about them weekly. lets post some of the more unbelievable ones you've heard of.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

  • #2
    Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

    Rodded out a 4" branch line from inside. Noticed the sink was clogged. Took out my hand spinner and pulled out the stoppage...hair. Told the customer about getting the sink as well. She showed me an invoice from a month prior where another company charged 1300 to snake out the line but was unsuccessful and recommended replacement. Punch line to the story? The company has "affordable" in their name.

    BTW....for any homeowner's reading this story....not all plumbers are crooks and I'm not trying to portray that. There are lots of great honest plumbers out there. You can find a good tradesman(goes for any trade) by getting refferals from family and friends and not from a big ad in the yp.
    Last edited by gear junkie; 10-05-2012, 12:16 AM.
    Buy cheap, buy twice.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

      Had a new customer last year bring me in to fix her outside faucet. I left it up to her if she wanted it repaired or replaced, cause it did have a split in it. I suggested repair, cause the faucet was only 2 years old, and I could repair it in place without having to remove it.

      I charged the lady a service call and she was delighted, and she also showed me an invoice from another company for $560.00 to replace the outside faucet.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

        here's one from 3 days ago. i was recommended from another plumber after the homeowner called a plumbing and rooter company for a tub and shower stoppage at the master bathroom. i spoke to him the night before in detail concerning the issue and what the rooter company wanted to sell him. they claimed the waste pipes under the house were leaking and there was waste under the house. they wanted to repipe the entire house including the risers. they never attempted to snake the tub or shower but instead ran a camera out the front from under the house and cleared the stoppage.

        once i showed up and read the $13,000 estimate and all the phoney claims of waste and clearing the stoppage from a front crawl space cleanout, i showed the owner all the b.s. they claimed was a lie.

        the tub and shower was the only thing that was plugged and the rest of the house 2.5 bathrooms were not affected. including the master toilet. had the line been all plugged and leaking, then when they removed the cleanout under the house it too would have flooded. of course it was bone dry there too. they wanted to replace all the risers and those were already abs plastic. and of course the camera they ran to the outside and claimed the pipes were all cracked and leaking, the video doesn't exist either.

        after spending 1/2 hour disproving their claims, i snaked out the back to back shower/ tub and left with $118.

        sad part is the homeowner told me had the estimate been under $4000. he would have done the work.

        rick.
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

          Rick, when you chose to retire from the plumbing business, you should do what Houdini did and go around debunking all the scam artists. If you never read about Houdini life, it's very interesting. He cared for the widows of many magicians who preceeded him, and also paid for maintenance for their gravesites. He also spent a good deal of his time debunking all the scam artists who would steal peoples money saying they could contact family members who had passed away and other rip offs.

          Rick, you could make a new career for yourself as an expert witness or working with the police or state catching those rip off artists and make a pile of money to boot.
          ---------------
          Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
          ---------------
          “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
          ---------
          "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
          ---------
          sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

            R...R..... told my inlaws they would have to excavate the middle of their living room floor under tile which also has the foudation slab cables at a cost of $24,000 because it was loaded with eggshells.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

              thanks bob

              had another 1 today for a plumber buddy of mine at a 4 unit condo. the first floor 3000' unit with 3 bathrooms all at the same floor level had a toilet that overflowed about a month ago. the company they called mr rooter wanted to sell them a chemical treatment and a "hydroscrub" of course the video they shot doesn't exist. but the $4000. estimate does. fortunately the hoa pres was smart enough to call my buddy who then brought me in for the camera work and a consult.

              after talking to the first floor owner and the hoa pres, crawling into the crawlspace and checking the piping layout i determined it was a local stoppage and most likely caused by the owner only.

              their american standard toilet has the wrong flapper that sticks open until you jiggle it or reach inside and push it closed. the shower that is next to it and 9' away via the piping layout wasn't affected by the stoppage. also there was very little waste and primarily clean water that had overflowed.

              my observation was the owner flushed before they left for the morning, the toilet plugged and the flapper stuck open. upon returning a couple hours later is when she discovered the flood coming out of the 1 toilet only.

              ran the camera to see the condition and disprove the other company. the "hydroscrubbing" would be a disaster in the making as the original cast iron pipe from the late 60's is already got the rust drippings growing out of the pipe. plus the grade is poor and the pipe is already 1/3 full from the 41'- 78' mark. of course this didn't play a role in the stoppage as the shower never backed up next to the toilet and neither did the 2 other toilets.

              the advantage i have is that it's pretty easy for me to debunk all the far fetch snake oil salesmen. sometimes all it takes is just the company name and i already know it's questionable. lack of a video is always questionable and a written estimate with snake oil properties is a dead give away.

              rick.
              phoebe it is

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

                Personally I think the automotive repair business is the worst for this. I do about 99% of the work on my vehicles including transmission work - when I have taken something in for the remaining 1% (such as 4 wheel alignment on the alignment rack) they always find "problems" which they want to fix. Of course they don't realize I know a lot about cars so after they try to show me the problems I leave them embarrassed.

                I think Rick should write a plumbing book when he retires - I'm sure it will sell well

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

                  Here is a scam in Phoenix...
                  The other day I received what looked very much like an official government notification.
                  I was informed since I live in Maricopa county it's my responsibility to protect and "insure"
                  the water line from the water meter to my foundation!

                  The city and county will not repair it "when" it fails....[lots of scare stuff there and photos too]

                  I had only one week to reply and send $$$$$ about $80.00 for 11 months of coverage etc
                  They prefer a credit card allowing auto renewal!!!!

                  After rummaging through the very fine print I found it was from some sort of homeowner
                  warranty company out of New York City....

                  Well as you all know even Picanti Sauce from New York City is junk so immediately it went
                  off to the shredder.

                  Oh the plumbing from the water meter to my foundation is Wisbro- Pex and is maybe 40 feet long.
                  I should be OK for at least 25 years ha ha ha

                  Cactus Man

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

                    Originally posted by blue_can View Post
                    personally i think the automotive repair business is the worst for this. I do about 99% of the work on my vehicles including transmission work - when i have taken something in for the remaining 1% (such as 4 wheel alignment on the alignment rack) they always find "problems" which they want to fix. Of course they don't realize i know a lot about cars so after they try to show me the problems i leave them embarrassed.

                    I think rick should write a plumbing book when he retires - i'm sure it will sell well
                    my father was a master auto truck mechanic and he ran into this kind of stuff all his life,
                    so i was kind of used to it when i became a plumber their is just some people out that have to rip people off to make their kind of a living
                    JERRYMAC
                    E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                    CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                    FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                    SINCE JAN. 1989

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

                      I think there are some people out there that want to get one over on people for profit. But, I think a bigger majority of people try to "sell" there way out of a problem that they have no clue how to solve!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

                        I had one a while back. Clogged tub. I removed the lever overflow to find that the barrel had fallen off. I went to my truck made a loop in some wire and removed the barrel. It was all in good working condition, adjusted it and put it back. 20 minutes tops. Customer Freaked out. I thought she was mad about my service call at first, but then she showed me 3 bids to remove the tub and jackhammer the floor. 3 different companies missed this? Then another one by a Large National chain with frank in the name told a homeowner they needed to tunnel under the house to repair the sewer. No video taken, but charged big $$$ for the camera. House was backing up every few days. I walked in and saw freshly tiled showers. Ran my camera and found a grout blockage in main line. Brought out the Jetter and Grout B Gone. Estimate for Repairs was over $30,000.00 I got a HUG on that one and a TIP! Two MORE customers for LIFE. HONESTY Is the BEST Policy.
                        "don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

                          Originally posted by cactusman View Post
                          Here is a scam in Phoenix...
                          The other day I received what looked very much like an official government notification.
                          I was informed since I live in Maricopa county it's my responsibility to protect and "insure"
                          the water line from the water meter to my foundation!

                          The city and county will not repair it "when" it fails....[lots of scare stuff there and photos too]

                          I had only one week to reply and send $$$$$ about $80.00 for 11 months of coverage etc
                          They prefer a credit card allowing auto renewal!!!!

                          After rummaging through the very fine print I found it was from some sort of homeowner
                          warranty company out of New York City....

                          Well as you all know even Picanti Sauce from New York City is junk so immediately it went
                          off to the shredder.

                          Oh the plumbing from the water meter to my foundation is Wisbro- Pex and is maybe 40 feet long.
                          I should be OK for at least 25 years ha ha ha

                          Cactus Man
                          Cactus man, I got the same letter--Cake taker is that I live out in the "boonies" an have my own well!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

                            I have noticed around here lots of the guys that sell the huge unnecessary jobs, are not plumbers. The guys that go to these jobs with a proper license, tend to do the job properly and at a fair rate. I think the reason for the difference in work ethic is the plumber has a lot to lose (his license) where the handyhack guy that claims to be a plumber can disconnect his phone and get a new number and start scamming a new.
                            Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                            A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                            Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                            Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: the newest scam out there. buyer beware

                              i wish that was the case ron. but what i have seen going on are the licensed companies and including the national chains. it's the outright lies and estimates that don't jive with the actual issues. it's usually
                              a hard sell with the customer who's desperate and is shown a camera with no recording. also typically with a company they have no track record with.

                              until the customer starts using trusted tradesmen who come highly recommended, it will continue. too many companies with employees who work for the commission and the owner of the company is demanding the higher job tickets. i have met with and spoken with many company owners who are not interested is cleaning a line. they are interested in replacing the line. amazing what they will tell you when you're at their business looking to buy equipment they are selling.

                              rick.
                              phoebe it is

                              Comment

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