ANACORTES, WASHINGTON -- Deceitful Practices of Complete Plumbing Repair Co.. Anacortes, WA
This is a complaint against Complete Plumbing Repair Inc. pertaining to a service call at my secondary residence on December 6, 2010. The facts are as follows. The company was called initially to solve a problem of a bathroom odor, the source of which we could not locate. When my partner called and told the plumber what the problem was, he replied, “No problem. This is my specialty.” We, therefore, asked him to come out to solve the problem on the above-stated date. We were told that there would be a travel charge of $99, but were given no other information on other possible charges.
The first step in the racket was to demand a signature from my partner to order the work to be done, which she provided. However, only after she signed the form, which had nothing on it at that point but our name and address and the service requested as “sewer smell” did the plumber provide the diagnosis recommending floor repair under the toilet. This he did not do until after he had made only a cursory search in and around the house for the possible source of the odor.
It was at this point that I came down to observe the situation. I noted that he had given a recommended solution of floor repair under the toilet. We both remarked that there was no odor from the toilet itself nor any other evidence that the odor came from there. Moreover, I had already had recent work done to clean out the entire septic system, so there did not appear to be any basis for this work, but the plumber’s diagnosis was, as stated, “floor repair under toilet.” All that was actually done by the plumber was to pull the toilet, inspect the flange and wax ring, replace the seal, then reset the toilet. This whole exercise was of no value, for there was no evidence of odor from that source. It is obvious that this procedure was done only to have a basis for charging as much as possible. For, aside from other issues raised herein, the total charge of $389.59 to change a seal is patently outrageous. Nor were we informed in advance that the charge would be so exorbitant.
I went back to my own work at this point and came down again only after the work had been completed and payment was required. I noted that there had been absolutely no change in the situation with regard to the foul odor. Nevertheless, the plumber demanded payment. I looked at the work sheet and saw that he had written on it the following statement:
“No warranty on toilet seal due to floor condition. Other issues may be present creating other sewer smells. This is the 1st step in sewer smell corrections.”
I considered this totally unacceptable and unreasonable and crossed out the above statement before signing.
Upon return home to my principal residence, after noting that the worksheet I had signed allowed only a mere three days to register any complaint or concern whatsoever, I called the company and spoke to an employee, who informed the owner (whose name was given to me as Kelly Schols), who then returned my call. I demanded warranty service on the work done to correct the problem according to paragraph 2 of the “terms and conditions” on the back side. The owner refused this demand outright. Consequently, even the owner refused to abide by the terms and conditions in his own contract. Further, I reminded him that I had crossed out the statement that offered “no warranty.” His reply was: “So what.”
Under the circumstances, I advise anyone who reads this statement to avoid this plumbing company.
Company Response 02/14/2011: Our technician, Darren DeLong handled this customer. This response is written by him:
The call started over the phone. I talked to the customers about the procedures of finding a SEWER smell. I explained that finding a sewer smell can sometimes be very challenging and time consuming. This was even before I drove an hour and a half to their house. Our dispatcher explained to the customers that there would be a $99.00 travel dispatch fee that would apply due to their location, and that dispatch fee would be added to price of the repair.
I arrived at the house, which is located in a very remote area with gravel roads etc. I knocked on the door and greeted them with a business card and a smile. I was then invited in to the house by Mrs. Brass and she introduced me to Mr. Brass, and with that, he disappeared into the other room to leave Mrs. Brass to deal with the problem. I was guided into the bathroom but was unable to detect any sewer smells. At this time I suggested that I should look in the crawlspace for anything that might indicate where the sewer smell was coming from. I then took the time to discuss that there is a $134.17 charge for diagnostic procedures, but I would be willing to waive this charge, as sewer smellscan be very costly to figure out. (This is a way for me to look out for my customers.)
In the crawl space, I found no visible signs of sewer smell issues or leaks of any kind. This inspection was done free of charge. I then returned to the bathroom to see if I could find any obvious signs of sewer problems. Nothing stood out, so I suggested that we pull the toilet to inspect the wax seal and toilet flange. I explained to Mrs. Brass that this is one of the most common places to find sewer smells and that this could be the perfect place to start the work needed to find the source of the sewer smell. (At this point, I still have not smelled any sewer smells and conveyed this to Mrs. Brass.) I went to my van to check the price for a pull and reset of a toilet and presented the price to Mrs. Brass. She approved the pricing at this time, and she signed the work order I presented to her.
When I pulled up the toilet, I found that the wax seal had been leaking and started to rot out the floor. I used larger and longer screws to temporarily hold the toilet flange in place as this is the only toilet in the house. I had Mrs. Brass come in to look at the soft spot under the toilet. I recommended having the floor repaired before any more damage was caused. Mrs. Brass thanked me for finding and sharing this information with her (and other customers.) Before setting the toilet back in place, I informed Mrs. Brass that until the floor was properly repaired, we would be unable to warranty any of our work resetting the toilet. I then reset the toilet with a new wax seal, new toilet hold-down bolts and supply line, but the flange was not holding in place. I then re-pulled the toilet and added even larger screws and washers which held the flange in place. I then reset the toilet with another new wax seal at no extra cost. Mrs. Brass decided to see if changing the wax ring had resolved the sewer smell issue. I agreed with her decision.
I still had not smelled any sewer smells and suggested that there could be piping inside the wall that may have leaks.
I began to clean up my work area, which included spraying down the floor with cleaner and wiping it up, all on my hands and knees. I continued to haul out all job related debris and I returned to the house.
I went over the job and discussed the floor issues with Mr. and Mrs. Brass, making sure that they were aware there would be NO WARRANTY due to the condition of the flooring. At this time, Mr. Brass became very upset and rude. He began to scribble on my paperwork and demanded a warranty. My feelings on putting a warranty on this would make the customer feel like they had no flooring problems and would not seek help to take care of the current flooring problems they had which could lead to much more serious problems in the future, as well as costing them more money.
I reminded them again that this is just the first step in correcting the sewer smells. I still have not smelled these "Sewer smells," and there is still no warranty on the toilet reset until the floor can be repaired.
I thanked them for their business, left them a copy of the invoice and a business card, and left the premises.
To my customer: You are welcome for the charges I chose to waive for you, and for finding, diagnosing and sharing with you the issues you were unaware of. Once again, I have gone above the call of duty for my customers, and I will continue to do so as long as I am a service technician.
Complete Plumbing Repair Inc.