SM Betros Complaint - SM Betros Hacked Up My Floors!

Review by cherc on 2009-11-07
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA -- I unfortunately, made the mistake of calling S. M. Betros in Jacksonville, Florida due to a water leak.

First, the sent someone out to my home to confirm that I had a leak. This task was completed by their employee Kevin walking into my kitchen and literally listening with his ear to the wall and floor to hear for running water. Five minutes later he declared, "yes you have a leak." You will have to call Larry to set up an appointment to have someone come out and fix it and heres is your bill for $95.00. I was like "umm... I know I have a leak. That's why I called you!!" So, he informed that his job is only to come out and confirm that there is a leak. Apparently, me saying there is a leak, isn't confirmation enough. Apparently, you have to be an employee of their plumbing company to be able to make that type of informed decision. This should have been my first clue to turn and run from this plumbing company!

But, I didn't. So, the following week S. M. Betros decided to send what I guess would be their most incompetent employee to my home- Paul. He was using equipment that he guaranteed me would find the leak in my kitchen. So, he said he found the leak behind my washer in the wall. So, in the wall went a huge hole to repair the leak. One small problem- no leak. Then I was informed - and I quote - "The leak must be in the floor just below the wall - because I defintely hear water running." So, into my custom tile flooring went this huge hole. Second small problem - no leak. So, then I was informed by Paul that he needed to go and get another piece of equipment. He returned an hour and half later!!!!! So, with new equipment the hunt for the leak in my kitchen was on! One hour later I was told we have found your leak. So, one again, into my custom tile flooring a huge a** hole went. Third small problem - no leak. At that point I had enough!!! I told no more holes in my floor!!! So, Paul proceeded to tell me he would call a company called Leakbusters that have special equipment that allows them to find leaks without drilling holes in my floor. I said - "and you are just telling me this now?!!" So, Paul advised me he would call this company and found out how much they charge. I agreed.

In the mean time, I had to pick my children up from school, so I left my 20 year old son in the house with Paul while I picked up my other children. My eldest son, only knew they were there to fix a leak and was unaware of the events of the day. In the hour that I was gone, they drill 4 MORE HOLES into my custome tiled floor. I walked into my home and nearly had a heart attack!!! I wanted to go off on Paul who was not there - I was told he left to go get more concrete to fill all of the holes. Needless to say, I was crazy mad!!!

Paul eventually returned and I demanded to know why I had the additional holes in my floor and he informed that Leakbusters was going to cost $600.00, so they decided to keep looking for the leak. I told him to get out of my house. Which he did but he returned 15 minutes with a bill. Paul handed me my bill at 4:45, billing me for 7 hours. When I attempted to object to the number of hours I was billed, he became belligerent, raised his voice with my children in the house and began saying things to me like- if I had called Leak Busters they would have charged me $600.00 just to come to the house. Paul also said that I should just turn the bill into my home owners and have them reimburse me for the repair. Paul continued to go on and on actually yelling at me in my home. On his way out, he actually slammed my door so hard the framed mirror on the wall was shaking. I couldn’t believe it!

I immediately left a voice mail on S. M. Betros voice mail, as well as faxing a letter to S. M. Betros describing exactly what had transpired. Needless to say, eventhough NO permission was given by me for them to play a game of hunt and peck with my kitchen floor - I was basically informed by Larry - the supposed supervisor - TOO BAD!! There was no concern that his employee had attempted to bill me Fraudently for hours that he was not at my home and no concern for the condition of my floor.

I even attempted to contact the owner of the company- Stephen Betros. I sent him pictures of my floor and advised him of his empoyees behavior. Big surprise - I was completely ignored. You would think in this economy, small business owners would want to keep what customers they have.
Company Response on 02/07/2011:
I was unaware that this complaint had been filed here on this message board so please excuse the late response. I only found out when a company called to ask me to hire them to have it removed. I do not want it removed because all un-happy customers have the right to complain but I would like to respond to the complaint.

To start we have been in business for over ten years and I take all complaints very seriously, we stand by our work and currently have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau ( “Based on BBB files, this business has a BBB Rating of A+ on a scale from A+ to F”. The only complaint the BBB has on file for us is this same complaint, and it was resolved in our favor.

The customer really did not want to give us the chance to correct the issue. She was very abusive and made claims that were not true. Including me telling her and I quote “Too bad”, never have said that to a customer in the 20 some odd years I have been working in this industry and never will. To me a contractor saying “too bad” is unacceptable. Also her complaint was that we never responded to her is also not correct. We called her several times she did not respond. When we received her letter the owner of the company and I called her together and she would not discuss it with us. Here are the facts. The customer had been our customer since 2008, we have provided her with service on 2/12/2008, 02/21/2008, 05/21/2008, and 09/03/2009. The work she filed the complaint over was performed on 09/14/2009.

The bill for $95.00 was from her 09/03/09 service cal, she never once said she had a leak her problem was stated to me as “water heater not working”. Kevin arrived at the home to service her water heater not to look for a leak. When he determined that the water heater was working correctly he did use his ear to determine that she did have a leak. Since I did not send him on a leak detection job he did not have our electronic leak detector on his van. It is an expensive unit so not all service vans are equipped with one. He advised her that she had a leak and would need to call to set up a leak detection call with the equipment. He then collected for the service call, he checked her water heater as requested and determined it was ok and that she had a leak so payment was due for that call. She paid by check and never called to complain about that service call.

The customer did call me and we set up an appointment for 09/14/09 to locate and repair the leak. The home is on a slab so finding the leak was very difficult. Our standard slab leak repair offer at that time was $450.00 to locate, open the slab, and repair the leak. The $450.00 covers material, and equipment but any labor over 4 hours would be at our regular per hour labor rate. Any damage done to the home unless agreed upon ahead of time is the responsibility of the home owner to repair. This was explained to her on this call and her previous service calls with us including the service call on 02/21/2008. The 02/21 call was also another slab leak in her garage that we repaired under the exact same agreement. She knew we did not repair tile work, trust me you do not want a Plumber doing your tile or wall work. I hire sub contractors for those jobs so that they are done right and if she had asked I would have set that up for her. When we arrived on 09/14/09 to start the work she asked about pricing and my plumber did tell her about Leakbusters and how much they charge for service, he did not say we had to call them, and he did not make a trip for special equipment. It is true we do have special equipment for locating leaks but Paul had it on his van so no trip was needed. The problem is the contractor who built the home did not shield the lines in the slab at all. The noise from the leaking line was reverberating thru out the slab making it very hard to pin down. The customer gave my plumber permission to open the floor and was present when the first 4 holes were made then left to run errands and pick up her children. She left her 20 year old son with the plumber and we continued to work. We did locate and repair the leak; a sea shell in the slab had rubbed into and caused a leak on a copper water line feeding her washing machine on the hot side. As our arrangement we repaired the line and patched the holes with concrete, but did not repair the tile. When she returned and found out how much the bill was she called me and I did agree to credit some of the labor because she felt Paul was working to slow, I had Paul adjust his bill and he collected a check from the customer as we had done with her four times before.

The customer then called in later that day and left a complaint on our voice mail system about the tile needing to be repaired. I returned her call the morning of 09/15/09 after speaking to my plumber but I got her voice mail and left her a message to call me back. When I called again on 09/16/09 she told me she was going into a meeting and could not speak. Since I spoke to her at this point I stopped calling and waited for her to call back, she did not. Instead we received a letter stating what she had written in this complaint with the same pictures. Her claim that we did not try to call her is false, not only did I call her after her initial complaint but after the letter arrived the owner of the company and my self tried calling her together, she advised she was in an elevator and could not talk. I followed up with one more call were I got her voice mail again and advised her that the owner would like to meet you at your home and look at the damage. Again she did not return our call. All of these calls occurred in September and instead of calling us she filed a BBB complaint on 10/2/2009. That file has since been resolved in our favor.

To this day I still do not understand why she acted the way she did, or made the claims she has in writing. The plumbers who did the work with the exception of Kevin had been to her home before; Paul repaired her water service in May of 09.

The complaint I can handle, if it is valid I will do everything I can to fix it. But first it has to be valid and the customer needs to work with me. She did neither.

Larry Gallo
Service Coordinator
S.M. Betros Plumbing Company, Inc

904-693-0788, Fax 904-693-0889

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