Mr. Rooter, Midland Park, New Jersey Complaint - BILL SHOCKER - Plumbing/Drainage

Review by gilrod on 2011-02-17
MIDLAND PARK, NEW JERSEY -- I contacted Mr. Rooter to unclog four underground gutter drains. Upon arrival they quoted me a price of $732.00 for the first two hours and approximately $350.00 for each additional hour. Thinking this was reasonable for unclogging five drains, I agreed.

The technician and his assistance cleared one drain and attempted to clear two others. However, they informed me that they could not clear the balance of the drains and that I should contact a landscaper to fix the problem. The first drain was clear in less then one half hour and the total time spent at my home was less then one hour.

After clearing the first and only drain, the technician and his assistance spent the rest of the time either taking underground pictures of two of the drains they could not clear or explaining why they could not unclog any of the other drains.

You can imagine my SHOCK when the technician presented me with a bill for $783.24. I immediately wrote a letter to the President of Mr. Rooter but never received the courtesy of a response. I, therefore, followed up with letters to the Better Business Bureau and New Jersey Consumer Affairs, neither of which could help me.

I also sent a complaint against Mr. Rooter to Angie's List and just recently received a copy of Mr. Rooter's response. The response contains a number of problems. A few are listed below:

-1. They claim that I agreed to the price quoted. Yes, this is true but I contracted for clearing five drains and not just one.

-2. They state that they used a machine to take underground pictures of two of the drains they could not unclog. Mr. Rooter states that this was done "to satisfy any questions there might be concerning pipe integrity, etc." Further, they state that this was done at no charge while the normal cost of this is $373.00. Obviously, this makes absolutely no sense. First, I did not request that the pictures be taken. Second, why would I need pictures if they already advised me to hire a landscaper. Third, it was very generous of them not to charge me an additional $373.00 or a total of over $1000.00 to clear one drain.

-3. Mr. Rooter claims that my allegation that the technicians were at my home for less then one hour is questionable as "Too many tasks were performed to realistically think otherwise." Too many tasks? What tasks? That is the problem, hardly anything was done. In fact, the technician must have realized the inequity as he asked me if there was anything inside the house they could fix.

-4. Mr. Rooter claims that they only herd of my dissatisfaction four months after the fact. This of course is not true. As stated above I wrote to the president of Mr. Rooter immediately and followed-up with letters to the Better Business Bureau and New Jersey Consumer Affairs. All of this was with a period of a few weeks from Mr. Rooter's visit. Therefore, Mr. Rooter was aware of my complaints long before he is acknowledging in his response to Angie's List.

I should add that after the fact I searched for information on Mr. Rooter on the Internet and found many many complaints against them as well as other Mr. Rooter organizations throughout the country. Certainly I would not have contacted them if I had done this search originally.
Comments:2 Replies - Latest reply on 2011-03-21
Posted by CoonCatOne on 2011-03-21:
I have found that reading reviews or making a complaint to the Better Business Bureau is not at all useful.
Posted by T on 2011-03-21:
The prices quoted are absurd, and I was surprised they were deemed to be reasonable.

Part of determining that the two drains could not be unclogged was using the camera, and this is what led to the recommendation of contacting a landscaper.

The real problem here, IMO, is that the fees were not recognized to be outlandish in the first place.

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