We needed to have a camera put down our kitchen line plumbing. We were quoted a price of $200 (later, on the invoice, it would show up as $375 and there would be another $350 charge for a piece of auxiliary equipment - the line locater - to "help" with the camera).
During the camera work (which we were not permitted to see - we were asked to look at one still shot, and told the camera couldn't do any more work because there was a "blockage"
that would need to be removed. Turns out there are two other camera access points just past this blockage, this was misrepresentation - I'm saying lying now, because egregious lying occurred later.
The technician appeared competent, but his supervisor was the only person who could run the camera (supposedly). They wrote us a quote of $3000 to repair the blocked pipe under our bedroom floor, tore up flooring, and, based on their two machines, located the problem piece of pipe. It was fine.
Supervisor then lied and said this piece of PVC pipe had been squished so that there was a blockage, but that it sprang back into a normal shape once he took it out of the line.
At this point, we realized we'd been scammed. We called into two other plumbers, one master plumber who is a neighbor. He said that all that had been needed, to get the camera through, was snaking - possibly jetting (maximum $400-500 from the other two companies we'd contacted).
But now, there was a big hole in the foundation of the house, and the supervisor is telling us to leave it open while they organize themselves to replace the entire set of pipes under the house for $14,000.
This would be cheaper, they said, since they would not charge us for the $3000 for the work already done - it would be free. They'd also throw in their Halo water system. When we asked for an estimate without the Halo System, we were told it was the same estimate (so they lied again-it wasn't free).
We had no choice but to allow their dirt moving tech to fill the whole in again, as it was a hazard. The camera never reappeared and the initial task (camera work) was never completed.
I was then told that had I been so interested in actually seeing the camera work (which was the entire reason I called and since I had seen the camera work a year ago, I was the only person who could have made comparisons). They blamed previous workers for the camera blockage (not true).
We had a 3 day right of recinsion on the contract, so we cancelled after getting an immediate second and third opinion. The supervisor then began berating the other plumbers, inquiring why I hadn't called them sooner, and when I said that was none of his business, he became even more intrusive. I am a person with disabilities doing the best I can to cope with this plumbing problem and I had trusted them.
I believe our contract ended at the moment I rescinded it.
Many things were discussed as being thrown in as a courtesy (jet blasting, snaking) and of course they refilled the whole because it was a hazard and they had now torn up our foundation unnecessarily and no repair was made - the situation was made worse.
I am now told by the next plumber that blockages occur under houses all the time and that our pipes are no better or worse than other peoples'. Even brand new construction, he says, sometimes need snaking (cost: $89 from other companies in town).
ARS has so far not responded to our request to rethink their bill. I don't believe any amount is fair - as the camera work was never done. I was told that if I wanted to see the partial camera work they were doing, I should have known to go stand near their monitor in the utility room (I have always been called over to the monitor and shown the whole line on 2 previous camera jobs over the past 10 years).
They came to do camera, did not locate an obvious access point, told us that breaking the floor was the only way to get the camera through, ruined the bedroom floor, and then want us to pay $3000 for this! Supervisor said that if a competitor could do it more cheaply, he'd contact his
supervisor to get a rate reduction - we're getting that other estimate on paper and we'll see how it goes. I do not think they will lower their bill, as the last thing they said when I indicated I wanted a judge or mediator to decide how much we owe was:
""Good luck, lady, because you'll need it in dealing with what's about to happen to you.""
They left tools on our property and want access to get them back. We are going to install security cameras as we learned one employee lives around the corner and we're very concerned that, given their already deceptive practices, they won't be good people to have around.
I don't know what it would be fair to pay - I think Zero, since paying for some company to put an unneeded junction in our pipe and destroy the bedroom floor doesn't seem quite right.
Reading here on RipoffReport, I realize this is common practice for this company - constant pseudo-inspection to recommend always the most expensive, invasive repairs. They have to be stopped. I am afraid of retaliation, although I know they'll know who I am, so no point in using a fake name.
I guess we should at least contact Community Watch/Police to let them know of our concerns. Another company is coming to snake the drain and will let us know where the blockage really was - but it wasn't at the point where they dug up the perfectly fine pipe and then tried to tell us PVC pipe could be totally squished one minute and then fine the next. It was not their plumber who said this- but their salesperson (we just didn't realize he was a salesperson until he lied about the pipe).
Oh, and they took that piece of pipe with them even though I explicitly asked for it to remain with us as proof of their unnecessary work. They did bring it back eventually.