Dymek's Freedom Plumbing
Beware of Plumbing Scams
There’s an old saying that says “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Here is a list of some common sales scams being use by quite a few unethical plumbing and drain cleaning companies.
Dymek’s Freedom Plumbing, Inc. has been doing forensic leak detections and video inspections for homeowner’s insurance companies since 1999. Most of the time (95%), we determine that the suggested repair for a “broken drain line” or a “broken sewer line” is not needed.
Although most plumbers and plumbing companies are honest, over the last almost 45 years, I have seen a shift in how technology is being used to hard sell customers into thinking they need expensive repairs when they don’t. I will list some of the red flags to look for!
What are some of the shady sales techniques being used today and what should you watch out for?
Coupons offering a huge discount or a relatively inexpensive price on drain cleaning should be a red flag. I have seen some coupons for as much as 60% to 70% lower than the normal price. This is normally called a “loss leader” or “let’s get our foot in your door and our hand into your wallet” approach. Again, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
A “free video sewer or drain inspection with any regular or standard drain cleaning” is another red flag. Video inspection cameras are a great technological advance and a wonderful tool when needed. We are seeing it used on almost every job. Typically, the technician will make an attempt to “clear” the drain enough to get a picture of debris that is still in the drain. The picture may be of scale, sludge or tree roots. Sometimes they will say they are bringing out a Supervisor who will confirm the technician’s suspicion that the line is damaged or broken*. The supervisor’s next suggestion is a repair or what is called a “liner.”
Click Here to see the explanations about the different types of sewer repairs.
Just a side note about installing liners, the drain or sewer line must be 100% clean and free of debris before the liner can be installed. It will seal cracks and keep roots from growing back. My point is, if the line must be 100% clean before installing the liner, why don’t they clean it properly and offer maintenance each year?
What they don’t suggest is a good “cleaning”, which is why you called them. Usually a good cleaning and an annual maintenance program will maintain your drain by preventative cleaning. Your return-on-investment (ROI) may be 20-30 years for a sewer replacement or complete sewer liner vs. annual drain cleanings.
When the technician needs to call his “supervisor.”
I mentioned this above about “free video inspection”. When the technician who comes out but cannot open the drain and states that he has to call his “supervisor” for a second opinion or for help is a major red flag. Oftentimes, the first technician won’t have a video camera on his truck and is there as a set up. Most of the time, the supervisor is a sales person who has no intention of trying to get your drain or sewer line cleaned and working. His purpose is to validate what the first technician has stated, and then suggest a very expensive (and unnecessary) repair option.
By way of introduction, my name is Ron Dymek and the President/Owner of Dymek’s Freedom Plumbing, Inc. I started my career in plumbing in 1972 working for the largest drain cleaning company in the world. I started their So. Calif. plumbing division in 1988 and manage a successful office until 1999 when I had the opportunity to start my own company. I have seen a lot of changes in the plumbing industry because of technology. These changes have resulted in improvements for better and safer plumbing systems. Unfortunately, how the technology is being used by the technicians and plumbers is not always beneficial to the customer.