A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been certified against Roto-Rooter, Inc. on behalf of Roto-Rooter customers in thirty-five states who were charged a fee purportedly for "miscellaneous supplies." The complaint alleges that from October 1999 through July 1, 2002, all Roto-Rooter company-owned stores were providing customers with a preprinted invoice assessing a "miscellaneous supplies" charge on every service call. Company-owned stores were allegedly required to use the preprinted form invoices on every job.
The suit claims that that the fee was collected on service calls for drain cleaning or plumbing work regardless of whether miscellaneous supplies were actually used. If questioned by customers, the complaint alleges that Roto-Rooter intentionally misrepresented or concealed the nature of the charge and the basis for the "miscellaneous supplies charge."
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A class action lawsuit filed in Minnesota claims Roto-Rooter is running a sewer line repair scam in which it lies to homeowners about the severity of their plumbing problem in order to charge them unnecessary repairs or replacements costing thousands of dollars.
“This case arises out of Defendant’s common pattern and practice of systematically pressuring homeowners into unnecessary repair jobs by misleading them into thinking they had a much greater plumbing problem than they actually did,” the Roto-Rooter class action lawsuit states. “Defendant preyed on the desperation and inexpertness of consumers seeking emergency plumbing services — often homeowners suffering from the sudden complete loss of water use in their residences — to charge exorbitant sums.”
The lawsuit cites an investigative article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that uncovered numerous homeowners who were told by Roto-Rooter they needed to spend as much as $15,000 to repair or replace their sewer lines, despite plumbers from other companies telling the homeowners the damage “was grossly exaggerated.”
“Roto-Rooter even tried to charge a homeowner $3,600 to repair a water line its own workers broke,” states the article quoted in the lawsuit.
The class action lawsuit claims the main problem is that Roto-Rooter mainline technicians are required to refer a fixed percentage of all jobs to have a camera inspection and excavation to diagnose and fix the problem. If the camera and excavator team sell excavation services, the mainline technician receives a referral fee.
“Because Roto-Rooter’s focus is to increase the excavation business, it sets quotas for mainline technicians to refer lines to excavation teams whether the repairs were necessary or not,” the Roto-Rooter scam class action lawsuit states.
The Roto-Rooter class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of all persons or entities located within Minnesota who, since May 17, 2005, purchased a ticketed camera job, a mainline excavation service, or both, from Roto-Rooter.
A copy of the Roto-Rooter Repair Scam Class Action Lawsuit can be read here.
The case is Dawn Mills, et al. v. Roto-Rooter Services Company, U.S. District Court, State of Minnesota, County of Hennepin.
Having used Roto-Rooter many times over many years, I trusted them to repair a problem with an over-flowing washing machine drain. In the process of fixing the problem, the service man broke a pipe at the joint under a concrete floor, causing water to come up under the floor. After days and days of circular calls, Roto-Rooter refused to send a decision-making manager to our home to examine the problem. Further, an "excavation manager" at the company, sight unseen, referred to our "old and deteriorating" cast iron pipes. I am in possession of the broken pipes, which are not at all deteriorating. Roto-Rooter refuses to correct its mistake at no cost to me. As a result, I am having to sue the company in magistrate court simply to have the problem fixed. I have been met with total obstinance, unreturned e-mail messages and telephone calls, and uninformed conclusions by company representatives. I have spent literally thousands of dollars with this company, but no more. They will never work at my house in the future. The terrible attitude with which I have been met is inexcusable. That I am forced to spend my time taking Roto-Rooter to court over this matter is also inexcusable. The company would rather pay a lawyer several hundred dollars an hour than simply admit its mistake and fix it. This behavior from a company of seemingly good repute is unacceptable and causes me to advise extreme caution to anyone who considers calling it for any kind of in-home plumbing problem.
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Posted by Michael A Terry
In July of 2022 we had a slab leak and called Roto-Rooter to find the problem leak and fix it. They told me the initial charge would be $500.00 per hour for emergency repairs. I agreed and they started looking for the leak. They found where the leak was coming from but needed to find the manifold. They shut off the main line to stop the water from coming out and proceeded to cut twelve holes about a square foot opening all over the house looking for the manifold. This took about three to four days. We had no water use during that time anywhere in the house. It turns out the leak was at the main water line they found in the beginning and all they had to do was reroute the main line. This whole time I was never told I was being charged $500.00 an hour for three and a half days!! It turns out they could have fixed everything on the first day and didn't need to do the damage they did to my house. After they were finished, they presented me with a bill for $9,700.00 for a leak that other plumbing companies have told me they could have fixed it for about $2500.00. I'm a seventy-two year old veteran with Stage IV lung cancer and they took advantage of me by continuing the emergency fee for the entire time instead of adjusting the hourly rate while cutting a dozen holes in my house especially when it turns out they didn't need to do the damage they did looking for something they had found to be the problem in the first place. I have contacted Rotor-Rooter about an adjustment, but I haven't gotten anything from them at all and they never offered to fix all the holes they cut in my house. I had to pay someone to fix those as well. I feel Rotor-Rooter is out jof control with what they charge and the way they charge it.
Posted by Judy Salgado
I had Roto Rooter come out 3 times just to tell me there is a pipe underground that's broken.Edwards sewer company came out and said the pipe is not broken.I looked at their camera.
Posted by Kathryn Leigh Garcia
After calling Roto Rooter to repair a leaky toilet, 3 rooms in my home were destroyed. They removed 7 doors and the door jams. Please tell me how my wood doors and door jams were damaged in a matter of 2 days. They removed the bathroom vanity and placed the extremely heavy marble top in the guest bathtub. Who was supposed to go remove the heavy top so that the shower could be used? There is no possible way that a toilet that began leaking no more than 2 days before could cause that much damage.
Posted by Karen T.
Roto Rooter are still doing THIS. They are a Dishonest company with sneaky practices that milks dry ppl with no knowledge of plumbing. I experienced a Roto plumber who could not tell me how he charged me $450 to simply replace a Pressure reducing valve in our master bedroom vanity sink. It has been 7 days and they never sent me an itemized receipt of what was charged. The job took 30 min of labor. They are a ridiculous company. Follow my Twitter to support my cause- I seek to bring legal action against them again as well. If you experienced anything similar of the sort, We NEED your story. They need to stop charging ppl 3x what the regular industry charges for the same job. Twitter: @Fair2Konsumers
Posted by LEE MCCORMACK
I CONTACTED ROTO-ROOTER TO HAVE A PLUMBER COME TO MY HOME AND REPAIR A FAULTY TOILET. THE NIGHT BEFORE THE UPSTAIRS TOILET FLOODED AND CREATED A HUGH FLOOD DOWNSTAIRS. WHEN THE MAN ARRIVED I TOLD HIM EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED DONE WHICH WAS TO REPLACE THE FLAP ($2.50) REPLACE THE FLUSH VALVE AND THE WAX RING AT THE BOTTOM OF THE TOILET. TOTAL COST FOR PARTS IS APPROX. $25.00. HE ALSO CLEANED THE 10 FT LINE. WHEN FINISHED HE HANDED ME A BILL FOR $685.00. TO THIS DAY I HAVE NO IDEA AS TO WHY I PAID IT. I AM GETTING A LITTLE OLDER AND I WAS A LITTLE CONFUSED ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT WAS GOING ON. ANYWAY, LIKE A FOOL, I PAID IT IN CASH. LATER ON THAT DAY I SUDDENLY BEGAN TO REALIZE EXACTLY WHAT I HAD DONE. I COULD NOT BELIEVE THAT I ACTUALLY GAVE THIS GUY THAT MUCH MONEY FOR A JOB THAT COST ABOUT $25.00 IN PARTS AND 45 MINUTES OF LABOR. ANYWAY, I CONTACTED ROTO-ROOTER AND AFTER SOME PHONE CONVERSATIONS I FINALLY RECEIVED A LITTLE LESS THAT HALF OF MY MONEY RETURNED. THE POINT IS THAT THE BILL WAS OUTRAGEOUS AND HAD I NOT FOUGHT FOR A RETURN OF SOME OF MY MONEY IT WOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED. THESE GUYS ARE GUILTY OF OVERBILLING, PERIOD!! I WANT TO BE PART OF THIS CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT BECAUSE I HONESTLY FEEL THAT THEY ARE WAY OUT OF LINE AND ARE DELIBERTLY BILKING THE PUBLIC. I FEEL THAT I SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED MORE THAN $300.00 BACK. THE FACT THAT I PAID THEM THE REMAINDER OF $385.00 IS OUTRAGEOUS.
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