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How far can I go?

Discussion in 'Association Talk' started by ICE, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    I am witness to dishonest business dealings. A plumbing contractor rapes the elderly and anyone with an IQ below 90. I have seen $5800.00 water heaters, 40' of sewer liner at $22,000.00. Today I found 15' of 2" abs replaced for $3000.00.

    [​IMG]

    The usual rip off is a clean-out. I have been seeing three a month. A stopped-up sewer call presents an opportunity to sell up. A clean-out, a liner....it depends on how strong is the smell of money that the demon detects. First the pipe is jetted and then comes the camera. The rube gets a show and the wizard gets the dough. There's been a rash of broken sewer pipes right next to houses that get 4' of abs and a clean-out that sells for as much as possible. The one in the picture was $2800.00. I have seen them as high as $3500.00 and I rarely learn the dollar amount so I bet there's a bell ringer or ten out there.

    [​IMG]

    I walk a fine line. The contractor has taken the stance that what they charge is off limits for an inspector. I can agree with that. It is none of my business. The trouble with that is that the people will tell me all about it. Do you remember the picture of me?

    [​IMG]

    The gentleman was 96 the day I took the picture. He suffered the indignation of having three ships blown out from underneath him during WWII and then giving his savings to a thief for 35' of illegal sewer liner. $18,500.00 for an inverted sock liner that wasn't needed. It was a dirt yard with the sewer 6' deep at the PL. He explained how he had gotten a senior discount from $24,000.00. I was saddened to find that they settled on $18,500.00 because that was his last penny.

    I should be able to shout the name of the company but I can't even say it.

    If I live to be 96 and the sewer needs $24k dumped down it, I'll be *****ting in the garbage can.

    That was far enough huh!

    Tiger
     
    #1 ICE, Jan 26, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2012
  2. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    As a government employe it would be reasonable to refer to problem to the government agency that prosecutes fraud.

    Refer the problem to the state contractor licensing board.

    There is probably nothing else you can do officially. Get the advice of the city attorney.

    If you get too agressive in what you tell the homeowner and the contractor is just on the side of legal you or your department could be subject to a claim of slandar or libel. On the other hand any communication with a government body that has jurisdiction is considered protected speech.

    You could cause some grief for the contractor by checking the cost of the work listed on the permit application. Did he pay the appropriate permit fees or did he commit fraud against the city by lowballing the cost. It would be appropriate to ask the owner the cost of the work so you could verify the proper fees were paid.
     
  3. RJJ

    RJJ Platinum Member

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    I agree with Mark!
     
  4. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    I have turned them in to the appropriate agency but that was several years ago and nothing happened. Plumbing permit fees are not based on valuation so there is no reason for me to inquire. The law apparently allows a contractor to charge whatever he wants. Under most circumstances, I would agree with that but the plumber holds the people hostage by denying them use of the bathroom until they agree to his repair. He also owns three separate companies and advises people to get other bids from his other companies. If you look in the phone book, the only entire page ads are his three companies. The radio has his ads all day long. So I tell people that if the plumber advertises on the radio, forget about calling him.
     
    #4 ICE, Jan 27, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2012
  5. Sandman

    Sandman Bronze Member

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    There is no answer and that makes these situations even more disheartening. And what is even worse is that you may be reprimanded for "swimming out of your lane."

    I always tell people to get three bids, ask a lot of questions, and do as much research as they can. After that, it is buyer beware all the way.
     
  6. rnapier

    rnapier Silver Member

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    There was a company in my state that was notorious for over charging like that. It took almost two decades for thier professional to revoke thier license. It is difficult to prove what is over charging in court.
     
  7. fatboy

    fatboy Administrator

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    I'm with Sandman (glad to see your posting again!), I admire your outrage, and agree it's BS, but.......
     
  8. Gregg Harris

    Gregg Harris Saw Horse

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    News media attention usually provides the best form of prevention. Sting operations on film are hard to defend. Most homeowners are not knowledgeable enough to obtain the truth before making a conscientious decision. A very sore subject with the industry that I am predominately involved with is companies "Red Tagging" gas furnaces and water heaters and forcing consumers to make an abrupt decision to replace equipment when there is "nothing Wrong". But yet these are the companies advertising on radio and television and at sporting events purporting they are the best.
     
  9. Dennis

    Dennis Gold Member

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    I would say, if possible, find out who the person is and check on the job after they did it. If no permit was gotten nail them. I would also bet that these guys don't do compliant work- report it. That is about it and I agree it stinks that people do that to each other but the world can be a devilish place at times.
     
  10. BSSTG

    BSSTG Gold Member

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    Greetings,

    It's criminal here in Tx although I don't know the specifics on the law. We had a similar case here and our city atty got the police to investigate for possible prosecution. I don't know how it turned out though. Talk with your city attorney. I can't stand these aholes that pull that crap.

    BS
     
  11. David Henderson

    David Henderson Registered User

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    Besides the CSLB, there is the police. I have turned in more than one for Elder abuse.
     
  12. north star

    north star Sawhorse

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    & &



    Unfortunately, to remain employed by a governmental agency, the answer is "not very far at all!"This type of activity has been going on since Day #8, where Eve was duped in to obtaining

    something that she [ and we ] did not need.

    IMO, this aspect of being a code official is just part of the job duties, ...to [ genuinely ] try

    to help people in obtaining the best services, at the best price.....This will be an ongoing

    battle for your entire life, not just while you [ we ] are employed........Most, if not all, can

    relate and very much sympathize & empathize with the elderly gentleman in your pic......But

    take heart, the Bible has some guarantees for behavior such as this......Refer to

    Galatians, 6:7,8; ...Psalm 7:11-17; ...2 Samuel 3:39; ...Proverbs 22:8 and others.

    I encourage you and everyone else to continue to try to the very best of your abilities,

    to help everyone you can.....While you may not receive your reward [ appreciation /

    acknowledgment ] immediatley, trust the Lord that you WILL receive a just reward for

    your efforts!

    & &
     
  13. Mule

    Mule Platinum Member

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    We've been told pricing is not anything we can do anything about. Now failing to secure permits and getting inspections is a violation of the State plumbing board and we can prosecute that but not what the plumber charges.
     
  14. righter101

    righter101 Gold Member

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    Good point on the news media. Our local (Seattle) TV station has a guy named Jesse Jones. If someone gets ripped off, turn them in to "GET JESSE". This guy is about 6'4 and takes the camera crew and he gets results.

    Sets up right outside the buisness and tells the story, tries to ask the owner for an interview about the situation.

    It seems effective.
     
  15. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    2-3-12

    The contract excluded landscape and sidewalk at $3975.00 and it doesn't hold water. This is the first one I've seen that didn't include a clean-out. They have improved the scam.

    [​IMG]
     
    #15 ICE, Feb 3, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2012
  16. jar546

    jar546 *****istrator

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    Why is this in the association talk area? Maybe I am missing something.
     
  17. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    I put it here because it will stay on top for a long time. I'm hoping that ******** sees this.

    To any and all that stumble upon this thread. Google a company's name before you call them.
     
    #17 ICE, Feb 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2012
  18. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    **** ******* Plumbing?
     
    #18 mark handler, Feb 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2012
  19. ICE

    ICE Moderator

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    Did I say that? There's more than one **** ******* out there and this one is no plumber. Of course they can't all have a D- rating at the BBB. Any plumbing company could see this as a road map to riches. It works and the sophistication of the players, the plan and the pawns is minimal. It's almost as if they were made for each other. A fulfillment of a shared destiny. Evil has rewards and shouldn't be so easy to pull off.

    I have watched this for years and the pace has picked up in the last three years. Word of mouth doesn't exist. Even the Internet fails to shine enough light to warn the public. Google brings hundreds of scathing reviews and the business is booming.

    I make no representation as to which company this is.

    This job was 30' of 4" sewer liner.

    The victim was really old.

    He showed me the bill because he was upset that they added $400.00 after he paid $18,000.00. He thought that the workman was trying to steal $400 by adding that to the bill at the last minute.

    The $400 was written in as paying for concrete and since he refused to pay the $400 they didn't patch the concrete.

    He completely missed the fact that he'd been screwed.

    There was another $4500.00 in invoices but I couldn't determine if he paid those or not. The man is a hoarder and he took five minutes to remember where the receipts were and he was damned determined to show me.

    [​IMG]

    He was so befuddled that the contractor added this to a previous bill:

    [​IMG]
     
    #19 ICE, Feb 4, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2012

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