On Nov. 24, 2009 my father had a plumbing emergency in his building and called Drain Rescue to help resolve his problem. My father is 87 years old and speaks broken English.
The technician arrived and quoted a $4800 estimate to replace 30 ft. of cast iron pipe with newer pipe along with some new ABS drainpipe. He was then told that if he rejected the estimate he would have to pay $175 for the diagnosis regardless of the fact that Drain Rescue’s website clearly states that any drain estimates are free and they quote the entire job with no hidden extras.
Having a flooded basement and three units counting on running water that evening left my father little choice but to go ahead and fix the problem. So he did. Two hours into the job, he was quoted another $2500 to replace other sections of old pipe (that were not visible upon initial inspection). Having thought the first job would fix everything, my father was shocked at this added work and cost. He then asked if the new work would resolve a low-pressure issue with the cold water supply on the second floor of the building and was told it would. It did not.
The entire job cost him over $6700 for about 18 hours of labour (2 men, 9 hours each) including about $400 in materials. According to their website (www.drainrescue.com) Drain Rescue boasts that they don’t charge by the hour, rather by the job so there’s no hidden extras. On this particular job, their hourly rate exceeded $300/hour. That’s right! It’s no wonder they don’t charge by the hour. Since the low-pressure problem still persisted, my father was forced to hire another plumber to complete the job (at a much more reasonable cost - $2000 for approximately 30 hours of labour including materials). In fact, this $2000 service included more labour, materials and upgrades than the two Drain Rescue jobs at less than a third the cost.
Finally, the technician offered my father a senior’s discount of 10%. Their website clearly states that seniors receive a 15% discount. I’m not sure how this oversight occurred. When I approached the owner of the company, Terry Sakharevych, I was told that their pricing reflects the work done and in order to receive the advertised senior’s discount, I had to send him a link to his own website where he could confirm the offered15% discount to senior’s. Without this call, only 10% would have been granted. This was just another shoddy work practice.
After talking to him about my predicament, Terry Sakharevych passed me onto Walter who is their service manager. Basically Walter said that it’s too bad I’m not satisfied but they did not gouge my father for any extra money or work required. I asked about the satisfaction guarantee and was told there’s nothing they can do.
Here is what their website states:
Drain Rescue does not charge for estimates. All estimates are free.
We conduct plumbing inspections for Free if we are already at your home.
Drain Rescue charges per job, not per hour! We believe in being paid to solve problems and not for the time it takes to identify them.
A price upfront before the work begins. 100% satisfaction guaranteed.
We do not charge for our drain technicians to show up. All drain service calls are free of charge. With plumbing calls, however, there is a $65 service charge for the plumber to come to your home. However, if you decide to go ahead with the work the $65 service fee is waived.
Our dedication to customer service and our reputation within the plumbing industry is what motivates us.
My problem here is two fold. One, if they don’t know what the entire job entails, at the very least they should notify customers that their estimates are only guess work and can easily include extra work later on. That way, clients have a sense of what they may be getting into. Right now, they offer an estimate making you think that will resolve all your issues, when in fact it’s only a beginning. Pricing by the job can be reasonable if you know what you’re getting into, but when you don’t, the sky’s the limit.
Two, how does a company justify charging over $300 an hour and claim to be honest, reliable and reasonable? I understand pricing an entire job as opposed to hourly rates, but when you can’t fully assess a job unless you’re inside the walls, you should consider implementing a more honest hourly rate. $300 an hour is simply gouging.
Shame on Drain Rescue for not honouring their own pledge, for not being honest about pricing, for taking advantage of a client who is in an emergency plumbing situation, for not dealing with our complaints and lack of satisfaction and finally for gouging an elderly man who was at the mercy of a plumbing emergency and was ready to do anything to resolve those issues so his tenants wouldn’t be without water.
I write this letter to notify and warn any potential customers about Drain Rescue’s working principles or lack thereof. I will never use this company again and urge you to do the same. I am considering making a claim against them in Small Claims Court.