Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Roots of the Problem
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Neither Shelley nor I felt right about spending $3,600 to get our pipes fixed without having a second opinion as to both its necessity and cost. Accordingly, we had Roto Rooter come out and put down a camera.

They found the trouble - quite clearly - at exactly the same spot. It was roots. Lots of roots.

They put a six-inch root cutter blade on the end of their snake and had a go, which resulted in a much cleaner pipe after an hour's worth of work. And we have a VHS tape of the problem and the afterwards just in case we need to show it to anyone (maybe I'll post a still image of it here for you to see).

And much nicer, of course, is that today's operation cost only $334 and that includes a year's supply of some root inhibitor to put down the toilet periodically. $334 is a *lot* less than $3,600!

The moral of the story: get a second opinion.

We high-fived each other after the guy left. What a relief.

So now I have to deal with the Rescue Rooter people and get our contract cancelled. The state of CA gives us three business days to do this without penalty so it should not be a problem. I will also attempt to avoid any charges at all as a result of yesterday's visit because obviously they did not do a good job determining the problem and taking care of it.

They did not even try a big root cutter blade so it's no wonder they didn't get it clean the first time -- apparently their standard little snake head made a hole through the roots that lasted a month, but that was it. I also have to ensure they don't cash our contract deposit check. I can cancel it from the bank's web site if necessary.

In the end I'm not convinced they tried to gouge us price-wise because the guy today told us the city permit was over $1000 by itself. However, they may not have done all they could to determine whether we really needed them to dig in and replace the pipe rather than just fix it like Roto Rooter. In the other hand, they could not see the blockage although they could have waited for it to drain like we did today.

I sure do get nervous, though, when companies start offering limited time discounts and then without asking offer a big chunk off because of "competition." I also get nervous when Googling on the company name and "Rescue Rooter opinions" and find a number of articles about them showing fraudulent sewer camera tapes to people in order to get them to pay for pipe replacement.

The final score...

Rescue Rooter: 0
Roto Rooter: 1

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