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Before ragging on the practices of Rescue Rooter, let's just try and figure out who they really are.

Their invoice lists the following business names:

I called the 1-800-WE-SERVE phone number listed... they didn't now anything about the "A Abco" reference for Rescue Rooter, but suggested it was the company name of that particular franchisee. They also indicated that all these businesses were owned by ServiceMaster, and added TruGreen to the list of their businesses.

My specific experience was with Rescue Rooter of San Jose, CA.

When I initially called Rescue Rooter, I told them I needed to have my sewer drain cleaned and asked if they could tell me what the cost or rate would be. I was told that they had to send somebody out to give me a quote. I agreed to this.

After the Rescue Rooter guy showed up and he analyzed the problem, he told me that the price to clear the drain and add enzymes to deter root growth was $145, but that the "preferred" rate was $135. I indicated that I had previously had this service done for $96. He replied that he could do the job for $95, but this wouldn't include the enzyme.

I said okay, and he began to get his equipment together. Just as he was getting ready to actually begin the work, he informed me that there would not be a 90-day warranty.

It's not like I was going to stop him... besides, once the job was done, it was not very likely that the stoppage would reappear within 90 days anyway.

He worked... and worked... and worked on it. After an hour and a half or so, he told me that he'd need more money if I wanted him to keep working on it. Otherwise, the $95 was due.

I paid him, not sure what to do next.

I called back to the Rescue Rooter office to clarify whether the fees were for the job or for the time. When they told me it was for the job, I asked to speak to a manager. After telling the manager the story, he had somebody dispatched. This time, the fellow had bigger equipment and was able to resolve the problem.

The bottom line here is that the person who gave up on fixing the problem wasn't adhering to company policy. But it's in the interest of the technicians to get the job done quickly, not to get it done right (or at all), given that they're charging a fixed cost. Charging by time wouldn't really have been right, though, since the time it takes depends on the technician making sure they use the right equipment for the job. The lesson is that if you want to get what you pay for, you have to be willing to assert yourself.


Had HUGE problems with Rescue Rooter ... they preyed on my lack of plumbing knowledge to run up big bills. Lesson learned: always get a second opinion.
Flora Parker web search for Flora Parker
Called Rescue Rooter in the Portland Metro Area of Oregon We had same problem and called rescue rooter/ now we are waiting for the fourth tech to come to the house to do what the first one charged nearly $300 and did not resolve the problem. A few days later the second one came out and wrongfully charged another $104 for the guaranteed 90 days / giving a different twist to the verbage, saying the new machine would be additional dollars, but same problem/ the third one said the first two did not do the job correctly and we needed to spray all the drains and pipes for an additional $1200. but for us it would be only $950, whew!!! then the evening manager stated we need to camera out the drains to see what the real problem is// Even mentioned the possibility of sewer rats/ Oh My Lordy! The entire problem dealt with the basement drain. The servicemen are well trained to entrap you with all this jinglejangle and our latest word was it has cost many thousands to correct a backed up drain. We would agree, get a second opinion and estimates before any work is ever done, we still have the same problem we started with except the only drain cleaned out is our pocketbook of hundreds of dollars with no end in sight. Consumer Beware/ this is true and happened August 29, and today is Sept 13/ 2002. Portland, Oregon
Jan Mra web search for Jan Mra
It's been two years since our last main line clog. This time we knew that they needed to use the 100 foot snake. Rescue Rooter came out with the Spartan Sewer Raider model 1065. We had gotten a coupon off the web which gave us $20 off. They took the coupon code down when they sent someone over, so the driver knew we had the coupon. The "list" price was $155.38. Less the $20, this works out to just the same price they told us was the "preferred" price last time. Coincidence?

Anyway, they add on a $7.50 fuel surcharge, which of course is bogus. It has nothing to do with how far they had to drive, and even with gasoline prices over $1.50 a gallon, that would probably take them a lot farther than their average drive. Anyway, they've already used the gas when they show up, and since they won't give you any prices until they show up, they have to eat the fuel costs if you don't like the price.
Eli Mantel web search for Eli Mantel - 22 Nov 2003


Called Rescue Rooter in the Ventura, So.Calif area to install a garbage disposal. They wanted $150 to repipe and install the 3/4 hp disposal I had from the Home Depot, and offered to sell me an "equivalent" [which would not require repiping] off their truck for $120. Found out later the unit they sold me retails from the Home Depot for $58.29, and is a bottom of the line model that Home Depot does not even stock. They charged me a total of $332.14 for installation and material. The Home Depot installation charge is just $90 [ compare with RR's charge of $212.14] I am in the process of having Home Depot redo the job [ installing a quality dispoal which retails at $84.95] for a total of $185. RR's manager first offered to take back the disposal they had installed if I would pay $85 for the 1 1/2 hour labor [ compare again with the actual $212.14 charged] but later rescinded and offered no remedy. In California the buyer has a right to cancel within 3 days with no penalty. RR however got me to sign a form waiving this right without an explanation, and essentialy without my knowledge. The battle has jus begun. I have contacted the Credit Card Company........
Mike Purnaiya web search for Mike Purnaiya - 07 Aug 2004


Hmmmm... so to sum it up, they induced you to purchase their disposal by representing that it would reduce the cost of installation... but in fact charged $62 more for installing their disposal than they said they would charge to install the disposal you had already purchased.

For those watching, remember that you want to use a credit card ... not those dastardly debit cards, which don't give you the same protection in disputing a charge. While Rescue Rooter can sue for the charge, you'll be able to present their misrepresentation as a defense, if they decide to take you to court. Make sure you let the judge know about the Rescue Rooter Guarantee web search for Rescue Rooter Guarantee.
EliMantel web search for EliMantel - 07 Aug 2004


Sorry I did not make the repiping charge clear. This charge of $150 from their book was just for repiping and installation charges would be additional. So in this case since they charged me $212.14 [with tax] for the installation, I could have paid $362 if I had my disposal installed...

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