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Avoid a Drain Cleaning Scam

drain cleaning
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Drain cleaning is a task that should be done fairly regularly in order to prevent a lot of work later. Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that companies or individuals will try and take their customers ‘for a ride’ – that is, scam them into thinking their drain problem is worse than it actually is, or even that a problem exists at all. Follow these helpful tips to avoid being scammed by drain cleaning companies.

Be aware of the questions the serviceman asks you

Some companies train their employees to spot susceptible customers, especially people who are widowed or single, or the elderly. Watch out for questions probing these sorts of personal matters, such as ‘Is your husband at home?’ or ‘Are you the only person living in this house?’. These sorts of preliminary questions are used by the employee to determine if the customer could be their next scam victim.

Don’t let the serviceman out of your sight

Dishonest employees have learned convincing techniques to ‘prove’ to the homeowner that their drain has problems more serious than they might actually be. Watch out for employees in pairs: one might be dealing with you, the customer, while the other goes downstairs and spreads dirt on the sewer pipe which they will later point out as an indication of a damaged drain. Another crafty trick to scam homeowners is to put rocks in pipe clean-outs to ensure a stoppage in the line in the near future. After several stoppages, the serviceman will ‘discover’ these rocks and remove them from the pipes, leading the homeowner to believe that the pipes need inspection. If the employee remains with you for the duration of the home visit, he will not be able to perform any deceiving tricks.

Watch out for false video inspections

Sometimes the serviceman will want to inspect the sewer pipes by means of inserting a video camera, which can be a useful tool to determine the condition of the drains, if used correctly. However, you need to ensure that when viewing the footage, you are not watching a pre-recorded video of a pipe in a terrible condition that is not yours. To prevent against this corrupt technique, ask the technician to video tape something near the sewer clean-out that is recognizably a part of your house. If he can do so, this will reassure you that the camera is in fact recording what it sees in your pipes, and not a video rerun.

Be informed about liners

A liner is a cloth tube covered with a layer of PVC that is inserted into old pipes and acts as a new structural pipe within the old pipe. Liners are a popular product for drain cleaners to sell nowadays because they prevent the homeowner from having to completely replace the damaged pipes, which can be costly. However, they come with several problems of their own. They are almost as expensive as replacing old pipes. Supposedly, their biggest advantage is that you don’t have to disturb the landscaping when excavating to install new pipes. While this is true, you still are not getting a new pipe by inserting the liner, and generally the landscaping will return to its initial condition in under a year. The second issue with liners is that they reduce the inner diameter of the pipe and will only fit correctly into the drain if the pipe in question is still round in shape.

Research the drain cleaning company

Always do a background check on the company you will be employing to inspect your pipes. If the serviceman is emphasizing costly problems that your pipes supposedly have, it is advisable to get a second opinion. If in doubt, call in a second or even third company to do an inspection, and then compare the feedback and costs.

Call Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric today for a trustworthy and reliable home inspection! Let our technicians take care of your drain pipes with honesty and professionalism.


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