- Drain cleaning scams are focused on getting as much money from you as possible
- These companies typically target women who are alone, divorced, or widowed
- Some employees will try to plant “evidence” to try to convince you that there is an extensive damage in your line
- Some companies even ask their employees to put rocks into your pipes so that they can be assured that you will need another repair in the future
- Some scam businesses will also show you a pre-taped video of an inspection just to convince you that your pipes are in very bad condition
- There are employees who will also try to convince you to avail of high pressure jetting even if you do not actually need it
Drain cleaning scams can cost you a lot of money.
There are a lot of questionable companies in the sewer and drain cleaning business today. If you want to avoid becoming one of their victims, you need to follow these steps carefully so you won’t pay for an unnecessary service for your drain or sewers.
1. Be mindful with what they try to ask you – Some companies teach their employees to look out for people who they can easily victimize. These employees would try to make small talk or pretend to be friendly with their customers. They will ask if your husband is at home, or if you are divorced. This is because they know that they can earn a lot of money from women who are alone, from the elderly, or from the widowed.
2. Look out for whatever “evidence” they try to show you – There are companies that send employees to work on your needs in pairs. While one is trying to talk to you about your drain or sewer problems, the other one is actually spreading dirt or trying to destroy your piping even more. They might even try to force dirt up the concrete, or put dirt on specific areas so that they can convince you that the sewer pipe is broken.
An expert, on the other hand, would find it very silly. This is because drain lines can rarely have enough pressure to force water through concrete. It is also not possible for the line to have enough force to send dirt through, even if it has backpressure caused by a clog.
There are also companies that give their employees a bag of rocks that they will put into the cleanouts or the house traps. This will give them the assurance that you will have more work for them in the future. After the next stoppage, they will try to show you the rocks that they supposedly “discovered” from the line. They will then try to convince you that the pipe has been severely damaged, or that you need to have it video inspected, or jetted.
3. When given the results of a video inspection, keep your eyes open – When used properly, the video inspection and the jetting are very important tools. But when used for scams, they can actually be very costly to the victims.
The video inspection is used mainly to check for hidden septic systems, or for the assessment of buried pipes. It can also be used to determine if the pipes are due for maintenance or for repairs. Some companies can scam you by playing a pre-taped video of a pipe inspection that shows a pipe that is in a very bad condition.
If you want to be on the safe side, you can let the technician take a video of something that you can distinguish or identify in your home. You should also make sure that the camera is recording before the entire process begins.
High pressure jetting is important especially when there are grease buildups or sand, but because it is very expensive, you should make sure that you really need it. There are companies who will try very hard to convince you to have your sewer jetted even though a cheaper, electric rotating cable, can do the job just as well.
4. Stay away from liners – Liners are popular sewer cleaners. They are made from a cloth tube which has a layer of PVC on one side. It is also embedded with a two-part epoxy resin. It is usually installed by blowing it into an existing pipe.
First of all, liners are actually very expensive. As a matter of fact, they can cost as much as removing an old pipe, and installing a new one. One of the sales pitches that some companies will tell you is that they will not disturb the landscaping. While that may be true, you have to understand that you will still not be able to get a new pipe if you choose this option. You should also know that landscaping can easily go back to its original condition in less than a year.
These liners have also been banned in some cities simply because they can reduce the diameter of existing pipes. And if the pipes have been crushed or deformed, the liner will no longer be usable. Liners have also been reported to collapse or fail after a few years. This means that you will still have to get a new pipe sooner or later.
5. Get a second opinion – Before you hire a company, check its background with the Better Business Bureau or other similar organizations. If someone is trying to scare you into getting costly repairs, or if they are using high-pressure sales techniques to get you to take action without thinking, you have to pause for a while and try to get a second opinion.