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Plumber Calls Increase With Roto-Rooter Complaints

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(credit: CBS) Liz Collin
At 15 years old, Liz Collin made her broadcast debut covering...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – While we’re thinking turkey and shopping, it’s the plunger that symbolizes the holiday best for plumbers. That’s because Thanksgiving creates more clogs than any other day of the year.

Work for some plumbers is piling up as complaints drain business for one well-known company.

Some customers filed a class action lawsuit against Roto-Rooter last week for making what they call unnecessary repairs. Police are also investigating dozens of complaints.

There is hope the holiday season won’t bring the same stress that started in Missy Berggren’s basement this summer.

It was her son’s sixth birthday when the sewer backed up. She assumed a call to Roto-Rooter would remedy the problem.

“I suspected they’d come in do it be in and out in an hour. I figured it would be no big deal,” Berggren said.

It turned into a big deal. The plumber suspected a pipe broke and told Missy she needed a new system. She paid nearly $5,000 for crews to dig it up and do the work.

Reggie Crawford says he’s been called in after Roto-Rooter to at least 300 homes in the last 10 years.

“It’s been good for my business but it’s been bad because the homeowners don’t know who to trust,” Crawford said.

He says it’s the same situation every time an excavation is suggested when it’s not needed. Crawford said, in his opinion, they very rarely are.

“Maybe one out of every five years, if that,” Crawford said.

Since Missy went through with the repairs she was sure her problems were over.

“This last weekend, water started backing up in my pipes again and I was like you’ve got to be kidding me,” Berggren said.

Berggren can’t say for sure if she was scammed but she too is looking at legal action against Roto-Rooter.

A statement from Roto-Rooter says: “Over the course of the past 76 years as our business has ebbed and flowed, our commitment to customer satisfaction and conducting our business in a professional manner has not wavered. The Thanksgiving season is the busiest time of the year for us as we know our customers will be facing plumbing issues and clogs of all shapes and sizes. And when they call, we will be ready with the prompt, professional service.”

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