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Plumbing Contractor Nightmare

I'm sending this out today:

American Home Shield ATTN: Customer Service P.O. Box 849 Carroll, IA 51401-9901

To whom this may concern,

My name is Jeff Houser, and my AHS contract number is x. On August 29th, 2005 I filled out a service request through the web interface to fix a leaky pipe in the basement. The dispatch number was x and xxx Plumbing and Heating was assigned to the job. The contractors decided that portions of a relatively large basement pipe must be replaced.

Generally I have been very happy with the service that I received through AHS; unfortunately this incident is a blemish on the record. While, in the end, they did solve the problem, I wanted to express my dissatisfaction with the overall experience. My two complaints are associated with lack of cleanup and damage done to the property.

To help discover the leak location, they had to get behind some cabinets in the kitchen, right above the leak location in the basement. Thankfully, the cabinets did not need complete removal, as removing a few panels from the back of the cabinet revealed the pipe. Unfortunately, after the pipe was fixed, they did not affix these panels to their original position; instead preferring to lean them up against the pipe. The screws and nails that had been originally used were left on the counter. I was eventually able to position then into an acceptable manner, although that was my first source of frustration with the job.

Sawing through the old pipe created a lot of pipe dust, which was left as a pile on the basement floor. While cleaning up this pile, I discovered a broken saw blade buried within. You can view the saw blade in attached Pictures 1 and 2. I’m very glad I did not knick myself on it. They should have cleaned up the mess, especially the broken saw blade.

Next I discovered a can of flammable pipe cement thrown in a lint trashcan that we use for the dryer. Generally, I do not like to keep flammable things among a pile of lint. This can is shown in pictures 3 and 4, with quit a bit of lint attached to it. Perhaps I should give them credit for attempting to throw it out. I turned around to go back upstairs only to discover more problems. It appears the contractors decided to use the underside of my stairs as a way to clean their equipment from the flammable pipe cement. This is seen in pictures 5 and 6.

But, that’s not all. The contractors did not put down any drop cloth to protect the items in the basement from their splattering cement. Instead they chose to use a cooler (picture 7 and 8), some floor tiles (picture 9) and the refrigerator (Pictures 10 and 11), which was directly below where they cut the pipe. A dehumidifier in the area also got a splash of pipe cement. In case you’re wondering, let me assure that dried pipe cement does not come out.

Coincidently the contractors were performing their service on trash day, so following procedure, we had our trashcans at the end of the driveway. You can imagine my horror when I went to collect the trashcans at the end of the day and discovered that the contractors had used them to dump some of the pipe parts, as shown in picture 12 and 13. I would have expected that the contractors would have removed the pipe joint along with the rest of the pipe. A few weeks later my lawn mower found another piece left in the grass in front of the house. (Sorry, I did not get a picture for that one).

It has appeared with this job that every time I turned around, I was finding another problem with the work that was done.

This was my second experience with x. The first one (8/5/05 Dispatch Number xx) faired no better. A non-AHS contractor was able to find, and fix, the kitchen sink leak that DeCola’s could not find.

If you want to retain me as a customer, I hope that in the future you will take more care in pre-qualifying your contractors. You can view the original digital copies of these images, along with some I didn’t print out at http://www.theteeker.com/Slideshow_display.cfm?MediaCategoryID=16 .

Sincerely

Jeff Houser

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