Roto-Rooter Drains $200 From My Bank Account For 3-Minute Visit

Rochelle warns you not to call for repairs without confirming contractors’ rates. She attained this hindsight after a 3-minute visit by Roto-Rooter cost her $300.

She writes:

I mistakenly called upon Roto-Rooter to attend to a cut pipe without finding out the charges in advance. My contractor, who was on site at the time of the plumber’s visit, assured me they were in attendance no longer than 3 minutes – they pulled up to the rear yard, entered the premises with the cap for the pipe, installed it and left.

The cost of this visit is over $200 – $179 ‘call out’ plus tax. I called and complained. The Roto Rooter representative (Jeff) said their ‘call out’ charge is the industry standard, their service people of the highest caliber, etc, etc. I called around to three different plumbing companies and was given a range of ‘call out’ charges running from $89, $90, to $142. The Roto-Rooter representative suggested that I should have inquired about the price prior to using their service. I agree, I should have checked first. However, I was under some stress, had a cut pipe and a need to get to an appointment. Also, it has been my experience that service companies usually let me know right away, over the phone the charges that I can expect to pay. I anticipated a bill of $50-$60. $200 for three minutes work is outrageous – that works out to $4,000/hour. It also makes me wonder if the next person on the list for service is going to be charged the ‘call out’ charge for the same hour I’ve been billed.

What’s the most unfair you’ve ever been treated by a service technician who made a brief visit?