Sewer Line Back Up

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This downstairs bathroom is where the problem first surfaced for the Garrison family.

The sewer backed up and the nightmare began. "Oh, we have just been devastated. I just want to sit down and cry," said Rose Garrison.

Rose says dishes are piling up in the sink and they can't use their toliets or showers. She says a call to Roto Rooter sent out a technician who inserted a cable down the pipe. When his cable got stuck she says the tech took off.

"All they did was call and want their money for the scope and their snake. They didn't want to help us," added Rose.

Rose says Roto Rooter explained she was responsible for the stuck cable. Reps told her to come up with $4,500 and they'd go back to work, but when the company learned the Garrisons couldn't afford it, she says that was the end of it.

That's when the Garrisons rolled up their sleeves, rented a backhoe, and began excavating.

A call to Roto Rooter's CEO brought out a manager. Scott Moore used a video camera to scope out the pipe. He told me cables sometimes get stuck in sewer lines and when that happens it's the customer who's liable not the company.

Moore says the liability is spelled out in the work order which the Garrisons signed, but the tech never gave them a copy.

I asked Moore, "So was there a breakdown in communications?" He answers, "I haven't talked to either of the other technicians involved, so I don't know the answer to that." Later, a Roto Rooter spokesman in Ohio called me and said it was the Garrisons who put a stop to the work because they couldn't pay for it.

The lesson here: if you live in an older neighborhood with mature trees it's important to hire a plumber to have the sewer lines cleaned out every year. The $150 to $220 charge will help protect against these kind of problems.

I'm now working with another company and a non-profit to try and help the Garrisons. I'll have the rest of the story Wednesday.

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