Consumers allege Midland plumber offers poor service and bad repairs
Better Business Bureau is warning about Midland-based Gilbert’s Rapid Rooter Plumbing Service, after receiving numerous complaints about the plumber’s service.
Complaints received by BBB allege Gilbert’s Rapid Rooter does not show up when scheduled and repairs done by the plumber do not fix the problems or are not completed. Consumers also allege the business causes additional damage while performing repairs or service and does not accept responsibility for the damages. According to the complaints, when dissatisfied consumers tried to contact Gilbert’s Rapid Rooter, the business did not respond to their calls.
The Midland plumbing service, owned by Gilbert M. Hilario Jr., has responded to some of the complaints filed through BBB by offering refunds, but has recently stopped answering complaints. In addition, BBB contacted Gilbert’s Rapid Rooter about its pattern of complaints, but received no response to that letter.
Midland resident Eddie Upchurch said he called Gilbert’s Rapid Rooter when his plumbing system backed up. He said he needed someone immediately, and was impressed by the guarantee Gilbert’s advertised in the phone book. In addition, he said the company offered a senior citizen discount.
The plumber came out to Upchurch’s house and said he would have to root out the entire system. However, since the call came after normal business hours, he told Upchurch the senior discount did not apply.
“He commented that his work was guaranteed only if he rooted it out through the sewer line itself,” Upchurch said, adding that the entire visit took no more than an hour. “He charged me $300.”
Upchurch said he was unhappy with the cost, but was relieved to know that Gilbert’s Rapid Rooter guaranteed the work for 30 days. That relief turned to frustration three weeks later, when the plumbing system backed up again. Upchurch said Gilbert’s would not return his phone calls.
“Bottom line is, I spent all night with raw sewage in my shower,” he said.
The next morning, Upchurch called another plumber to fix the situation. When he did finally reach someone at Gilbert’s Rapid Rooter, he said the company seemed unconcerned.
“I said, ‘It’s been almost 24 hours since I called you with what I consider an emergency situation,’” Upchurch said. “He just kind of chuckled about it and said, ‘Well what do you want me to do?’”
Upchurch asked for a refund and was refused. It was the last communication he had with Gilbert’s Rapid Rooter. The plumber did not answer the complaint Upchurch filed with BBB.
When choosing a plumber or plumbing contractor, BBB advises you to:
- Do your research. View the company’s BBB Business Review to see its accreditation status, the length of time the company has been in business, its complaint resolution efforts and any past advertising concerns. Also check complaints with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiner’s Enforcement Division by calling 800-845-6584, ext. 65249.
- Check licensing and insurance. Ask for the Responsible Master Plumber’s name and license number. Master Plumber license numbers begin with the letter “M”. License numbers which begin with “A”, “T”, “J” or any other letter are not Master Plumber license numbers. You can verify the license and insurance status at the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiner’s website.
- Shop around. Ask several companies for estimates. Determine whether you will be billed hourly or a flat rate for the job, exactly what work will be performed, how the plumber will contact you if further work is needed and acceptable payment methods.
- Read the fine print. Get everything in writing and read the contract thoroughly before signing. Make sure the total price, all verbal promises and guarantees are included. If there is a guarantee, find out how to contact the plumber about the guaranteed work and how he will rectify the situation should a problem arise.
- Get a reference. Ask the plumber for the names and contact information of previous clients and verify those references. Though a plumber is unlikely to put you in contact with unhappy customers, refusal to provide any references is a red flag.