State acts on Plumbing Rescue after 10 Investigation

12:53 AM, Mar 7, 2014   |    comments
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Clearwater, Florida-- The State is finally taking action after the 10 Investigates report on Plumbing Rescue, a company with several complaints filed with state agencies.

REPORT: Undercover sting finds problems with plumbing company

For almost a year we've been doing stories and asking government regulators when action would be taken, and finally something is happening.

We have heard complaint after complaint from people like Peggy Mister, who was charged $8,000 to unclog her toilet; Dorothy Haley, who was charged $6,000 to unclog her laundry sink and Frank Stein, who was told it would cost $8,000 to unclog his shower.

SEE ALSO: 10 News Investigators find more complaints

These are just three homeowners we've reported on who were billed thousands of dollars for jobs done by Plumbing Rescue.

"The main objective was to upsell every single job and obviously make them the most money," former Plumbing Rescue employee Roy Stacey told us. 

Stacey, who resigned from the company, is one of several former employees who told us Plumbing Rescue has a minimum quota the employees must charge. According to Stacey, "They want a thousand dollars a call."

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater launched a Department of Insurance Fraud investigation early last year, revealing multiple complaints against the company- including deceptive practices. 

Marini Scotti says she paid the company, which is now going by a new name "Home Heroes," more than $2000 to fix a clogged toilet.

But Scotti says the technicians, who were still wearing plumbing rescue uniforms, didn't fix the toilet, and won't refund her money.

She adds, "Each and every time they came out, the whole agenda was to upsell me."

We asked Scotti "Do you feel as if the state needs to start protecting people?" She strongly says "I do , I do."

However, through both the Hillsborough and the Pinellas State Attorney's office, the state has done virtually nothing to protect the consumers- despite having many cases presented  by the Department of Insurance Fraud. 

Tallahassee is finally stepping in as the Department of Business and Professional Regulations has filed several complaints against the owner of the company.

"It just seems odd to me this company can continue; I don't understand," Scotti says.

But thanks to our investigations and administrative complaints from the Department of Business and Professional Regulations, the department could ultimately pull owner Jim Myers' license, fine him $10,000 for each complaint or even close his business down.

However, Myers told me he is an honest plumber who is being targeted.

We told Myers "You're one of the few the state attorney's office is investigating; the Department of Business and Professional Standards has filed complaints; Hillsborough County has filed complaints- you put those altogether, it looks like there is a problem."

And each victim we talked to agrees- there is a problem.

"I want them out of business," says Scotti.

If you're wondering how Plumbing Rescue changed its name, it is an easy paperwork fix allowing companies getting publicity trying to change their image.

While Myers claims he has done nothing wrong, he and his attorney have met with the Pinellas State Attorney's Office regarding their criminal investigation.

Officials at their office tell10News the decision on how to proceed will be made within the next six weeks.

10 Investigates will stay on top of it. 

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