Class action lawsuit claims Roto-Rooter bills customers for unnecessary work

Consumers say plumbing company falsely assessed repairs, overcharged for services

Roto-Rooter is under scrutiny for allegedly deceiving customers into paying for unnecessary repairs. Three Minneapolis consumers slapped the plumbing service company with a class action lawsuit Monday.

Plaintiffs Dawn Mills and LuAnn and Michael Cosgrove claim Roto-Rooter violated state “truth-in-repair” laws and pressured them into overpaying for repairs. According to the lawsuit, Mills called the company last December after her sewer backed up and was told she had to pay $8,750 to repair a broken pipeline.

However, a city inspector later assessed the problem and told Mills she had overpaid, as there was no indication the pipe had been broken.

“They took advantage at my being at a disadvantage,” Mills said in an interview.

Similarly, the Cosgroves were charged $5,235 for repairs that a city inspector later said weren’t needed. LuAnn Cosgrove says in the suit that she wanted to wait to repair the plumbing in her home, but when Roto-Rooter said her basement could flood with sewage, she agreed to the repair.

The Minneapolis Police Department is also handling a city investigation after receiving numerous consumer complaints against Roto-Rooter over the past year. The police searched the company’s Plymouth, Minn., offices and obtained customer files and DVDs of drain lines.

Roto-Rooter released a statement saying it does not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit is seeking class action status as well as unspecified damages.

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