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Plumber waives $28K bill

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Frances Wood called a plumber for a clogged toilet but the $28,000 wasn't what she was expecting. (Source: 3TV) Frances Wood called a plumber for a clogged toilet but the $28,000 wasn't what she was expecting. (Source: 3TV)
Wood had apparently signed up for a loan to get her sewer line replace but she says she didn't know what she was signing. (Source: 3TV) Wood had apparently signed up for a loan to get her sewer line replace but she says she didn't know what she was signing. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

A Valley woman says her mom's house was having some plumbing problems, so she did what most of us would do, she called a plumber.

However, the bill for $28,000 was not what she was expecting.

Frances Wood is 87 years old. Her daughter Rebecca Sutton admits that while her mom still looks great, her memory is starting to fail. It's a sad reality we witnessed first-hand when we asked her who the president is.
 
"Oh gosh, I know, um, um, the president? Who's the president? I know but I just...ugh!” said Wood.

And, according to Sutton, it's her mom's failing memory that got her into a problem.

“I think they just saw an easy mark,” said Sutton . 

Sutton says it all started when her mom's house had what appeared to be a simple clogged toilet.

So, Sutton called out a licensed contractor called The Sunny Plumber to take a look at her mom's problem.

“I said, 'but please, before you do anything, let me know what the cost is going to be,'" Sutton said.

Unfortunately, Sutton says that didn't happen because when she showed up at her mom's house, The Sunny Plumber had initiated a full-blown plumbing project.

“I pulled up and I was flabbergasted,” said Sutton. 

Pictures Sutton took when she arrived showed a huge trench was dug in the yard.

And inside, the home's bathroom flooring was completely removed and workers had dug into the ground underneath.

Sutton says employees of The Sunny Plumber said her mom needed a new sewer line and the cost was right around $28,000.

Apparently, Wood was encouraged by The Sunny Plumber to take out a loan over the phone with a finance company but she says she didn’t quite know what was going on. 

“He had me sign papers and said they might give me a loan on it and I guess they did,” Wood said.

Sutton says she questioned her mom about what happened. 

“I said, ‘Why did you do that?’ And she goes, ‘Well, I was just signing saying they could do the work’. I said, ‘Well, what did it say?’ She said, ‘Well, I didn't have my glasses on,’” Sutton said.

But, exactly why did this senior citizen go through with a loan for such a large project, and without consulting her daughter or anyone for that matter. We asked Wood that question. Confused, she answered, “You know, I just don't really know.”

3 On Your Side contacted The Sunny Plumber and spoke to the owner, who expressed concern at what we told him. 

He was unaware of Wood and her plumbing project but promised to launch an internal investigation and get answers.

He did just that and within days, The Sunny Plumber canceled that phone loan for thousands of dollars that Wood took out and said Wood won't be responsible for a single dime for the work that was done.

He concluded that Wood's sewer line was broken and needed to be replaced, but said his employees could have done a better job of communicating the extent of the work with Wood and Sutton and "should have considered the magnitude of the job in relation to the modest nature of the home..."

Sutton and Wood are relieved because Wood says she can't afford to pay back a $28,000 bill.

"I mean I only get $912 a month, how am I gonna pay $27,000?" Wood asked.

The owner of this plumbing company took the matter very seriously from the beginning and he made things right.

He also issued the following statement: 

“The Sunny Plumber team always strives to do the right thing and have a positive impact on our employees, customers, industry, and community. The Sunny Plumber stands behind its work and commitments by offering a satisfaction guarantee to its customers and exceptional workmanship warranties. We go the extra mile when we become aware that a client is not satisfied.”

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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