Flat Rate Plumbing Accused Of Fraud, Faces Lawsuit
Flat Rate Plumbing of New Berlin, Wisconsin is facing a lawsuit based on accusations that it has been deceiving customers and damaging property in order to trick its customers into paying for otherwise unnecessary work.
A news release by the local attorney general’s office announced, “Flat Rate’s technicians have falsely told homeowners that equipment could not be repaired and had to be replaced, that clogged pipes could not be cleared and had to be replaced, and that houses could not be sold unless pipes were upgraded, among other false statements.” The release states further that, “Flat Rate’s technicians sometimes have intentionally damaged homeowner’s pipes or other plumbing equipment, without consent, in order to pressure the homeowners to agree to proposed services.”
A Milwaukee law firm representing Flat Rate Plumbing claims that the company has cooperated fully with the state’s investigations for the past three years and issued a statement on behalf of Flat Rate, “Despite such open cooperation, the state has filed a complaint devoid of facts which makes broad allegations of wrongdoing with no identifiable evidence to support its claims.”
Flat Rate Plumbing appeals to customers by offering clear and honest flat rates without any surprises about their prices for work. However, a lot of Flat Rate Plumbing customers experienced more than just small cost surprises. In 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote about a man named Terence McCaigue who had a backed up toilet and called Flat Rate Plumbing for assistance. Flat Rate Plumbing convinced him that it was necessary to replace the bathroom sink, its plumbing, the kitchen sink and all of its plumbing, the kitchen faucet, the water heater, some outside faucets and all of the upstairs bathroom fixtures. Flat Rate financed the job for him, which ended up costing the homeowner $13,698.
Since May of 2008, 20 customers have officially filed complaints with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and a total of 54 customers have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Fox 6’s Contact 6 program has been following Flat Rate Plumbing for years and used hidden cameras to capture dishonest business practices red handed. The lawsuit filed against Flat Rate Plumbing seeks to regain funds that were illegally taken by Flat Rate Plumbing from customers via dishonest business practices and hopes to put an end to fraudulence like this for future customers.
If you think you’ve been a victim of Flat Rate Plumbing Inc., you can contact the Department of Justice at 608-266-8063.