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The Drama Is Piping Up!

, , , , , | Right | September 10, 2021

I work in a housing insurance office. I can hear a customer screaming outside while a car starts up and begins driving away quickly. One of our techs, who usually visit properties to assess claims, walks back in.

Tech: “Perfect timing. I couldn’t handle another minute with that guy.”

Me: “What’s going on?”

Tech: “The customer didn’t like what I had to say.”

Me: “Can you give me the claim number so we can get this on file?”

Tech: “Oh, sure. I almost forgot. It’s [number].”

Me: “Okay, so this is a leak in the ceiling of the dining room?”

Tech: “No, not at all. Look, this claim is gonna be denied, and I told the customer, like an idiot, and now I got nothing to show for it.”

Me: “Let’s start from the beginning.”

Tech: “So, there ain’t no leak. The customer lied to you guys to get the claim opened. When I showed up, he laughed about it like he was some kind of genius. Guy’s got a plumbing issue all right, but not like that.”

Me: “I’m listening.”

Tech: “Firstly, this house is in shambles. There’s a straight-up huge hole in this guy’s bathroom floor.”

Me: “Is it in the basement? Is that a drainage hole or something?”

Tech: “Nah, second-story. Bathroom is mostly tile. I say ‘mostly’ because he took something like a hammer to the tiles in that spot to rip them out but then started cutting with a mechanical saw, I guess.”

Me: “Why in the world would he do that to his own bathroom?”

Tech: “He said he was hearing a noise beneath the tiles and wanted to fix it.”

Me: “Is he hearing things? This guy sounds pretty crazy already.”

Tech: “Well, he was half right. I didn’t hear anything at first, but then he said to run the shower and I’d hear it. So, I turned it on and, yeah, I heard it. Whoever installed those pipes needs to lose their plumbing certification, or maybe they never had one in the first place. I’m leaning towards the latter. Pretty much those pipes were just sitting there in the floor. They’re supposed to be clipped or have some kind of support to them every couple of yards, but instead, they’re just sitting there. When you turn on the shower, they start dancing, and I can assure you that is only half the problem.”

Me: “What’s the other half?”

Tech: “They are gonna snap, and then he will have a leak in the dining room, the kitchen, and pretty much the entire first floor since it will be flooded.”

Me: “Any idea how to fix this?”

Tech: “I could install some clips as a temporary fix, but that line will need to be brought up to code, and that’s no small task.”

Me: “Can you give me a quote?”

Tech: “I don’t want the job in the first place. You couldn’t pay me to go back to that house.”

Me: “It’s just for the claim. I’m denying it, but I need a number or something.”

Tech: “So, $500 labor, another $200 in parts, and probably $100 for a second guy, and then you’d need to patch the floor and retile the bathroom. I don’t know what that would cost but it would be pretty steep.”

Me: “That’s enough for me. I’ll kill the claim.”

Tech: “Do you want to know the worst part, though?”

Me: “Go ahead.”

Tech: “He handed me an envelope when I got there for the SCF. It’s literally got $20 bucks in there. He said he’d pay me the rest after the call. I don’t think he had any intention of paying, though, since it might have been his plan to chase me off in the first place.”

Me: “You can bill for $55 for today without an auth number if that gets you the rest of the SCF.”

Tech: “Oh, it does, actually. Thanks for looking out.”

Me: “I’m gonna notate the claim so that he can’t try lying to customer service or something about you. You did this one right, don’t worry.”

Tech: “Have a good one.”

Me: “You, too.”

I tasked Customer Service to call the customer and inform them that this was not a covered claim; the pipes were not properly installed, causing failures, not to mention that moving pipes around is not normal!

The internal notes read, “Customer lied about failure to get tech to house, customer attempting to force coverage to make up for shoddy plumbing in home, customer chased tech off property.”