From a legal standpoint, with contract law in mind, could you please tell me what you can surmise from reading about the highlights of the situation below:
1. A homeowner and her daughter contacted a plumbing company for the first time to address a second sewage backup in the basement.
2. Plumbing company employee claimed to the homeowner and her daughter that the problem couldn't be solved with current drain cleaning equipment. Plumbing company employee offered to the homeowner and her daughter to have his buddy come inspect the sewer line the following day as a courtesy, telling the homeowner and her daughter that he would deny it if they told anyone. *purchased a customer protection plan with "preferred pricing." worried about sewer line.*
Wouldn't the daughter be party to at least this contract? She was acting as a representative of her mother at her Mother's request. She signed her Mother's name and paid with credit cards that she is an authorized user on. She doesn't even understand the process as well as the daughter does as the daughter has been explaining contractor speak since October 2010 shortly after her father died. Daughter was babysitting them almost the entire time.
1. Plumbing company employee called the homeowner to tell her what time they would arrive.
2. Homeowner's daughter met them at the house because the homeowner could not physically be there.
3. Plumbing company employee from previous evening arrived with buddy who, coincidentally, worked at the same plumbing company.
4. Plumbing company employees set the camera up and the homeowner's daughter left them to inspect the sewer line, which was only inspected.
5. It didn't take long after they set up the camera for the plumbing employees to inspect the sewer line and report to the homeowner's daughter that the only way to stop sewage from backing up was to replace the sewer line to the tune of $10,000.
6. Homeowner's daughter requested to see what the problem was in the sewer line, with the plumbing company employee pointing to the tiny screen and telling her that was a clogged artery (considering that all the line had in it was solidified grease it makes sense now, but it didn't then).
7. Since it looked bad to the homeowner's daughter and the plumbing company employees were supposed to be professionals that would know how to prevent the sewer from continuing to backup, she believed what they told her at that time and conveyed what the plumbing company employees told her to the homeowner which was that they needed to replace their entire sewer line. The information the homeowner used to giver he consent was based on the information provided to the homeowner's daughter by the plumbing company employees. At no time, when the homeowner's daughter was on the phone with the homeowner, did the plumbing company employees inform the homeowner that her daughter would have to sign emergency forms that would forfeit the homeowner's rights under the FTC nor was the homeowner told specifically that only a small part of her sewer line was being replaced for $10,000.
8. After the homeowner's daughter hung up with the homeowner, the paperwork for the sewer line replacement began.
9. While filling out all of the paperwork, the daughter kept directing questions to the plumbing company employees about having to give up rights. The plumbing company employees kept telling her that if those forms weren't signed, then they wouldn't do the work; thus, she felt she had no choice and proceeded. Also, while the plumbing company employee who was filling out the form, the daughter kept asking him if he was writing everything they talked about down.
10. After the paperwork was all filled out, what the plumbing employees verbally told the daughter and the Mother were different on the contract. Instead of the entire sewer line being replaced, only a portion of it was. After discovering that in the paperwork, the daughter asked the employee what that meant and to show her where that was.
11. Since everything was signed and it was being reviewed, the daughter and the plumbing company employees went to the backyard where they proceeded to dig a "relief hole" with shovels, which wasn't necessary because it sewage was no longer in the basement due to not using it and it was blocked between the floor drain and the housetop, and reran the video inspection again…This time, recording their name and address. (Isn't that odd?)
12. Before the employees left, they called into the company to schedule the crew.
13. The homeowner's daughter got a weird vibe and researched the new home's township's website to find out what the procedure was. What do you know, the homeowner was supposed to call the township first!
*The invoice was NEVER itemized. It looks like the price of $10,000 was just extracted from their anus.*
1. Homeowner and her daughter inform the plumbing company employee, who showed up before the crew, that they were supposed to call the township first (aka sewage authority); yet, the plumbing company employee told the homeowner and her daughter that they were wrong and that we were supposed to call them first. So, the plumbing company employee presented himself in a position of authority over the local government. The plumbing company employee also told the homeowner and her daughter that the contract was signed and they had their money so they might as well have the work done because they can't get out of the contract.
2. Work commenced.
3. During the day, the homeowner and her daughter figured that it couldn't cost much more to throw a toilet in the basement since they had it ripped apart and were putting in new drain lines anyway in that section. Another plumbing company employee directed the homeowner and her daughter to contact the employee that did the camera inspection to inquire about that.
1. First day a hydrojetting truck showed up.
2. Camera inspection employee from day 2 eventually showed up. There were more claimed problems as he claimed he couldn't get past another point further down the yard (AKA grease clogs). He tried to convince the homeowner and her daughter that more of the sewer line needed replaced. More informed about sewer lines, the homeowner's daughter said no, what are some other options because the sewer line looked like it was in a lot better condition that the previous video she had seen. After hearing the options, a pipeburst procedure was chosen, even though that was not the procedure that was written down.
3. Since the daughter had never seen the price book, she asked the employee to go get it (rather than sneak out to his van to write it up) because she wanted to be sure that her Mother was getting the membership pricing she paid for.
4. The employee offered to put the toilet in at no charge and even wrote it on the contract; however, when the daughter asked why the membership price wasn't written on the invoice, he told her that he couldn't give the membership pricing, which was a $400 difference, because he was offering to install a toilet at no charge.
5. This contract was to end 2' shy of the main sewer line, but it ends well before that.
Let me just summarize it from here. After the work was completed, even through all the fraud and breech of contract that should be evident in the above content, the sewer continued to back up from 12-30-2011 through 1-23-2012. From 12-30-2011 through 1-6-2012, the plumbing company came out twice with their hydrojetting truck and failed to clear the line, with the second hydrojetting truck employee asking the sewage authority that was called if they could replace the tap (that is where they were supposed to come to, but didn't) and they told the employee no. Concluded the plumbing company was incompetent and called on the township sewage authority. They came one or two more times and scheduled a time to come back and clean the line with the camera. A letter was sent to the plumbing company telling them of the situation and hours before the sewage authority was scheduled to arrive, camera guy showed up to, get this, tell us the only way to prevent sewage from backing up into the basement…A backflow preventer! My Mother (and I) were furious because they never solved the issue that they took tens of thousands of dollars for! She told him, what for another $10,000?!?!? …To which he replied, "No. $5,000." My Mother told him to get off of her property and I went to be sure he touched nothing and left. He was walking around talking on the cell phone for like 5 minutes or so before he left. Hours later, the sewage authority came, did their thing, and not a problem since then after removing grease from our lateral line.
Based on the above situation, the Plaintiffs claim that I was not party to the contract. Not the first invoice and not the third invoice, but the second invoice that was created during that time period….I signed it and was responsible for providing information to homeowner, so how could they continue to state I wasn't a party?
Seriously, I would rather go to jail for forgery and take two employees with me for being a witness to the process - allowing me to sign my mother's name and then promptly accepting payment. To top it off, those employees have criminal dockets on file as well.
Thoughts from a legal standpoint? :-)
Thank you very much.