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There are lots of things that can go wrong in a house. When the plumbing goes, you've
got real trouble. I've got a leak in my garage. Jenny's got a leak in her water heater. But
it's a leak we created. It's not at all serious. Is there anything currently wrong with this
hot water heater? Not at all. There is nothing wrong with it. Mark Gablehouse is a licensed
plumber in Phoenix with over 30 years in the business. It's an excellent unit. It's 3 years
old. It's virtually a new unit. We asked Mark to create a common problem that a legitimate
plumber should be able to figure out. If you can see there is water here right now. All
he did was unscrew this nut to create a slow drip. We just loosened this nut a little so
that the water would seep out. All you'd have to do to fix it is tighten the nut. Takes
about 10 seconds. If a technician is doing his job, he's going to check these connections
as a first thing. It looks like my water heater is leaking in my garage. So will the plumbers
Jenny calls be able to diagnose the problem and fix the drip? Will it be Jenny's bank
account that gets drained? Here comes Adrian with No Worries Rooter. Hey how are you? Doing
good. Jenny. Nice to meet you. Adrian, come on in. It's electric, 50 gallons. Jenny heads
inside leaving Adrian alone in the garage. But Adrian doesn't try to diagnose or fix
the problem. Instead he walks around in circles for a while chatting on his cell phone. Apparently,
he's already made up his mind. He did no diagnosis whatsoever. Jenny, you need a new water heater.
I need a new water heater? I just called my guy. We have one in stock. It's exactly like
that. Why would a plumber call somebody about a new water heater before he's even diagnosed
the problem. Obviously he shouldn't have. Adrian asks if Jenny wants hot water, she
has no other choice. So this is a must do right now? Well it's definite. So how much
will it cost? For the water heater total, everything with installation, $760. $760?
Seven hundred and sixty dollars to replace a water heater that works just fine. It's
time for me to have a chat with Adrian. Hey how's it going? Doing good. How are you? What
have we got going on? Uh, water heater that's leaking. Can you tell me where the leak is?
I can show you. OK good. Alright....so this is a water leak here. Usually this is an indicator
that this is a leak. So once it starts leaking here.... Adrian says there's another problem.
He says the leak has caused the inside of the tank to corrode. Usually once these start
corroding, and it starts going through the water heater, it effects the cylinder. Remember,
all that really needed to be done was to tighten this nut. What would you bet me that I could
fix this in about 2 seconds. Show me. OK. So you brought me out here to fix this yourself?
No, I brought you out here to see what you'd do. Because there's something you got to know.
I'm Chris Hanson with Dateline NBC. Yes. And we're doing a story on the quality of work
of repairmen who come out to houses. You came in, you barely looked at the thing, you walked
around in circles and you called your guy, to try to get a brand new water heater. The
way that appears, that makes it look like you were trying to sell our Jenny a water
heater she didn't need without doing any diagnosis on the water heater itself. I'll be honest
with you that once a water heater goes bad in corrosion, there's no hope for it. In my
expertise I'll be honest with you, this is what I see. There's corrosion right here,
if you bring this camera down here...Of course there is no corrosion. Our expert says that
what Adrian is pointing out is just dirty water. And there's no way a plumber could
look at this and say this is corrosion down below, you need to replace this? Absolutely
not. So why wasn't Adrian able to figure out the problem? There's one possible clue. Adrian,
are you a licensed plumber? I am not. No I'm not. I lost my job with Wells Fargo, I have
a baby girl and had to start my own business. I had to rely on something I knew what to
do and that was plumbing, drain cleaning business. But the reality is, you told her something.....The
reality is, to make your story look really good is that I'm unlicensed, OK, and you want
to make this story look like I'm the criminal here when in fact I'm here just trying to
make a living. As Adrian heads to his car, he tells us he should've seen this coming.
This should've been the big indicator here...this bike. The infamous bike laying on the carport.
Why is that infamous? Because I watch your shows and every time there's some type of
setup going on there's a real crazy bike....I don't know. I'm a big fan though. We're not
sure what he means, but we appreciate the fan. These 3 plumbers are with a company called
DrainPro. We've got a leak. Is your electric turned off? No. I'm going to go turn it off.
Again, none of the servicemen seem to do anything to diagnose the problem. After chatting for
a while, this technician named Don delivers the bad news. The water heater is shot. OK,
this one cannot be fixed? No. It's leaking out of the actual tank itself. Don the plumber
says a leaking tank can be very dangerous. Once that water starts flowing like that,
it can literally explode. The pressure on the inside. Did you say explosion? Yeah, they
can explode, absolutely. Like blow up, yeah. Oh god, you're kidding? Again, all it was,
was a loose nut. That is not good. It wouldn't blow up the house, but it would literally
tear down part of the garage. If you were in there...Even worse, he says if he hadn't
been there to turn off the electricity, Jenny could've been in even more danger. Don to
the rescue. You're safe now, but you don't want to turn it back on. We also turned the
electric power off to it. You won't be electrocuted by stepping in the water and touching it.
It's completely safe now. You just need to get it replaced. Explosion? Electrocuted?
I head downstairs to speak with Don. Hey. So what just happened? What have we got going
on? What's going on is basically the tank is going to be filled up with pressure, and
the hard water deposits that we have in Arizona, start to eat through the tank. It's time for
me to let Don know he's failed to spot a simple problem. Well here's what I think. I think
that you're lying to me. I'm lying to you? Why would you think that? Because I know that
all you have to do is tighten that and the problem goes away. This thing right here?
You know how I know that? Well you tell me I guess. Something you have to know is that
I'm Chris Hanson with Dateline NBC. OK...and we're doing a story on the quality of work
done by repairmen. We had experts inspect this, and actually set up this scenario by
loosening this. OK. So what you did was come in here and try to hustle Jenny into a new
hot water heater and charge her about double the going rate for what's going here. The
water heater is also under warranty, I didn't have to tell you that but it is. But all you
had to do is look down here and see that. But what you did do, was tell her that this
water heater could explode and it could take down the garage. It could, part of the garage.
That's what I said. I didn't say it could blow up the house. That was an exaggeration.
OK well you guys can have fun here. Well why would you do that? Don't you think you give
other repairmen a bad name by doing something like that? You told her she needed something
she didn't need. She does need a new water heater. She does not. The water heater works
perfectly. Anything else you want to say? See you on the news. Coming up, an air conditioner
repairman who knows a lot about television. We have cameras all around. Oh I'm sure. I
know how that works. So what does he know about air conditioners? This is your capacitor.
It's testing bad. When Dateline continues.