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.