Exhausting conflict between a Buffalo woman and a plumbing company

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Some neighborhoods in Buffalo were flooded last winter, with water rushing into the basements of many homes. That includes in Sue Kovacevic’s basement.

In a pinch, she called different companies, but said no one was available. She then found DiPalma Plumbing, and workers came later that night to pump out the water during the inclement weather.

A DiPalma Plumbing owner told 7 Problem Solver Michael Schwartz that the night they went out, a problem was discovered with the basement risers and they should return. DiPalma Plumbing said Kovacevic was told that night that if she hired DiPalma for the other issues, she would not be charged for emergency services repairs.

“Oh no, they didn’t say anything like that,” Kovacevic pointed out.

Kovacevic gave them a check for $650. DiPalma Plumbing said the $650 was a deposit for future work that they both verbally agreed to.

The following week, Kovacevic said the company was supposed to release on Thursday, February 24, but said the company “forgot”. A DiPalma Plumbing owner said she called Kovacevic and told him they had to reschedule for Friday.

DiPalma Plumbing told Schwartz they went home to look at the outside drain on Friday, but noticed the ground was too frozen and told Kovacevic by phone they had to wait until it thawed.

“No one was here,” Kovacevic replied to this claim.

Kovacevic said she felt she was now inundated with apologies.

“I said ‘you might as well cancel, and I want my refund, minus the snaking of the sewers,'” Kovacevic said.

She said DiPalma Plumbing told her they would send her a check, but she never received any money. She wants at least $350 back.

A DiPalma Plumbing owner said the best the company can do is give him back $100 because the company had already purchased the supplies for the job. The company wants to do the job, but Kovacevic doesn’t want to continue with them and just wants a refund.

“‘He said, she said,’ verbal agreements don’t work,” said Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau of Upstate NY.

In this case, there was only a receipt, but nothing in writing regarding refunds or the security deposit.

McGovern said regardless of the claims, if an employment contract is in writing, it will not only protect the client, but the company as well.

“Put it in writing, make a contract and get both parties to agree to it,” McGovern explained. “Then, if there is a problem, there is this document to reference.

If you have a consumer complaint you wish to address, email Michael at [email protected]