Plumber leaves Houston woman "high and dry"

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - A Houston plumber left an elderly woman high and dry with no way to bathe in her own home. The woman's friends contacted Local 2 consumer expert Amy Davis.

Seventy-eight-year-old Marilyn Crews is no complainer. She lives alone, still cooks and takes care of herself; but for the last four weeks, she has not been able to bathe in her own home.

"He's leaving me in a mess," Crews told Davis.

The man who left the holes and shut off the water in her only bathroom is the plumber Crews hired to replace her old bathtub. After two hours of demolition, he told her he couldn't do the job.

"It surprised the heck out of me; and I said, ‘What's the problem?'" Crews told Davis. "And he said, ‘I just can't break that tub.'"

The plumber charged her $200 for his effort and suggested she call someone else with the tools to break her old cast iron tub.

"We did rehire somebody else, a major company to come in," said Crews' friend, David Garza. "They can't come in for three or four weeks, so she's just high and dry since May 8th."

We called the plumber who left the mess. He told Local 2 he has cracked cast iron tubs before, but he simply couldn't bust this one. He says he did do two hours of demolition, then opened a phone book to show Crews a few other companies who might be able to finish the work.

"I can't imagine somebody leaving somebody like that," Crews said.

For now, Crews is driving to her son's home to shower. but thinks she took a real bath on the deal.

"I mean $200 is not a lot to a lot of people," said Garza. "To somebody on a very fixed income... she lives alone, and this is a lot of money to her. This is food. This is water."

A consumer attorney told Local 2 it doesn't appear that the plumber broke any laws. Crews could be entitled to damages if she decided to take him to small claims court. For example, if it costs her to go somewhere else to bathe because he left her with no working bathtub, she could sue to get that money back.

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