Among the most highly-paid of tradesmen plying their skills to homeowners and landlords, plumbers are known for commanding the most impressive fees because of one simple fact: when you need a plumber, you need a plumber.
Taking advantage of that, some plumbers charge “whatever the traffic will bear,” and Albert Solano (46), owner and operator of an Oxnard “Dr. Drain” franchise, who also goes by “Day and Night Rooter Man,” seems to have taken the notion of price-gouging to a profound (illegal) extreme. Reports were filed in March of this year alleging that Solano had been performing drain cleaning services without first providing an estimate, after which he would draw up an invoice well above the norm for such services. When customers had the audacity to complain about being overcharged, Solano threatened to place a Mechanic’s Lien on the service address.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, “He also allegedly left projects unfinished and didn’t have a valid contractor’s license.” Among his victims were people in their 70s, Hoover reported, adding that Solano often used business names with which he was not legitimately associated.
After a three-month-plus investigation into his activities by the Contractors State License Board, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, Oxnard police served an arrest warrant on July 26th, took him into custody, and transported him to Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of elder abuse and operating without a contractor’s license.
Investigation into Solano’s activities is ongoing, and SBSD Detectives urge any additional victims to contact the Criminal Investigations Bureau at 805-681-4150.
NBC News: Man arrested for plumbing scam, using fake business names
Edhat: Oxnard Plumber Arrested