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Draining verbal agreement of Buffalo woman and plumbing company

Buffalo Drain
Posted at 1:00 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 13:22:32-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — This past winter some Buffalo neighborhoods experienced flooding, with water rushing into the basement 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 over later that night to pump water out during the inclement weather.

An owner of DiPalma Plumbing told 7 Problem Solver Michael Schwartz that on the night they came out, an issue was found with the risers in the basement and they would have to come back. DiPalma Plumbing said Kovacevic was told that night that if she hired DiPalma for the other issues, she wouldn't be charged for the emergency service repairs.

"Oh no, they did not say anything like that," emphasized Kovacevic.

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

The following week Kovacevic said the company was supposed to come out on Thursday February 24, but said the company "forgot." An owner of DiPalma Plumbing said she called Kovacevic and said they needed to reschedule for Friday.

DiPalma Plumbing told Schwartz that they went to the house to look at the outside drain on Friday, but noticed the ground was too frozen and told Kovacevic over the phone they had to wait until thaws out.

"No one was here," responded Kovacevic to that claim.

Kovacevic said she felt she was now being flooded with excuses.

"I said 'you might as well cancel, and I want my refund, minus snaking of the sewer,'" said Kovacevic.

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

An owner of DiPalma Plumbing said the best the company can do is give her $100 back, since the company had already purchased the supplies for the job. The company wants to do the job, but Kovacevic doesn't wish to continue with them and just wants money back.

"'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 about refunds or the security deposit.

McGovern said regardless of claims, if a contract for work is in writing that will protect not only the customer, but business too.

"Get it in writing, make a contract and have both parties agree to it," explained McGovern. "Then if there is an issue there's that document to reference.

If you have a consumer complain you want addressed, email Michael at

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