My sewage line had a belly and around 10 ft section is under water.
On Feb 25th 2021, Milani Estimator D came and gave me quote $3956 plus tax. D did not do any inspection. He said Milani technician would use camera to inspect the whole pipe, then decide the section should be worked on. Later on, we both agreed to add additional $400 for inspecting, flushing drain tile pipe and vacuum the storm well.
March 03 (Wednesday), Milani Technician W came on site, inspected the whole pipe with camera, marked the section should be repaired, broke one sidewalk concrete panel and started digging. They never said that the grade of the pipe in the section was not large enough. At the first day end, when W and I were having a quick chat, he showed me that the rest of the pipe has minor problems. He asked me whether I had interest to get a quote for replacing rest of the pipe together with current project. Asking a quote won't hurt me. So I agreed to get a quote.
March 04(Thursday), Estimator D came again, did the calculation, and told me that replacing the rest of line with current project is $2929 plus tax. While he was in his car to write this quote for me, I talked with my family. Considering problem of rest of the pipe is very minor, we decided not to accept the offer. Before he finished writing the quote, I told D our decision.
Then, later that morning, before he left, D knocked on my door and handed me a new written quote of 7245.00 plus tax. I was quite surprising to me. He told me that this written quote was for replacing the rest of pipe separately in the future, which would be after current project is done and all Milani crew left. It's just for my reference if I want to do it later on. He doubled the quote just in 10 minutes in order to push us to accept the 2929+tax offer.
At the end of March 05, W told me that he cannot handle the job and Technician S would take over this job on March 10 (which would be Wednesday).
On March 10 and 11, Technician M came instead of Technician S. Without asking us, Milani sent in a vacuum truck to vacuum the soil out instead of using excavator to dig the soil out. M worked on the site for two days: digging, removing old pipe and installing new pipe. He worked very fast. Around lunch time of second day, when we heard large noise of breaking concrete, we came out to see what's going on because the project should not break any more concreate panels. Technician W already broke one panel. It turned out that Technician M already back filled the trench. He was in such a hurry that he broke another big panel. That noise we heard was his assistant trying to break the broken panel into small pieces. The extra panel was so big that will cost me $1000 to replace.
Before M left for that day, when I ask him when he can show me the new pipe with camera, M told me that he would take the coming Friday off and another technician would come and inspect the new pipe, flush drain tile pipe and vacuum the storm well.
When no technician showed up on Friday (March 12), I contacted with Milani project manager A. Very surprisingly, A said the project was already finished. He refused to send a technician to show the installed pipe with camera. He also refused to take the second broken panel away. He also refused to honor the additional contract (flush drain tile pipe and vacuum the storm well). He claimed that our storm line is clogged. It’s not safe to flush. Neither technician M or W ever told me that the storm line is unsafe for flushing. I contacted with other contractors with vacuum truck, they told me that vacuum truck can flush a clogged pipe and, at same time, vacuum the water away. It won’t cause flood. So what Milani said about unsafe for flushing was not true.
After I talked with Milani customer service many times, finally A sent worker T to take the concrete away and showed me the pipe with a camera. At the time, I found out the pipe is still fully under water.
A refused to fix the problem. He claimed that, on March 04, when Dd gave me the second quote, the technician/estimator told me the pipe would be back-graded if the whole line wasn't replaced. A’s claim is not true. No one from Milani ever told me the pipe would be back graded if I don't replace the whole line.
It makes no sense to refuse the quote if I knew that the pipe would still be fully under water. Why I spent over $4000 dollars for not solving the problem and ruining my landscape and sidewalk (another $4000 cost for me)?
I did not know how bad the grade of the new installed pipe is. Milani’s T only had a camera. He is not a technician and he did not bring a camera allocator. He can't tell me how bad the back grade is. I had to hire an independent technician (for $350+tax) to inspect the pipe again. It turned out the pipe was back graded by 5 inches.
Milani not only refused to fix the problem, but also claimed that they are fully booked and had no time to do my job. After I pushed customer service many times, Milani finally quoted me $14,245.00 for replacing the whole line, which is increased by 106% comparing with original quote(6,885.00).
I called and emailed Milani customer service asking to talk with the owners of Milani on Friday (Mar 19), but, up to now (March 25), no one contacted with me.
- Company Response
Thank you so much for sharing your recent experience with us. I am happy to say that you have spoken multiple times on the phone with Arun our drainage project manager and Nicole our Customer Service Manager regarding this situation and I would like to go over some of the key points you mentioned in your complaint to provide some insight and clarity. I can completely understand the situation from your point of view but I would like to also provide some more information from our point of view.
To start at the beginning, we were called by yourself on February 24th at 11am regarding your sewer main. The problem as explained by you was that your sewer would back up on a regular basis. The Following day on February 25th we sent over our estimator, who you have referred to as D, to your home at 9am. When D arrived, he was able to find out a bit more about your situation from yourself and go over the various options you would have. As per D, two options were discussed. The first being a full sewer line replacement from your home to the city (more expensive but a guaranteed fixed) and the second being about a 10-foot spot repair from the blockage to the city sewer, which you have referred to as “a belly” and “around [a] 10ft section” under water (the cheaper but non-guaranteed option). As per your discussions with D, you expressed more interest for the 2nd cheaper option; the spot repair. With that, D was able to write you a quote on the spot. I will type out the quotes scope of work here verbatim. The first quote is as follows:
“The Milani Group is pleased to offer the following Scope of Work:
-Remove and dispose of required concrete, replacement not included.
-Excavate and expose failed section of sewer pipe
-Replace apporx 10’ section bed with roadbase
-Backfill and dispose of excess soil
-Video inspect sewer to confirm no further issues, if further issue found, provide client quote to repair”
I can confirm the price for this scope of work was $3956 + GST. As you can see from the quote and above, the last line states that “if further issues were found, provide client quote to repair”. As per estimator D, he had discussed with you the possibility that the option you had selected may not work and may require additional work to which you agreed, as clearly stated in the original quote. Regarding the additional work for flushing your drain tile and vacuuming the storm line, which is a separate issue, you had asked for us to complete this free of charge to which Arun and offered to complete this work for an additional $400. In the end however you were never charged this additional $400 due to the fact that your storm line was completely filled with Mud and was un-able to be flushed as well as un-safe to do so as it could cause a backup into your home. We did however replace one section of the storm line completely free of charge as a gesture of goodwill. More on this later.
On March 3rd I can confirm that we sent out a crew of technicians to complete this work as quoted. The technicians got to work starting with the inspection of the sewer line to find where the blockage was underground. As you had concrete directly above your sewer line, there was no other way to dig down to your sewer line so we did indeed have to cut and break into the concrete in order to start digging; a very standard practice for this type of work and again something that was mentioned in the quote and discussed prior to the job starting – “Remove and dispose of required concrete, replacement not included”. The technicians dug down to where their camera got stuck at the blockage in order to “excavate and expose failed section of sewer pipe” as mentioned in the quote. Once they did this the technicians found that there was in fact some more major problems with your sewer line. Contrary to your comments, this was in fact a major problem, not a minor one. The main problem was that your sewer line had been completed back graded from the city to your house, which does not allow for the waste water to flow into the city sewer and therefore creates blockages in your sewer line (what your initial problem was). As this was the case, it was clear that in order to completely solve your issue it would involve a larger scope of work of replacing & regrading your whole sewer line, not just one portion. Knowing this, the technicians thought it would be in your best interest to offer you the option to replace the whole sewer line to create a permanent fix for your home to which you agreed to get an estimate.
On March 4th, as per the recommendation of Weston the technician from march 3rd, D visited your home for a second time. I can confirm that he provided you a quote to replace the sewer line from the city to so that you would have the correct grading of the pipe and therefore a permanent solution. However, I cannot attest to the first price you mentioned of $2929 + Tax. As per D’s second quote the price of this quote was always $7245 + tax. Again, this price was to replace all of the back graded pipe while the existing portion of the blockage pipe was already exposed. This is something important to note as digging 10 feet down into the ground does require significant labour hours and therefore a larger charge. Since much of the area was already exposed, the price of $7245 was a discounted price based on the fact that much of the area was exposed. As mentioned you refused this quote and we continued to complete to the work as mentioned in quote 1.
Before moving forward, I would also like to comment on your point about Milani not telling you “that the grade of the pipe in the section was not large enough”. As mentioned above, you had a major blockage in your sewer line so any point after that, we were not able to tell whether it would be back graded. Once we dug down to expose the blocked section of the pipe we were able to find out the core cause of the blockage and told you. Even in D’s original quote he included that if further issues arise (because a blockage in a sewer line can be caused from several different issues) an additional quote will be needed.
Additionally, I would like to address your point where you mentioned that we told you the back graded pipe was only a minor problem. This is in fact a major problem when it comes to sewer lines because if not properly graded, the waste water will not flow properly and continue to be backed up. I am certain that this was discussed with you from both Weston, Arun & D and is therefore the reason we told you it would be in your best interest to get another quote from D and ultimately move forward with it. Once again you refused and as such we continued to complete the work originally quoted in quote 1 with both parties knowing that it would help, but not solve your problem.
At the end of March 5th, the project was not complete so we scheduled for our team to come back several days later on March 10th. New technicians were booked as the original crew had existing commitments to other projects March 10th & 11th, not due to the fact that they were not capable of completing the job as mentioned in your series of events. Weston is a very capable and experienced technician whom we stand behind as a company.
On March 10th the technicians Matt & Sean came to site to complete the work mentioned in quote 1. Since the soil was extremely dense clay, we were not able to further dig with an excavator so we hired a Hydro vacuum truck to come dig the remainder of pipe. This was an additional charge we incurred with no extra charge to you nor did this cause any damage aside from digging into the ground. Matt and Sean worked for the additional 2 days completing everything mentioned in quote 1. Again, regarding the concrete panel, we had to break these as they were over top of the sewer line and digging down is the only way to access the underground sewer line. This was made clear from the start. On March 11th Matt & Sean completed the whole scope of work as mentioned in quote 1 and left site.
Regarding the additional work to flush, drain and vacuum the drain line, our technicians found that your storm line was so backed up & blocked that we were not able to provide a service to flush the drain tile. Furthermore, it was not safe to complete the work because if they proceeded with this work it was likely to back up and cause a flood in your home. As such the technicians Matt & Sean opted not to do this and you were never charged for this work.
Finally, Regarding the final video inspection. When discussing with Arun he told you that he was able to send a technician for a final video inspection but he was likely going to tell you what you already knew; the pipe was back graded and you would need additional work to complete & solve your issue as we quoted on the second day of the project. Although he explained this to you, you insisted for someone to come. As such we sent a technician over to camera the line. His findings were in line with Arun’s explanation. At this point you expressed your frustrations to us mentioning that you were never told about the back graded pipe and how you assumed that this quote would solve your initial problem. As seen from the explanation & our actions as outlined above we did our best to make it as clear as possible that additional work was needed to solve the problem which you had refused.
After talking with Arun and Nicole again you continued to express interest in getting this project completed. So, for a third time we got D to quote you on re-doing the complete project from square 1. This would entail excavating 10 ft down from the city connection to your home, re-grading & re-placing the sewer line & backfilling for about another 4 day job. To this you said that you would go ahead with the project if we could meet some additional demands like Vacuuming the storm well, inspecting the pipe on the city side (which we are not allowed to do), along with several other out of scope demands to which we declined.
At Milani we truly care about customer service, we provide efficient service to the highest quality and stand behind our work wholeheartedly. When we make a mistake, which I am happy to say is a rare occurrence, we put our hands up and make the situation right no matter what. We had 2 great technicians on-site at the start of the job who were able to find additional core problems with your sewer line and diagnose said further problems and another 2 great technicians at the end to complete the scope of work as mentioned. I want to be clear that everything you were initially quoted in quote 1 was completed with no additional charges to you. The possibility of additional work arising based on the initial option you selected and quotes for said additional work were presented to you clearly at the beginning and throughout each stage of the project. The choice to refuse it and therefore not solve this core problem was a decision by you. Based on my investigation we did everything right in this instance and based on the information we provided, all charges are valid and unfortunately, I cannot refund you nor add your desired additional scope to this third quote, but if you wish to go ahead with this third quote, we would be happy to complete the work. Should you have questions or concerns in the meantime please reach out to me at 604 888 8888! Warm Regards, Chris M.