Right Now Plumbing, Ladell Owens Continue To Attract Complaints To BBB

BBB is alerting consumers to a new rash of complaints against Right Now Plumbing and its owner, Ladell M. Owens, who has drawn criticism from other plumbing companies he has run.
March 19, 2014

customer with unfinished plumbingSt. Louis, Mo., March 20, 2014 – St. Louis plumbing contractor Ladell M. Owens, who has left behind dozens of unhappy customers since 2005, is again receiving complaints over substandard and incomplete work, Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns.

BBB advises caution when dealing with Owens or his newest company, Right Now Plumbing.

The business has an “F” rating with BBB, the lowest possible. Records show that Owens has failed to respond to 10 complaints in the past 36 months. Customers said the work was either poorly done or never finished.

Right Now Plumbing operates out of Owens’ home at 1297 Oak Court in St. Louis.  The company’s name was first registered with the Missouri secretary of state in August 2012, showing Owens as the sole owner.  A new registration as a limited liability company was filed in December 2013.

Several of Owens’ past companies, including All Phase Plumbing and Precision Plumbing, were the subject of BBB news alerts in 2006 and 2008. In 2008, a St. Louis County plumbing official said of Owens: “He gets his money and runs.”

A St. Louis homeowner said this month she has been unable to lease a rental home for nearly a year because promised plumbing work has not been finished.

A Wellston homeowner said that water continues to leak from an upstairs bathroom into her living room after Right Now Plumbing replaced pipes in the home.

Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said Owens has become infamous for “doing whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. To continue to operate like this for nearly 10 years is incredible and inexcusable,” Corey said. “It is time for it to stop.”

A company supervisor, John Weaver, defended the work of Right Now Plumbing, refuting allegations of shoddy work.  He said company officials would discuss recent complaints with BBB and said company owners would respond soon. Despite repeated attempts to contact Owens in recent weeks, he has not responded.

The website for the company, www.rightnowplumbing.com, calls the company “the St. Louis area’s most trusted plumbing professionals. We’re prepared to stand behind our work with a guarantee of excellent service and 100 percent customer satisfaction.”

The homeowner in Wellston said she first contacted Right Now Plumbing in April 2013 after seeing an online advertisement. She said she hired the company for extensive plumbing renovation work and, to date, has paid the firm more than $30,000.

“There are leaks everywhere,” she said. She said that at one point raw sewage came into the bathtub whenever the toilet was flushed. She said workers finally came in to repair the problem, but leaks have continued.  “It’s been horrible,” she said.

A BBB investigator who visited the home found water leaks dripping from several spots in the downstairs ceiling.

The St. Louis homeowner said she had hired Right Now Plumbing last spring and has paid about $11,000 for plumbing and electrical work at a house on Hamilton Avenue.  She said most of the electrical work had been completed satisfactorily by another company, but the plumbing remains unfinished. She said that she confronted Weaver on the street in June, and he promised to meet her at the house that same day, but he never came. She estimates that she has lost $7,000 in rent because of the ongoing problems.

Another consumer told BBB she had paid Right Now Plumbing $2,000 as partial payment for work at a property in the 4500 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. She said she had to have the work redone by another firm. “It was a mess,” she said.

BBB offers the following tips to consumers looking to hire a contractor:

  • Ask at least three companies for bids based on the same requirements. Discuss the bids in detail with each contractor and ask them about variations in pricing. The lowest-priced bid may not be the best.
  • Ask about the company’s insurance. Does it carry worker’s compensation, property damage and liability insurance? Ask for proof of insurance or for the name of an insurance agent you can call to verify the coverage.
  • Ask whether the contractor is licensed for the type of work you need. Does the firm meet the bonding requirements of your town, county or state?
  • Check with local authorities to find out whether permits are needed. The contractor should be aware of any permits or inspections that may be required.
  • Ask the contractor to provide a lien waiver when the job is completed. A lien waiver is a statement that all suppliers and contractors have been paid for materials and labor. 
  • Ask for a contract and read it. Get any verbal promises in writing. Make sure the contract includes the start date and expected completion date.
  • Don’t pay the entire amount due until the work is completed and you are satisfied. Be careful if a contractor wants to be paid in full up front. In some cases, a contractor may need a down payment to cover materials. But the bulk of the money should not be due until the work is complete.
  • Research any company thoroughly before doing business. Check a BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.

Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle L. Corey, President and CEO, (314) 645-0606, mcorey@stlouisbbb.org; Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), communications@stlouisbbb.org; or Bill Smith, Investigator, (314) 584-6727, tpc1@stlouisbbb.org

About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. All BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million businesses, 11,000 Charity Reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.  Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.