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December 13, 2016
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Alabama Attorney General
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange today announced an
agreement with a Jefferson County plumbing company to compensate certain wronged
consumers and implement major reforms to its business practices. Attorney General
Strange and the Alabama Plumbers and Gasfitters Examining Board have entered into a
settlement with Plumbing 911 Inc. of Moody, and its owner and president, Tony C.
Gowins of Talladega.
The agreement settles a complaint, also filed today in Jefferson County Circuit
Court, that alleges numerous violations of the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act
and state plumbing regulations. These violations include charging consumers double
the price of estimates, performing substandard and unnecessary work, causing major
damage to property, failing to obtain required permits and licensing, and more. The
settlement compensates five consumers in the total amount of $109,044.12. The Attorney
General’s Office has already collected cashier’s checks to be distributed to consumers
upon court approval of the settlement. In addition, the State will receive $140,955 for
penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs of the investigation.
“I am extremely pleased that we were able to obtain triple damages for these
consumers, who suffered from egregious violations and wrongdoing by Plumbing 911,”
said Attorney General Strange. “Furthermore, the company is being compelled to abide
by honest and scrupulous standards going forward. This should serve as a strong
warning to others who engage in deceptive and unfair business practices.”
Plumbing 911 operates throughout the greater Birmingham area and is alleged
to have often mislead and deceived consumers. According to the complaint, “Plumbing
911 boasts of its ‘fast and reliable drain service,’ ‘knowledgeable team of experts,’ and
offers a ‘Senior Citizen Discount’ on its website and in its Yellow Pages advertisements.
It urges potential customers to ‘save yourself from a disaster with our help,’ but,
unfortunately, disaster is exactly what Plumbing 911 delivered to a number of
consumers and senior citizens who unwittingly relied on the phone book to choose a


501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
www.ago.state.al.us Page 2 of 2

“The State of Alabama Plumbers and Gas Fitters Examining Board was glad to
work with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office to bring resolution to this case,” said
Executive Director David Wilcox. “The Board remains dedicated to the people of
Alabama by striving to ensure quality work is performed by certified individuals and
honest contractors. We would like to expressly recognize Compliance Officer
Supervisor, Mr. Michael Leonhardi, and our Board’s attorney, Ms. Joy Whatley, for all
their work on this case. Each plumber or gas fitter should possess a current card issued
by the Board. The public should always feel free to contact the Board with any
questions or concerns they may have.” Consumers may contact the Board by calling

According to the complaint, “This company has frequently given no written or
oral estimate for its work unless explicitly requested by the customer, performed sub-
optimal work on the homes and businesses it services, performed unnecessary work on
homes and businesses, left homes in a dangerous condition, and charged more than
double its own estimated price for the work performed. Customers are often left to pick
up the debris, call a different plumbing company to fix Plumbing 911’s mistakes, and
spend more time and money to fix a bigger dilemma than they had originally.”
For example, one couple called the company to fix a clogged toilet and later
asked about a slow-draining shower. They were told the plumbing system in the house
had been installed improperly and that the entire drainage system would have to be
replaced. However, a previous city inspection showed the plumbing had been properly
installed when the house was built. “Plumbing 911 performed hours of unnecessary
work Ö and essentially charged $9,300 to unclog a toilet,” the complaint states. In the
process, the company unnecessarily removed several portions of the floor joists, which
compromised structural integrity and safety.
In addition to the financial compensation for involved consumers, the settlement
sets forth detailed requirements for the company to operate in a reliable and responsible
manner. This includes that the company must always provide a written estimate ahead
of time, cannot pay employers commission or bonuses that could motivate overcharging
and unnecessary work, must obtain all necessary licenses, permits and inspections of its
work, must inform consumers of exceptional charges such as after-hours fees before an
appointment is made, and cannot accept full or partial payment or collect credit card
information until a job is fully completed.
Attorney General Strange commended those involved in bringing this case to a
successful conclusion, noting in particular Assistant Attorneys General Noel Barnes and
Tina Hammonds of his Consumer Interest Division and thanked the Alabama Plumbers
and Gasfitters Examining Board.