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New homeowner says unlicensed plumber botched job, left a mess in the crawlspace

Matias Pizarro has an expired apprentice license
Posted at 5:02 PM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 21:37:59-04

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WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — A new homeowner said she hired a man who claimed to be a plumber, but after months of frustration and $900 she found out he didn't even have a valid license.

Lacey Gasner reached out to Contact Denver7 because she wants to warn others. She recently bought a new home and realized there was a leak when she moved in. Gasner said the seller's real estate agent hired a man named Matias Pizarro to fix it.

"It seemed like he did a good job," said Gasner. "He came right away so I had a positive experience with him.

A few months later, she discovered standing water in the crawl space and called Pizarro to see if he could come out to take a look at it.

"He gave me a quote which seemed fair based on the other prices that I was getting, and he said he could have it all done within a week," said Gasner.

Gasner said he promised to install a sump pump, but things quickly went downhill. She hired Pizarro in July and said the project dragged on for months.

"He kept making excuses about why he couldn’t come back and he needed to get different parts," said Gasner. "Over a dozen times, we scheduled a date that he was going to come and finish the job and he wouldn’t show up."

Gasner said he came back out to her home in early October and worked on the sump pump again. She said he told her everything was good when he left that day. After he was done with the job, she described hearing a loud screeching noise coming from the sump pump. When Gasner opened up the crawlspace to check it out, she said there was garbage left behind and the sump pump was not working.

"I immediately called him and texted him and said, 'Hey you need to come back. Something is not right.' And all day he kept saying he was on his way back and he never came back," said Gasner.

Contact Denver7 has learned that Pizarro does not have a valid plumber's license. According to officials with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Pizarro had an apprentice license that expired in March 2016. You can check to see if someone has professional license by using this state website.

Even with an apprentice license, Colorado law requires that person to be directly supervised by a licensed plumber.

"It gives plumbers, service people a bad name. We’re not all like that," said Vincent Stout, a licensed plumber who ended up installing a new sump pump in Gasner's crawlspace.

Contact Denver7 called Pizarro to ask why he was working without a license.

He replied, "And what does that matter? Are you the state?"

Gasner shared a post on the social media website Nextdoor where Pizarro replied to someone who was looking for a plumber. He said that he was a plumber and he's been doing it for 25 years.

"As far as me doing work without a license, I don’t work for a company, I don’t own a company," said Pizarro. "I help people on Nextdoor."

Gasner now has a functioning sump pump and water-free crawlspace thanks to Stout, with Vinny's Plumbing. When he heard what happened, he offered to donate his labor to finish the job. He said Pizarro had installed the wrong kind of sump pump and it was not hooked up correctly.

"He had the wrong pump for the application and it was piped wrong," said Stout.

A spokesperson for DORA said he is aware of a complaint regarding Pizarro.