Andrea Dearden Dec. 19, 2012, 2:15pm

A Mascoutah plumbing company says it was sold a defective pipeline inspection system and wants the manufacturer to honor its warranty. Friederich Services Inc. filed a lawsuit Dec. 4 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Cobra Technologies Corporation and Optical Robotics LLC. According to the complaint, Friederich Services bought a pipeline video inspection system from Cobra Technologies and Optical Robotics in December 2011. Friederich claims the system, called the Crawler, consisted of a remote-controlled robot with a video camera along with other equipment to gather and analyze information within sewer and storm drain pipes.
The plumbing company says it paid $60,000 for the equipment which included a one-year warranty that allegedly guaranteed the entire system would be free from manufacturing defects. Soon after buying the Crawler, Friederich Services alleges the robot began to break down with several malfunctions including motor and cable failures. The wheels repeatedly came off the Crawler and the Crawler continually flipped over while it was being used, the petition reads. The defendants allegedly replaced or tried to fix the various problems with the Crawler through July 2012. But, Friederich Services claims, the issues continued. The company says it has asked Cobra Technologies and Optical Robotics to honor the warranty and refund the purchase price. Friederich says the defendants have not responded and have stopped communicating with the buyer completely. Friederich Services accuses Cobra Technologies and Optical Robotics of breach of warranty, breach of contract and violating Illinois' Consumer Fraud Act. It asks for more than $600,000 in damages plus court costs. Attorney Kevin T. Hoerner, of Belleville, represents Friederich Services. St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-641

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