Common Plumbing Scams & How To Avoid Them
Plumbing is a very skilled profession, so anyone you are hiring to do a plumbing job should come across as possessing that skill level. That should be your first clue to someone who will likely rip you off, if they are bumbling around looking as puzzled as you when they are supposed to be explaining to you how to fix a particular issues. Luckily you do not have to just rely solely on your own judgement. Plumbers should come with qualifications, or a proven track record showing experience and ability. For example, in the UK to operate systems that use gas, they need to be registered as gas safe, like these guys. Make sure all certification is in place before even allowing a plumber to start work.
Scams to look out for.
- The old switcheroo. Often you will not be aware as to what quality level you are being supplied with by your plumber. Unscrupulous ones may try to pass off cheaper parts as being more expensive or higher quality. This means you could well end up paying the earth, only to have to re visit the work when the poor quality parts fail. You can avoid this by getting a list up front of exactly what that plumber needs to do the job and either buy it yourself, or check out the quality levels and reviews of those products online.
- Multiplying Plumbers. Often you will agree an hourly rate with a plumber, who sets to work as soon as he is asked to start the job. Before long, however you notice that there are 2 or 3 or more plumbers or tradesmen, joining them….on the same money per hour to help get the job done on time. That wont stop the job over running expected deadlines however. Often it allows the main plumbing contractor to ease up and one persons work is shared amongst the many….at multiple hourly rates!! To avoid this set in stone prior to any agreement just how long a job is expected to take, and how many people will be on board. Try to pay per job, not per hour. Make the onus on the plumber to complete the work on time ad to an agreed standard. Hourly rates encourage the less honest workers to push out as much time as they can, and if they can get away with it, invite their friends too at your expense.
- Over Pricing. Probably the most common scam is a plumber pricing on what they think they can get out of you…as opposed to what the actual job should cost. Maybe they think you have a money tree? You can easily put a stop to this by making sure you get at least 3 quotes per job, and let each party know that they are competing for the work on price and quality.
- Money Up Front Please! This type of scam involves the plumber wanting an amount up front for parts/equipment, then disappearing once funds have cleared. You will waste your life trying to track down these guys, as they will have likely done it many times before. You can avoid this issue by either buying the stuff yourself from an agreed list, or insisting that no payment will be made till the job is complete. Most genuine contractors will be able to either buy/hire the parts/equipment and then collect on payment from you, or have accounts where they can settle once they have been paid by you. Make sure any money and agreement is agreed in writing and signed for by both parties. You can at least use the courts if any kind of skulduggery ensues.
You should always be on the lookout for someone trying to pull the wool over your eyes when you are paying out money for jobs like plumbing, involving contractors you do not know. You can learn more through sites like this.