Plumber Scams and How to Avoid Them
by Ben Wanner of Pro Service Mechanical
Most plumbers are reputable and honest but like in any industry there are a few bad apples. We have put together a list of a few things to watch out for when hiring a plumber for a repair, renovation or service in the event that you hire a company that is less than honest. These tips can alarm you of possible issues with your plumber that could save you money and possibly direct you to the right plumber that will look after you with honesty and integrity. Here is a list of 4 common scams with plumbing contractors.
1. Not Receiving What You Were Charged For
It is important to check and ensure that if your plumber is charging you for high end materials then that is what you are receiving. Some people refer to this scam as “bate and switch”. Get your plumbing contractor to specify the type of materials on your written quote. You can visually verify for instance, that the contractor is using type L copper for plumbing if that is what they specified by looking at the plumbing install before things are covered up. Many materials such as PVC, PEX, PB, cell core ABS, solid wall ABS, Wirsbo, System 636, Type m/l copper etc, will have the product name on the pipe. Another good idea is to check your contractors price on fixtures at your local home improvement store. Don’t expect the pricing to be the same or less but you will get an idea if it is reasonable or not.
2. No Written Quote
It is sometimes not possible to give up front pricing for every issue or type of job, but generally a reputable plumber should be able to give you a written quote. Your quote may have certain conditions about issues that may not be visible at the time of the quote which may add cost to the project, however the lack of any upfront pricing or written quote is a red flag. A quote over the phone or verbally will often be much larger than first agreed on without a written contract.
3. Uncompetitive Pricing Disguised as a Deal
Some Plumbing Contractors will entice you with deals and specials but often you end up paying significantly more than market value for labour and materials. It may be a good idea to get a few quotes to ensure that the pricing is competitive. I do not suggest going with the cheapest quote every time and this is not the point. You get an idea of how much a few contractors would charge for this work and a sense of how they deal with customers.
4. Unqualified Contractors
Make sure your plumber is licensed and insured. Demand a journeyman plumber on site managing your plumbing project. Look for signs of trust such as “BBB Member”, “SaskEnergy Member” etc and check online reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask for customer references and call them.
For more questions or advice on plumbing or to request any of this information give us a call at 306-230-2442. Please visit our plumbing pages on our site here Plumbing Services, Water Heater Services, Plumbing Fixtures, Boiler Services