The 4 Most common Plumbing Scams and How to Avoid Them

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Blog Highlights:

  • Some plumbers will also give you a higher rate whenever they see that you belong to a wealthy neighborhood or as soon as they see expensive things in your home
  • You should make sure that the products that they install behind the wall is exactly the one that you paid for
  • There are plumbers who will try to convince you into buying expensive materials, but they will actually install cheap alternatives into your home
  • There are a lot of plumbers who will promise to give you fast and inexpensive services but will actually try to scam you
  • You should ask the contractor to provide you with a list of materials so you will be able to compare their prices with the ones that the hardware will provide
  • You should also be wary of contractors who will try to subcontract the tasks to other groups so that they can charge you more per hour
  • Some estimators will also try to start working on your needs even though you have not seen a written estimate yet so that they can overcharge you later

Here are some of the most common plumbing scams that you need to watch out for and avoid.

Plumbing is a very complicated task, we all know that not everyone can do it and that it requires a lot of knowledge and precision. There are also a lot of people offering “professional” plumbing services both online and on the phone books. Many of them say that they can give you fast results for less.

Unfortunately, most of these people are just actually trying to scam you. This is why you need to read on and find out more about them.

The Materials

Plumbing materials like high quality, copper tubing or cross-linked polyethylene piping can be very expensive, but most homeowners are willing to pay it for as long as it can help keep the home’s plumbing in excellent condition for years. The scam however, involves plumbers charging you a lot of money and promising to use the high quality materials, but actually using cheap alternatives.

You can avoid it simply by first asking the list of all the parts that your contractor plans on using. You can then take the list to your local hardware or home-improvement store so you can compare your contractor’s prices with the actual price at the store. You can also check the actual materials yourself. If you see that the contractor is overpricing, talk to the contractor about it and find another service provider.

Another way to deal with this scam is to personally see the materials that is being used. Make sure that the invoice matches with exactly what you can see behind the walls. Make sure that you do this inspection before and after installation.

The hourly pay

This scam involves the contractor trying to get more money from you by charging you more money through hourly rates. Some contractors will try to hire more workers as apprentices, or they may even try to subcontract parts of the job that they can actually finish themselves to their friends or family. They will then claim that they only have control over their own hourly rates.

If you notice that more and more people are working on your home’s plumbing, you need to ask the contractor why this or that person is needed. If you suspect that they are trying to scam you, order everyone to stop the work and try to check if you are not being charged extra from unnecessary labor.

A different rate for the wealthy

Some contractors will try to overcharge you especially when they find out that you live in an affluent neighborhood. You need to remember that plumbers can charge any rate that you are willing to pay, this is why if they see that you have nice cars, a bathtub, and expensive flat screen TVs in your home, they might assume that you have a lot of money. These contractors will then think that you will agree to their rates even though they will charge you with something that is 50-100% higher than the usual.

The best way to avoid this scam is to have at least three different plumbers check the problem and provide you with estimates for labor and materials. This will allow you to pick one that can provide you with realistic rates and it will also help you find out the one who tries to scam you.

The smooth-talking estimator

There are contractors who will try to smooth-talk you into a scam. These are estimators that keep reassuring you that everything is fine by saying “no problem” and also by saying that he is keeping a “running total” in his mind as he goes through the different plumbing problems in your house. As soon as you ask for the estimate, he will simply say that he needs to itemize everything and that he will get back to you as soon as he can. He will then call you afterwards to give you a fairly-priced estimate – without any paperwork.

He will then let you know how eager he is to work on your needs, this is why you might decide to let him start working even though there is no official estimate. And when the work is finally done, you will be surprised to see that he actually billed you three times more than what you initially agreed on.

The best way to deal with this scam is to make sure that you have the quote in writing. You should have a signed contract that specifies exactly how much will be paid and when it should be paid. This will allow you to have a fighting chance in civil court just in case something unexpected happens.

Identifying a scam

One of the best way for you to avoid a scam is by hiring a reputable professional. You can do this by asking questions simply because if the contractor is sincere about doing business with you, he or she will not mind answering. The contractor should also be able to produce his or her business registration when asked.

A lot of homeowners are victimized simply because they prefer to be polite instead of being on point. You need to keep in mind that it is your house and that it is your hard earned money. If the contractor will get offended by your demands for quality or by your complaints when it comes to the pricing, then you should point out your rights s

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