Tips For Avoiding Plumber Fraud

plumber fixesNow even if you live in a brand new home chances are that you’ll need the services of a plumber at least once a year. Many plumbers specialize in more than just common repairs like clogged drains and leaking pipes, they can even handle cooling and heating systems. There are also some plumbing companies that specialize in natural gas lines and fire suppression mechanisms.

Even though it’s not hard to find a reputable plumbing service in Australia the fact is that you never know when you’re going to be ripped off. There are many sub-standard plumbers that pool a lot of money into advertising, something that they plan on recovering from their clients by employing shady practices. This is why it pays to know a little bit about the tricks that these shady plumbers use to con unsuspecting clients.

Con no. 1: Incorrect estimates

This is one of the most common method employed by plumbers to get more money out of prospective clients. Plumbers will try to convince potential customers that a low quote by competing companies are not a true reflection of what the work will involve and that they will end up with bad plumbing. Then there are also plumbers that quote the lowest prices in town but charge twice as much for what they label as “additional work”.

Solution: Unless there is an emergency situation it pays to take your time and collect many quotes as well as ensure that the scope of the service you’re being quoted is outlined properly. This will help make comparisons much easier. If there is something you’re not clear about in a quote always ask for a clarification in writing and ask plumbers why they are quoting a higher than usual price or a lower than usual price. In most cases quotes on either extreme end is inaccurate.

Con no. 2: Adding extra workers to the job

Another shady trick practiced by many plumbers is that they send in two more plumbers to work on a job when all it needs is just one. This is fine if a plumber has an apprentice working with him but then you shouldn’t have to pay extra for the job just because there is one extra hand onboard.

There are some plumbers that start off by offering an extremely low hourly quote which fools people into thinking that they are getting a bargain but these customers end up paying more in the long term, more than what they would have to pay a reputed plumber.

Solution: The best solution is to be clear on how many plumbers will be working on the job and if you will be charged extra for it. If there are apprentices they have to be supervised by a plumber who is licensed. Jobs like having a faucet or sink replaced is a job just for one plumber so if you see another one coming in simply stop them there.

plumber drains

Con no. 3: Expensive purchases

There are many plumbers who sway customers into buying expensive products and overcharge them for parts, they will also use substandard materials to do the job but charge twice as much. Many plumbers will also switch out the high quality materials in your home for lower grade materials this quadruples their profit margins but you’ll never know what happened.

Solution: The best thing to do here is to get a list of all the materials that your plumber needs and will use for the job. This way you can hold them accountable for any future problems that may develop. Visit local plumbing stores to compare prices of the materials being sold. You can buy most cheap plumbing supplies like O-rings, gaskets and washers at most stores so there is no need to pay top dollar for them. Stay away from a plumber who charges you more than 10% of markup on material costs.

Con no. 4: Paying high for the initial hour

In most cases the standard hourly visit end up being pretty expensive despite it sometimes being a 10 minute job.

Solution: Even though you cannot blame plumbers for charging you a minimum hour to cover his travel and costs you should take advantage of the full hour you’re paying for by having him fix other issues. As Plumbing suggest that people ask plumbers to perform tasks like fix O-rings, gaskets and washers or even tighten the stems of faucets.


Mark is a plumbing industry veteran with over two decades in the field. He has worked on both large projects as well as minor repair jobs. In addition to running his own plumbing business based in Sydney he also frequently updates his blog with how-to’s and tips for regular people.