Avoid the plumber’s scam! And while you’re at it, be on your guard when hiring any tradesperson. The bottom line is, the vast majority of tradespeople are very honest, hard-working people. But it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the whole bunch. Reputation is paramount when it comes to plumbing companies. Many plumbers engage in sales techniques that may be considered unethical. Unfortunately, many of them have honed their scammy skills. So what can you do to prevent yourself from getting cheated? Take a look at this list of the most common scams used by unscrupulous plumbers, and then discover how to avoid falling victim.
Watch For Plumbers That Charge Different Prices In Different Parts Of Town
The first thing to watch out for are plumbers that have different pricing for different neighborhoods. If you’re live in what would be considered an upscale neighborhood, they’ll try and charge more for services. This type of treatment is not isolated to plumbing companies but tradespeople as well. Not long ago, a family member’s air conditioner quit cooling, and they asked me if I would meet the repairman for an estimate since they needed to be at work. The technician that showed up went through a few things and said, “You need a new air conditioner.” The estimate was $5500. He decided to wait.
Ask Your Plumbing Company If Their Pricing Is The Same For Everyone
Not long after that, our air conditioner stopped cooling, so I called the same company. This time they sent a different technician. They didn’t know I had already met with them before. Same air conditioner, different neighborhood – $7200! We live about 2 miles away from each other. We got a second opinion on both air conditioners. The cost was $185 to fix their air conditioner, and ours was $485, both of which are running smoothly right now. But it goes to show you that homeowners will be charged differently for living in different areas. Ask your plumbing company if their pricing is the same for every homeowner regardless of where you live.
Watch For The Bait And Switch
Here is a scam you’ll want to be on the lookout for; it’s called “bait and switch.” A plumber claims to be installing the top-of-the-line product, when in fact, they are actually installing a lower-quality, cheaper product but charging you top dollar. This practice is also known as a “bait and switch scam.” With the internet so accessible, we should never have a problem researching an appliance or product that you’re installing in your home.
Ask How Many People Will Be In Your Home
You contracted a plumbing company to fix your plumbing problem, but you’ve had several different people show up over the past few days, and you’re not sure what they’re up to. In some cases, there may be an apprentice involved. First, to be safe, an apprentice ought to always be supervised by a journeyman plumber who can verify their work. Second, most homeowners are uncomfortable with strangers in their homes, to begin with. Ask ahead of time how many people will be in your home at any given time. You can also ask if every person entering your home has received a sex offender or criminal background check.
Don’t Give Your Plumber Any Money Up front
Additionally, beware of plumbers working for cash-only payments. In most instances, they will not provide a receipt. And the biggest scam is when the plumber asks for 25% to 50% in advance. Plumbers cannot ask for more than 10% upfront, but that’s usually requested for large jobs or remodels. Also, most reputable plumbing companies will not ask for anything upfront. If your plumber asks for money upfront, works for cash only, and does not provide receipts, then find a different plumber.
Be On Guard And Avoid The Plumber’s Scam
If your water heater starts acting up and it’s less than eight years old without any signs of corrosion, you call for a plumber. They say you need to replace it. If you’re uncomfortable with the diagnosis, get a second opinion. The problem can be minor in many cases, and the plumber may be trying to take advantage of the situation. On the other hand, it might be your pocketbook saying that we need another opinion. Whatever the case, be on your guard and avoid the plumber’s scam.
High-Cost Services Needs A Second Opinion
For big-ticket expenses, you need to get more than one opinion. If their estimates are close, pick the company you are most comfortable with and not the cheapest. License #986152