Learn How to Spot Signs of Plumbing Rip-Offs
When you need to call a professional plumber, you have a distinct problem that needs addressing pretty quickly. Professional plumbers have extensive training and expertise to solve your problems and most will work efficiently to do so. However, there are some plumbers that try to take advantage of homeowners and their lack of knowledge. Learn how to spot these plumbing rip-offs so you can make certain you get the care you need at an affordable price, and do not run into an unnecessary expensive plumbing bill.
1. The Old Bait and Switch
You most likely want plumbing repairs made with the highest quality materials available so you don’t have to have the same repairs made again in the near future. Plumber scammers know this fact and they may charge really high prices for the best quality materials, but they will actually switch those out and install the cheapest of all of the materials available. The best way to avoid this type of scam is to get a list of the parts in writing with your estimate so you can check the prices out for yourself online or in a local plumbing supply store. After all, you don’t want your hard-earned money just going in a scammer’s pocket.
2. The Rising Rates Scam
Some plumbing companies may need to hire extra help with subcontractors to complete your plumbing job in an acceptable amount of time, especially if your plumbing problem arose because of some type of natural disaster and there is widespread need in your area, such as a very hard freeze in an area that doesn’t often see these types of temperatures, such as Atlanta. There isn’t really a problem with a plumber hiring subcontractors to get the job done, however, some will hire family members at huge labor rates and say they can’t control this, leaving you in a huge bind when you get the final bill that is WAY more than expected. If subcontractors are hired for your job, make sure you know exactly what they are supposed to be doing and their labor rates before they begin on your plumbing.
3. The Upfront Charge
Reputable plumbers don’t charge you an upfront charge before they begin a job. If a plumber asks you for any upfront charge by cash or check, they are likely trying to rip you off. Some will ask for up to 50 percent of the total cost in advance of the job and state it’s for parts. If you give them the money upfront, chances are that you will never see them again and most probably, they won’t have any good contact information to recoup your losses. The Better Business Bureau lists this as the number one plumbing scam on homeowners.
4. The Affluence Charge
You think you’re doing good and got a quote for your plumbing over the phone, but you’ve worked hard all your life to have a nice home in a nice neighborhood and you have a certain standard of living that may be higher than the plumber that arrives at your house. Some much less than honest plumbers will see what you own and start increasing the hourly rate thinking that you are more than able to pay it. Make certain you get the rates in writing so they can’t be increased at the whim of a scammer.
5. City Plumbers
If a plumber arrives at your house out of the blue and says the city sent them to inspect your plumbing–that is a big red flag. The city doesn’t do this. Their intent may be to say you have a large problem that is very costly and needs immediate attention to get money out of your pockets or they may be scoping out your house and belongings to rob you in the near future.
6. Unlicensed Plumbers
When a plumber arrives at your home you need to see their plumbing license to make sure they are qualified to do the work that you were quoted. Before they step foot in your home, you need to see their credentials with a state license for plumbing and a business card from the company they work for. If they will not produce this documentation up front, then you should turn them away from your home.
7. The Changing Estimate
Verbal contracts and a shake of the hand are not what they were years ago and they don’t have any legal meaning whatsoever. A scamming plumber may give you a good estimate over the phone and then after doing the work, your price increases drastically. Never fall for a plumber that says they are keeping a running total of materials and labor hours in their head. If you only have a verbal estimate, you have no recourse at all and could be stuck with a huge bill in the end.
Written Estimates: Your Best Friend in the Plumbing Industry!
You can avoid some of these plumbing rip-offs by getting a written estimate with the parts and labor costs detailed out on it. The best way to go about this is to have a plumber come to your home and actually see your issue in order to give you an estimate that is accurate. If additional parts are needed, the plumber doing the work needs to add these to the written estimate and get your approval before installing them. This also goes for any other unexpected expenses that would be incurred by needing more hours of labor for your plumbing job. You have to protect yourself and your wallet from less than honest people these days.
United Installers, LLC has an A+ rating with the BBB and has been in business since 2006. We are a trustworthy plumbing service that you can contact 24/7 for all of you plumbing needs. We furnish you with free estimates and treat you like family with the lowest rates in the area. Our service area covers cities like Norcross and Alpharetta to Atlanta, Douglasville and everywhere in between. You can contact us at 770-694-6962 and have peace of mind that all of your plumbing needs will be met professionally and quickly.