Scams can happen anywhere, anytime and with anyone. Did you know that even plumbers could be scammers? Scroll down to learn how to recognise potential plumbing scammers.
Plumbers are like doctors. If the plumber doesn’t do the job properly, you won’t have a healthy plumbing system.
Normally, a competent and responsible plumber should have no difficulty in showing his credentials such as his licence, insurance certifications, business card or other evidence to his clients. However, if plumbers hesitate or refuse to show such evidence, it can either mean that the plumber does not have a proper plumbing licence or his licence is not valid any more. Even if you desperately need a plumber, steer clear of a plumber who can’t reveal or doesn’t have an authentic plumbing licence.
“I Need Cash”
Hiring plumbers who insist on only cash payment smells like trouble to me!
If plumbers are asking for cash payments only and are refusing to provide a receipt or invoice, you must take your precautions. Sometimes, the reason for not providing a receipt might be that some plumbers try to avoid tax payments. However, some plumbers, especially unlicensed plumbers, might use this method for more unlawful reasons. It is very easy for a plumber to ask for a significant deposit even before beginning the job and then walk away with that deposit. This illegal strategy is used by many scammers and explains why the law in many countries forbids a plumber from asking for more than 10 per cent of the total cost as a deposit. It is only safe to make the full payment to a plumber after the work is completed. Some plumbers might try to extort more money from you with the excuse of buying supplies and materials. However, it is important you do not fall for their trap.
Bait and Switch
This is a popular scamming method which consists of trying to convince you that the materials bought are high-grade when only cheap and low-quality products were purchased instead. The scam artist will then pocket the difference. This trick can sometimes be hard to detect, so it’s always best to ask your plumber for a list of required parts, then shop around yourself. Genuine plumbers are usually happy with this arrangement, whereas scam artists will try to come up with excuses or suggest shopping at specific smaller hardware stores.
Nowadays, there are many ‘experts’ and ‘professionals’ disguised in plumbing uniforms. Some will claim that they have been tasked to conduct a free inspection on the behalf of the government and can have the audacity to try to enter forcefully in your house. Once inside your home, there is no guarantee that they aren’t thieves. You need to be careful as some scammers come prepared with their fake business cards.
If not door-to-door, you can also receive unusual phone calls from plumbing companies claiming to be ‘genuine’. They will try to ask you if you have any plumbing issues and will expertly ask your personal information and your bank details. Some people give in due to their harassment in the form of continuous phone calls.
Plumbing is a complex task and sometimes it is true that plumbers cannot give a precise estimate of the cost of the job before carrying out a proper inspection in person. However, plumbers who, after inspecting the situation and giving a proper estimate can still try to trick people. For example, after giving a rough estimate of the job over the phone, the plumber can try to ask for more money once the work is still ongoing. Plumbers can use this method to scam people by raising the estimates higher and higher each time.
Extra People for the Job
It can happen that you hired a plumber and his one apprentice but gradually start to see more than two people. The number of people working on the project keeps increasing till you have no idea who is who and what are they doing. This often happens when some plumbers bring their families or friends on their projects and when it is time for you to write and make the payment, you see more than the number of people you hired standing in the line.
If you live in a fine neighbourhood, have a huge house or even the latest sports car in your driveway, then you need to be very careful against plumbing scams. Plumbers will intentionally increase their hourly wages if they see that you are living a luxurious life and have money.
Have you ever faced such plumbing scams? If yes, then please share your experience with us!