Plumbing Scams and Three Easy Ways to Spot and Avoid Them

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Plumbing is a complex skill that requires extensive training and expertise, and it’s always best to leave it to professionals. Most of these professionals will go out of their way to fix problems with your pipes quickly and efficiently while saving you money, but there are always those few plumbers who are in the business of taking advantage of people and their lack of plumbing knowledge. Fortunately, many of the scams that these so-called professionals run are easy to spot and avoid if you know what to look for. Here are a few common plumbing scams and how to avoid them.

1. Overcharging for Cheap Materials

High-quality plumbing materials are expensive, but most homeowners will spare no expense when it comes to keeping their pipes in good condition. Plumbing scammers realize this, and they will charge outrageous prices for the highest quality materials while replacing them with cheaper alternatives. To avoid this scam, ask for a list of parts that your plumber is planning to use and take it to a local hardware store. This should allow you to find out how much the materials really cost.

2. Hiring “Extra Help”

While there is nothing wrong with subcontracting work during a large plumbing job, unscrupulous contractors will have several people (usually friends or family) perform duties that could easily have been done by one person. This allows them to increase their profits while claiming that they have no control over anybody else’s hourly rate.

If you hire a plumber who needs extra workers, make sure that you know exactly what those workers are supposed to be doing. If you don’t know what everybody is doing, pull the plug on the job.

3. Marking up Prices

If your home is located in a wealthy neighborhood, you could be overcharged for a seemingly simple plumbing issue. Many plumbers don’t have a fixed hourly rate, and some will raise their rates by as much as 50 or even 100 percent if they suspect that you have deep pockets. If you suspect that this is happening to you, be sure to get estimates from other plumbers to make sure that you are being charged a fair price for the job.

Generally speaking, most plumbers that you will find will be honest, but there are always exceptions. Before you consider hiring a plumber for a job, make sure you do your research to make sure that they are on the level. Seek out customer reviews online, get recommendations from people you know and make sure you ask a lot of questions. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to end a job if you feel that you are being scammed.

By Nick Wert