Written By Elisha French
Certified Master Plumber in the State Of Texas
Owner of https://friscotxplumbers.com
If there’s an opportunity or a profession that features a lot of money being made, you can be certain there are going to be unscrupulous individuals looking for ways to take advantage of the situation.
The plumbing industry is a good example of this. It’s one of the leading service industries in the United States, filled with mostly honest, hard-working people trying to make a living for their families.
But there are certainly some bad apples as well, people who should be avoided at all costs. They can be difficult at times to weed out, but reading online reviews and checking with the local chamber of commerce before making a hiring decision can certainly help.
There are many scams that these individuals attempt to run, and some show up over and over again. So be on the lookout for some of the more popular ones, so you can avoid becoming a victim yourself.
The Materials Switch Scam
As the name suggests, this scam involves a plumber billing you for a high-end product and then replacing that product with one that’s inferior in quality and not likely to last as long.
To beat this scam, you really need to be on-site when the work is being performed. If the work has already been completed, there’s not a whole lot you can do other that filing a complaint and/or writing a negative review of the company.
One way to stay on top of things is to ask to see the part just before the plumber installs it. Check it over and make sure that you’re getting what you paid for.
If you haven’t received an invoice, or don’t yet know what you’re going to be charged for, ask to see the parts anyway and make a note of what’s being installed. If the invoice doesn’t match your notes, call the plumber on it.
The Extra Workers Scam
If you hire a plumber to do a job in your home and you begin noticing many more people milling about that you intended, this should definitely send up a red flag in your mind.
Some less than honest plumbers will sign on for a job and then begin subbing parts of the job out to associates, oftentimes family members who are out to make a quick buck.
The plumber will come back and tell you that this is a common practice and that they don’t have any control over what these “associates” charge.
To combat this, you really need to have a contract in place before the work actually begins. Short of that, you can put a halt to all work currently being done until you have more clarification from the plumber regarding the situation.
The one thing you don’t want to do is wait until the job is complete before bringing it up. By then, it’s too late and you’re likely going to be stuck with paying the invoice in full.
The Padding The Invoice Scam
If you live in a nice neighborhood and have a high-end home with luxury cars in the driveway, you have a good chance of being victimized by a plumber who you haven’t thoroughly vetted ahead of time.
Some plumbers may pad their invoices as much as 50 to 100 percent in these situations, so you definitely need to keep an eye out for that.
To prevent this from happening, obtain estimates from a few different plumbers and see what shakes out. This could well open your eyes to a scam in the making.
The Floating Estimate Scam
If a plumber, or any service professional for that matter, tells you that he’s keeping a running total of things in his head and that he’ll provide a written estimate at a later date, stop immediately and have a heart to heart conversation.
This is extremely important! If you don’t get an estimate in writing, then you have no way of protecting yourself down the road when you get hit with that expensive invoice.
Plumbers who engage in this scam are usually very smooth operators, convincing you that they’re on the level and that things will work out in the end.
But just remember to always, always, always get things in writing before any work begins! It’s the only way to protect yourself from these types of individuals.