Plumbing is one of those complex tasks that require extensive knowledge and skill, which is why it’s always best to leave out plumbing works to the professionals. But while these plumbing experts were trained to quickly and efficiently fix the issues with your plumbing system, there are still few of these plumbers who are just in the business to take advantage of their clients to make more money. The good thing is most of scams they perform can be easily spotted and avoided if you just know the signs to look out for. Here, we listed down some of the common plumbing repair scams that they might do as well as the ways on how you can avoid them.
1. Bait and Switch
This plumbing repair scam commonly involves the materials needed for your repair job. In this trick, your plumber will convince you that you are getting the materials there is when, in reality, they will be installing a lower-cost and far more inferior product than the one they promised. Likewise, they can switch out high-grade materials for a cheaper one and increase the profit margins without you even noticing any short-changes in the goods.
Fortunately, there are some tricks that you can use to beat this scam. One known trick is to have all the parts listed down and take the list to a home improvement or hardware store in your area in Singapore. If you find out that he is using high grade materials but is overpricing, simply call his bluff. If he is using inferior products and making a huge profit from you, however, then it would be in your best interest to find and hire another plumbing contractor.
2. Inaccurate Job Estimates
An inaccurate job estimate may take a few turns and there are several ways to go about this cheap trick. One involves your plumber analysing the present issues, calculating the ‘total cost’ in his head, but offering no solid estimate on the paper. Another is when you contact a good plumbing service in Singapore and ask for an estimate, he will give you a rather promising final budget but only over the phone. When the repair job is done, you will now get an invoice with a price that’s twice or thrice the amount he told you.
So unless if you are planning to hire a 24 hours plumber, be sure take the time to get several quotes and ensure that that the scope of the plumbing services he is offering is clearly outlined. Don’t be afraid to ask a plumber as to why he charges lower (or higher) than his competitors. Knowing the reason behind this will give you an idea as to who is offering services that are of greater value.
3. Extra People Working on the Job
As soon as you have signed the agreement, your plumbing contractor will immediately start the work – but within a week, you will start noticing that there are more people working on your repair job than necessary. In some cases, the extra workers can be his apprentices, but some plumbers will try increasing their profits by subcontracting certain parts of the job to a friend or a relative and claiming that they don’t have any control over their hourly rate.
The simplest way to avoid being victimized with this trick is to ask why getting each person is necessary for the repair job. If you are not sure who is doing what in your plumbing system, immediately stop the work and ensure that no extra costs are being incurred from all the unnecessary labour.
4. Inflated Hourly Work Rate
This is a classic scam technique used by some service industry in Singapore. By noticing some flashes of wealth around your property or assuming that you have deep pockets based on the neighbourhood you are living in, some plumbing contractors will think of inflating their hourly rate by as much as 50 or 100 percent.
Your best defence against this is to contact and get quotes from plumbers who are not based in affluent towns. They tend to charge more reasonably for their plumbing services and they will appreciate your addition into their list of clients. To ensure that they will not charge for an extra travel time, make sure that you keep their commute time down. If they need to travel for several hours just to get to your place, then expect that to reflect in total cost.
5. High Cost for First Hour of Labour
Standard hourly visits tend to be expensive for the first hour of labour, even if it only takes 10 to 15 minutes to fix a simple plumbing issue. Although you can’t really fault your plumber for charging a minimum labour charge to cover for his time and travel, you can make the most of the full hour of labour you are paying for by asking him to perform routine maintenance tasks or to fix smaller issues on your system. Have him perform minor plumbing services like replacing gaskets or washers, tightening the faucet stem or doing a quick inspection so you get to identify where future problems might develop.
Just like in other service fields, there are also those who will take advantage of unknowing clients in the plumbing industry. This is the reason why it’s crucial for you to ensure that you are hiring a reputable and reliable plumber. Doing so will give you an assurance that you will only get dependable service, competitive pricing, and honest estimates.