When requesting any type of home improvement services, it is essential for homeowners to keep their eyes peeled for scammers. This is particularly important in cases of plumbing and electrical projects, where issues may not be visible to the naked eye and homeowners are forced to take the word of their hired professional.
Keep a close watch for these common plumbing scams or hire a plumbing professional thoroughly vetted by HomePro Match for the peace of mind that you deserve.
Using Inferior MaterialsOften called "the bait and switch," this scam has to do with plumbers being dishonest about the quality of materials they plan to install. These "pros" will insist you're receiving top-quality parts, then proceed with lower-quality materials. The difference, you guessed it, goes straight to their personal profits. An easy way to avoid this is to request a list of materials and take a trip to your local hardware store. If you notice you're being overcharged, return to your plumber with the discrepancies for a lower rate.
Rate RaisingPlumbers are not required to disclose their hourly rate prior to hiring. If you live in a more affluent neighborhood, some contractors may see this as an opportunity to take advantage of you and your wallet. Certain "businessmen" may spike their prices based on the home and homeowners requesting the project, so be aware and do your research before accepting any seemingly egregious rates.
Sketchy EstimatesPlumbers can pull a number of fast ones when it comes to presenting an accurate estimate for their services. Some may say they're keeping track of their calculations but avoid offering a written estimate, making it easier to change things down the road. Others may present a low quote upfront, but change their tune in the middle of your project when more work comes up. Bottom line is that a trusted, experienced professional will understand the needs of your home, the cause of your issues, and be confident in their pricing and process from the beginning. If anything seems off about an estimate, get a second opinion.
Plumbers Working Without a LicenseThese types of scammers are working illegally without licensing or insurance and usually charge a lower rate because of this loophole. While DIY projects are on the rise, licensed pros are still required for all electrical and plumbing jobs. So, don't fall fate to this classic scam. If you hire an unlicensed professional, you run the risk of paying thousands of extra dollars should anything go wrong, and the potential of having nowhere to turn if the work fails, as an inspector will require you remove work done by unlicensed plumbers. Hiring an unlicensed tradesman will also void any warranties on plumbing products requiring installation by a licensed professional. Always ask your contractors to present documentation including proof of insurance before starting any project.
Payment Before Completion
Any plumber demanding payment before a job is up to something. They might casually ask to run your card before beginning work, or request payment for upscale parts they can't cover. Just know that if you pay ahead of time there is no guarantee they'll come back.
Avoid this scam by withholding your credit card information until work is complete and always request a receipt with detailed descriptions of any repairs or installations.