There are a lot of scammers out there, and you need to be wary about them. Your home is your safe space, and you can’t just let anybody in there. This is why you need to do a thorough background check on any plumber before hiring them. Doing your due diligence will help you weed out potential scammers and save you a lot of trouble later down the line.
A shady plumber can ruin your day and waste a lot of money, and this isn’t something we would wish on our worst enemies (except if you are Jake Gyllenhaal). So, without further ado, let’s dive further into this blog and learn about some of the most popular plumbing scams out there and how to avoid them.
1. The old switcheroo
The good old bait and switch is a scam that is popular everywhere and not just in the plumbing world. This scam involves a plumber convincing you that you are getting the best deal or product when in reality, you are getting inferior, if not a low-cost, product that will break down in the near future.
They do so to profit the pocket while giving you a less than subpar product; they are just excellent orators who know how to sell a dream. Another tactic that a lot of people are using these days is that they are using high-end products, but they are hitching the price higher to get a better margin. The latter will leave you dry, but at least you are getting good quality products.
2. Rates change according to where you live
If you live in a nice neighborhood or have a nice car in your driveway, most scammers will definitely hitch up their prices according to your living situation. These are signs that you are well off, and these scammers will take advantage of that. If you have expensive art and memorabilia hanging around or even live in the affluent part of town, then just know that scammers will try to milk you out.
Their hourly rates can go up from 50% to 100% in a matter of minutes just when they look at your living situation. And you will be none the wiser, especially if you didn’t request a quote prior to their visit. They can also take advantage of you because you appear helpless, and this is why it is a popular scam because most of us know next to nothing about plumbing.
3. Upfront payment
Any respectable plumber out there won’t have any issues showing you their credentials. They should also have no problems showing you their business card or plumber license number if you ask or need it. If they are reluctant to show you this, then this might be a red flag as it shows that they don’t have the crucial information that you need.
You need to be aware of two big red flags: cash-only jobs or under-the-table payments, as this includes no written receipts. This is an indication that the plumber isn’t paying taxes on these jobs or has no insurance. If your plumber is asking for 25 or 50% of the payment upfront, you should also be wary as this is one of the most common scams listed on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
Most states also prohibit plumbers from taking more than 10% upfront, and we believe that it is a good law that these states have implemented. Because if you pay them a large amount of money upfront, they might not come through with the job and just take the money without actually doing the job, and this is something that has happened to more people than you would actually believe.
To avoid being scammed, you can just ask your plumber what they can do to solve your current issue; it is as simple as that. If they give an ambiguous answer, that’s already a red flag right there, but if they sound knowledgeable, then that is the mark of someone who knows what they are talking about.
Your plumber should have no qualms about answering your questions as your need someone to fix your plumbing, not create more. Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about plumbing scams.