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August 2020

Guide to Spotting & Reporting a Rogue Plumber

Guide to Spotting & Reporting a Rogue Plumber

If you’ve ever had trouble with your plumbing you’ll know just what a stressful time it can be, so it’s important that you can call on an expert that you trust. That can be easier said than done however, and with so many companies advertising their services on Google, it can be difficult to know who to call. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a handy guide to spotting and reporting rogue plumbers.

How to Spot a Rogue Plumber

Before you’ve even booked your plumber, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you’re dealing with a company that you can trust.

Firstly, check their website – any reputable plumbing company should have relevant accreditations listed online, as well as references of previous jobs. If a business doesn’t have an established trading record, it could be that they have started up a new company under a different name because of the poor reputation of their previous one. If your plumber doesn’t have a website, they should still be able to show their accreditations and references upon request.

Once your plumber has been booked, keep an eye on their approach to work – for example, are they wearing a branded uniform? This might not always be a perfect way of judging a plumber’s reliability, but if they arrive wearing the company’s logo it implies a level of professionalism and pride in their business.

The biggest test of a plumber’s legitimacy comes when you begin discussing work. Tales of reduced rates for cash-in-hand work are common, and put the customer at risk; not only could you be prosecuted for VAT fraud if caught, there is also no guarantee on the work done – so you may end up paying even more to repair the rogue plumber’s shoddy job. Ensure you don’t pay in cash, and always request an invoice – as long as there’s a paper trail, you will be covered legally. Any plumber that demands to be paid in cash is best avoided.

Equally, it’s essential that you agree an estimate in advance. Once a price is set in stone, you don’t have to worry about any additional costs appearing on your bill once the work is complete – so make sure to get your estimate in writing.

Any trusted company will be happy to provide an estimate prior to work commencing, along with a breakdown of all the costs involved, including labour and materials. A well-explained estimate should be easy to understand, protecting you from unscrupulous workers who may look to take advantage of your lack of plumbing knowledge to overcharge you or recommend additional, unnecessary work. When getting an estimate, be aware of the tradesman’s manner – if you get the feeling that you’re being ‘sold’ the idea of additional work you didn’t request – or doesn’t appear necessary – you may be dealing with an untrustworthy tradesman.

How to Report a Rogue Plumber

In the event that you fall victim to a dishonest tradesman, it’s important that you know who to turn to, and the Citizens Advice Bureau provide clear guidelines on what to do if you’ve been scammed.

Although the CAB’s advice is not aimed specifically at victims of tradesmen, many of their tips apply. The CAB recommends reporting the plumber or company you hired if they:

  • Misled you into buying their products or services
  • Didn’t carry out work properly (e.g. left your home in a dangerous state)
  • Pressured you into buying something you didn’t want to buy

If any of these apply to your situation, you should call the CAB consumer helpline on 03454 040506 and tell them you wish to report a trader to Trading Standards. Following a short phone call, during which an adviser will collect as much information from you as possible, they will decide whether to investigate your case and, if they believe you have been unfairly treated, Trading Standards will take action against the trader.

Depending on the severity of the situation, this could be anything from educating the trader about the law, to taking legal action to prevent the company from trading completely.

If you require emergency plumbing support or routine drain maintenance, why not contact the team at Drain Doctor? Our dedicated team of legitimate operators and technicians are available 24/7 across the UK, and always arrive in branded uniforms and vans – so you can rest assured you’re dealing a professional outfit that you can trust.