Every house has a hot water system, and if it breaks down, you’re going to need a plumber. But how honest are they? Plumbers make good money from installing new hot water systems, they make money from the call out fee, the labour and often inflate the price of the hot water system insisting you use their recommended water heater.
In a recent expose by a journalism show called inside edition, at hot water system was deliberately tampered with by loosening a nut. The problem should have been simple for any plumber to diagnose, as the source of the slow leak as coming directly from the loosened nut. A simple tightening with a spanner would fix the problem and take less than a minute.
The hot water system was brand new and had no other faults. In short, any plumber and probably any person with common sense would have diagnosed and solved the problem straight away.
The investigators set up cameras whilst the “housewife” who was an undercover journalist, invited 10 plumbers over one after the other.
The first plumber came and diagnosed the problem as a cracked and faulty leaking hot water system. The only option he provided was a new hot water system to be installed at a cost of over $700.
The best Parafield plumber was part of a large plumbing franchise and was forced to leave red faced when the truth and the simple solution came out.
Thankfully out of the ten plumbers called, only one other company told the lady that she needed a new hot water system. This plumber was looking at pictures on his iPhone to diagnose the problem. He was charging even more than the first one, and started wheeling one out of his van ready to install. Despite the original one being in perfectly good shape.
So what does this tell us? In this small test, 8 out of 10 plumbers were honest and charged a minimal fee for doming out and fixing the job quickly. Is this to say that 20% of plumbers are dishonest? No it’s not, as the culture of plumbers varies from location to location and depending on economic conditions as well. All this means is that you need to be vigilant and wary that despite most plumbers being good honest contractors, there are some who will try to scam you. Get a second opinion on larger quotes and even a third opinion if things don’t seem right.