Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Beware the Rogue Plumbers!

Two winters ago was a very cold season for me… colder, I think, than it was for most. This was because my boiler was broken. I had no heating. And, when the weather outside is frightful, and there’s no fire to make it so delightful, you get cold, and miserable. So I went onto Google, found a cheap plumber and got him to come around. I paid him £60, he went up to my boiler, pressed the ‘reset’ button, it started making some noises again and temporarily came on again so, without doing any further testing, he left. The whole process took around a minute. He was probably at my flat for ten minutes, most of the time of which was spent looking for a ladder. Suffice to say, the boiler broke again very soon after he left, and he refused to give me a refund or come back and do the job properly. Unfortunately, not all workmen are as reliable as Bob The Builder or as cheerful as Luigi – some are simply out to get your money and provide as little in the way of service as is humanly possible. Just take a look at these rogues!

Blocked drain scam

Plumbers who charged a homeowner £14,400 to clear a blocked drain were in court this April. Two plumbers employed by Property Care Services in Hatfield were facing punishment, which could include prison terms. OAP Harold Stern, 83, called to report a blocked drain and was quoted the outrageous fee for the service – the disabled pensioner was given no choice but to accept this or face his drains remaining blocked. Evidence was also presented relating to earlier quotes that had been given to customers – in once case almost £5,000 was quoted for a blocked drain job, a job which should have cost no more than £942 to complete. The company claim that because they provide emergency, out of hours services, this allows them to charge higher prices, and stated that they had co-operated fully with the investigation carried out by Trading Standards.

Ongoing problem

But this isn’t the first case of rogue tradesmen taking advantage of older or vulnerable customers. It’s not just plumbers who are at fault – there have been cases of cowboy builders starting renovation work or fitting new kitchens for excited homeowners, leaving them with a huge bill to pay and unfinished, shoddy work. More needs to be done to regulate the industry and ensure that these rogue traders are no longer allowed to do business. The police receive hundreds of calls every day from vulnerable adults who have been targeted by scams or rogue traders trying to over-quote them or sell them services they don’t need! In many cases, these individuals are not even properly qualified to complete the work in question.

Hire a trusted tradesman

Use a website such as Trust a Trader or one of the many websites available which regulates tradesmen in your area to ensure you don’t fall foul of the rogue plumbers, builders and other workmen that are sadly still out there. Better still, take a recommendation from a friend or pick a small local firm with an excellent reputation to carry out your work – most firms will have references from previous satisfied customers available on their website, and you are well within your right to ask to see evidence of work they have completed, insurance certificates and qualifications before hiring them to start work on your home. At PPBS we hold customer care and excellence in service as the lynchpin of everything that we do. You are guaranteed a phenomenal service, to give you peace of mind.