4 Common Plumbing Scams & How to Avoid Them

Plumbing work is often an intensive job. The technicians and plumbers that are properly certified to do work need to pay quite a lot for their training, licensing, and equipment. The work they do isn’t cheap but it often can be quite tiring and extensive, which is why even small jobs can cost hundreds of dollars.

However, among all the trained plumbers, there are many undertrained or even fake plumbers that charge the same rates. They pull a variety of plumbing scams off on unsuspecting homeowners, leaving them with unreasonably high bills or “solutions” that break down soon after. How can a normal homeowner know what’s a scam and what isn’t?

In this article, we’ve covered some of the most common scams to look out for the next time you need a job done and how to avoid them. 

So, if you need plumbing work done, call our team at Clover Contracting for dependable work at a reasonable price.

The Most Common Plumbing Scams You Need to Know

In the chance that you suspect that a plumber isn’t as certified as they say or is taking advantage of you, here are a few of the most common scams that you might find being used:

The Rates Increase Depending on Your Neighborhood

In one possible case of a scam, a plumber might come up to your home and do the work as you asked, only to end up billing you anywhere from 50% to 100% more than the price you were quoted. 

This is often because these are shadier kinds of plumbers that carefully notice that you live in a wealthy part of town or that you drive an expensive car. They might see that you have expensive belongings and immediately decide to scam you for more. So, to make more money off of you, these kinds of plumbers hike up their rates in just a few minutes, despite that you might have emptied a sizable chunk of your savings.

Higher Cost but Lower Quality Parts

This is one of the most common plumber scams and often happens when you need to get a part of your plumbing system replaced or installed. A plumber will come to you, saying that they’ll be installing a high-quality part for a certain amount. However, when they do buy the part, the product will be lower quality and cheaper. Since you never actually see the final cost, the plumber ends up hiding the difference in prices. 

Your Plumber is Holding Back Info

If you ask a plumber for their license number or any other credentials during a job and they seem reluctant to give it to you, there’s a high chance that you might be facing one of the common plumbing scams. These credentials are needed for plumbing work and can be a sign that they aren’t trained. 

A Lack of Proper Paperwork

Occasionally, a plumber might be doing a job right with none of the other signs being that clear. However, if you ask for a receipt or a written quote, they’ll find a way to avoid giving you one. This is often many different signs that they’re trying to take advantage of you and your money. A lack of any paperwork means that you have no set cost, they have no insurance, or they aren’t paying their taxes. 

At any time, they might hike their rates up and have you pay twice or even three times the initial cost you were quoted over the phone. Additionally, if they end up causing even more damage to the plumbing system, not only are you supposed to pay for their labor, but you’ll need to spend even more money to hire another plumber.

A Changing Final Cost Estimate

This scam is often the main reason that many homeowners end up searching for “I was overcharged by my plumber, what can I do?” after a plumbing job is finished by an unreliable plumber. It can happen in many different ways but the most common starts like this.

You call a plumber, and after telling them the issue, they calculate a rough or running total cost for the job. However, they never put any of the papers down onto paper. You might ask for a receipt or some form of an estimate, but all they say is that they’ll get back to it soon. The price is perfect for your budget until you need to pay and suddenly the cost is much higher than before! Unfortunately, the lack of paperwork left you with no proof.

How to Avoid These Scams and Many More

Now that you know some of the most common plumbing rip offs and scams, how do you make sure you don’t fall for any of them? These are some of the best methods to follow so that you get the best work possible for an appropriate price. 

  • Get everything you can in writing. Whether this is the list of parts that the plumber’s getting, the quote of the final price after an inspection, or the general plan, the written prices and quotes are what hold them to precise details. Without it, you won’t have much evidence if anything goes wrong.
  • Research is your friend. Doing simple price comparisons online or in hardware stores on the parts and any common items can make sure you aren’t overpriced anywhere. You can look up a plumber and their company to check their reviews and ratings.
  • As a standard for any work done in your home, never let so-called plumbers in unless they give you the proper license and credentials first! This is one of the possible plumbing scams, so be ready if you need to call the police.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If a plumber is licensed and actually wants your business, they’ll be perfectly fine with letting you know exactly what they plan to do before and during the job. They’ll even explain their work so you’re comfortable with it all.


Legitimate plumbers, like our team members at Clover Contracting, will always be upfront with you while working on a job for you. We ensure that our rates are clear and reasonable throughout the entire job. If you do suspect that a plumber is trying to scam you, the best way to protect yourself and your money is by doing research and asking for all the details in writing. 

If you need a plumber you know will give you the best work for the price listed, call our team today.

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