I Think I'm Getting Ripped off a by Plumber

So Last week we noticed some water dripping from our roof near the kitchen, which only happened when we turn the Air Con on. So I rang an air con repair guy who suggested me that if its water leaking issue, I need to call a plumber. So I started looking for plumber online. Wanted to get it done due to the heatwave, Posted my job on service seeking and a tradie rang me on Saturday and said that if he comes over the weekend it will include a weekend callout fee but he can come over on Monday morning and give a free quote.

Update: Report from the new tech who fixed the issue: https://imgur.com/a/YAmHcbV . Currently arguing with the first guy since he has already sent me an invoice for second visit

Update 2: So I rang the plumbing company again asking for a detailed invoice, and I told him that I will not pay the second invoice, He replied saying that invoice will go standstill and he will follow legal process to get it paid. also he will sue me for Defamation if I post anything on social media. I am littarly feeling so helpless and angry right now.

So on Monday(14 Jan) morning tradie came went to roof and told me that "inlet valve" is broken and its leaking water into the roof and it is leaking through the ceiling. He left our house and went to inquire about the part. he rang me around 1:44 pm and told me that someone needs to be home by 2:30 pm to give access to the property so he can fix it.

4:44 Tradie rings me again says he fixed the issue and need to get paid, and he will not leave until he gets paid ($458), So we paid him straight away. Tradie suggested us that water may leak for some time as there's plenty of water in the roof. (I was quite shocked by the invoice since we never got a quote in written or over the phone. Tradie went straight and done the job)

Water was still leaking the next day too and there was a weird sound coming from the roof which sounded like a tap running, so I rang the company and told them that water is still leaking as it been more than 18 hours since they fixed it. So might need to come and have a look. so the company scheduled a tradie to visit our house again at 2:30 pm (15 Jan) the same day to review the issue. I wasn't home when he came to our house, but I got a call around 4 pm from Tradie saying that he spent 1:30 hours clearing the water from the roof and we need to pay him for the time and he refused to acknowledge the sound coming from the roof.

I straight up refused to pay the invoice and said I should not pay for something that should have been fixed in first place. Tradie hung up and said he will get his boss to call me and explain. Boss rang me 5 minutes later and quite aggressive over the phone, I tried telling him that he can not charge me for something that should have been fixed day before when I paid him $458. Even if he was going to charge me for his time he should have quoted/informed me before coming or before starting work. He hung up but before that, he told me very aggressively that he will invoice me and will follow up

So throughout all the process they never quoted us any price other than initial chat when I was informed about normal hourly charges.

Cut to today the weird sound is still coming from the roof and doing some research I found that the noise is from Water going doing down the gutter and pipes, and it started straight after plumber did the job. And it only comes when Air Conditioner is off.

So I texted the tradie today about the issue which he replied that he will charge an hourly rate to come over and will only come if the second invoice is paid.

What do I do in this case? Should I hire another company and get it done with. I'm so confused about this scenario

TLDR: Hired Plumber to fix a water leakage, Water leakage was still there even after fixing and tradie came to check and asked us to pay him for the second visit. The issues are still there he won't come until we pay second visit invoice and will charge for the third visit too.

Please forgive if my English does not make any sense, it's my third language.

Update: I had another tradie visit this evening. we went to roof together and this is what we found https://imgur.com/a/TiTGeMF and this been running like this since Monday afternoon. and this tradie explain how the last one forked it up while trying to fix, I will have full report tomorrow, will upload then.

I do not want any refund, I just wanted to be fixed without paying anymore to same tradie who should have done it in first place

Poll Options expired

  • 0
    Follow up with the company and get them to fix it since I paid
  • 4
    Talk to Fair Trade for a reasonable solution
  • 44
    Just go ahead and hire someone else


  • +8

    Get a different plumber and this time do yourself a favour and ask for a price upfront.

    It isn't the 1st plumbers problem you didn't ask for a price before works commenced

    • So Should I forget about the money I paid? Damn We never stop learning

      • +2

        Send the bill to the first plumber. Follow up in small claims if you really want to.

      • Unless you can prove that they didn't do anything you will find yourself unlikely to get your money back, even through legal means.

        Best case you would get a portion of your money back, but there might be costs involved in doing that which would erode the portion you could get returned?

        While it might leave a bad taste, best bet is to find a different plumber to fix things as it will save you time, probably save you money, and stress.

        P.S I have no actual knowledge on these matters this is an uneducated opinion.

        • I don't want a refund, I just want job to finished properly and do not want to pay for second or third visit which are only there because the job was not done properly

  • +1

    Oh yes, you will learn the same shit with your car repairs sometime down the road of your life.

  • the noise is from Water going doing down the gutter and pipes

    Doesn't this mean the plumber did solve the issue, if the water is going down the gutter and pipes, and not pooling in your roof and then dripping into your kitchen?

    So throughout all the process they never quoted us any price other than initial chat when I was informed about normal hourly charges.

    Did they charge you for the time they spent according to their quoted hourly rates? Not everything comes with a fixed price quote.

    • Oh, yea, if that was for 4-5 mins we would say its air con discharge, now the water is continuously (24/7) running when the air con is not on and going down the drain for no reason. Check the vid


      • Yes but before it was dripping into your kitchen when the air-con was on. It could be pooling in your roof at other times too, just slower. Now it's actually going down a pipe (meaning it's not going into your roof).

        Plus - there's a few options: condensation from your aircon is an aircon tech problem. Leak from your roof is a roofer problem. As far as I can see, plumber's made water go where it should go. Whether it's coming from your air-con or the roof, that's not their problem to fix.

        • Before water was only leaking when Air Con was running. now its other way around. he was there to fix the problem not divert the water

          • +1

            @letmesingh: Are you sure? From your OP, it seems water was dripping into your kitchen when the air con was running. It could still be leaking even with the air con off, just not enough to go through the roof into the kitchen.

            he was there to fix the problem not divert the water

            I mean, he's a plumber. His job is literally to divert water. Unless the leak is from a water pipe, it's not his problem to fix.

            1. Water from air con? Air con technician.
            2. Water from roof? Roofer.
            • @HighAndDry: it was leaking from the pipe going to air con, so was plumber issue, if it wasn't his job he should have just informed us.

              • @letmesingh:

                it was leaking from the pipe going to air con

                Why is there a water pipe going to your air con? Per trex below: Is it an evaporative cooler?

                if it wasn't his job he should have just informed us.

                He solved the problem of water dripping into your kitchen.

            • @HighAndDry: I live in the house, so I can confirm it was not leaking when AirCon was off.

              • @letmesingh: Wait, is there no roof void where the air-con is installed? Or did you check that it's not leaking into the roof, even if there's no dripping into the kitchen?

                Did the plumber say what they did to fix the issue? It doesn't make sense they'd not fix the leak, but instead just divert it to a drainpipe. That doesn't solve the root cause, and takes more time/effort for the plumber too.

                • @HighAndDry: this is what his notes say

                  On investigation of the evaporative air conditioning unit we found that the inlet valve was squirting water and causing a
                  leak into the ceiling below.
                  We removed and replaced the inlet valve with new and tested for working order

                  • @letmesingh: No offence to the plumber (or maybe offence, w/e), but that doesn't explain at all why there's water going down the drainpipe normally. Maybe there's a water pressure issue where the air con unit can't handle the pressure from the water pipe when it's not using the water (and obviously even when it was), and so they installed an inlet valve with a built-in mechanism to divert extra water.

                    Not a plumber or HVAC engineer here though, so I could be well off the mark.

                    • @HighAndDry: They refused to acknowledge the water going down the drain. I'm 100% sure it is there fork up since it started when tradie completed the job

                      • @letmesingh: If it hasn't been raining where you are the past couple of days… that water's obviously coming from somewhere.

                        Again, with no specialised knowledge in this field, maybe it's a design feature of the air-con that extra water gets diverted to its outlet when not used?

                        • +2

                          @HighAndDry: Temperature is High and Dry like ur username. 38, 41 and 38 from last 3 days

                          • @letmesingh: Ha!

                            Yeah, get a second opinion, and if they say the previous plumber did something wrong, or did a bad job, get that from them in writing - text message or email would be sufficient.

                            Then take that back to the first plumber for a refund (if you can be bothered), and failing that - again, if you can be bothered - you can consider going to Fair Trading.

                            If the second opinion comes back and agrees with the first plumber though, well…

                            • @HighAndDry: I got the report as a text message, but the first plumber is refusing to acknowledge it and asking it either as an invoice or on letterhead. and Even threaten to take me to court if leave a bad review on social media

        • He’s bluffing. A full defence to defamation is the truth. I’m not an expert, but I don’t see anything here that could be regarded as defamatory, all you have done is describe his work and his method of doing business. If you actually said he was incompetent and malevolent, that might be grounds for defamation, but you stuck strictly to the narrative. There are loads of places like http://productreview.com.au where tradies and companies are called out. If it is truthful, the bad tradies have no come-back.
          He’s not the only shonky tradie around, see here https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/dodgy-tradies-ripping-of...
          (The link at the end of that article, to check if a plumber is licensed, should be https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/business-and-trade/licensing/li... )
          If he’s not licensed or registered, you can report him.
          To further progress your case, you can contact Consumer and Business Services (CBS). The process is shown here, involving Compulsory Conciliation Conferences and/or taking action through the courts https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/rights-and-law/consumer-rights/...
          If he is licensed or registered, you can complain to Master Plumbers South Australia https://www.mpasa.com.au/?/m/consumer-complaints

      • That's a lot of water to be coming from the AC. Is it an evaporative cooler?

        • yes it is bro, imagine its running like this since Monday afternoon

          • @letmesingh: You should get an evaporative cooler technician/tradie, not a plumber. A plumber would probably not know how the evap cooler works. Water should be running only when the evaporative cooler is operating since this is how the unit cools the air.

            • @trex: I rang an Air Con guy first, he suggested that a plumber should check first since its water leakage, the plumber came and said he will fix it, so I just blindly trusted. Wanted it to done quick since its too hot nowadays

          • @letmesingh: Then you probably shouldn't have called it air con but an evap cooler instead. your post make the situation very confusing, and by the look of it you could've get a ladder and go up checking it yourself and to tell plumber that you're not a naive client that he could get his easy money from. And you could've billed the plumbing company for excessive water rate when next bill comes.

  • are you sure it is for the aircon, it is a 12kw ducted until or a normal split system,.
    Split system shouldn't have this much water.

    • I think this the water that's supposed to go to air con when turned on, when we turn it off rather than cutting off water starts diverting to drain. but I have no clue how this system work so just a guess, I will have a new tech come and check

      • do you have brand and model of the air con? can you go to the roof and have a look yourself?

        • I will check later today

  • The water from your ac should not drain onto your roof/gutters they will rust prematurely if you allow them to continue to do this.

    • Will only find out real issue when someone else will look at it, Trying to find someone now

      • Cant you get up and have a look at it yourself?

        • Only if I was home, I'm at work

          • @letmesingh: You mentioned you weren't home when the plumber came in the last few times to fix ("fix") the issue either, who was home and what did the plumber tell them?

            • @HighAndDry: My father-in-law who cannot speak or understand English at all. he was there just to give access as all the communication was with me since I hired them

              • @letmesingh: Ah. I also have (non-English speaking) relatives I sometimes arrange handymen/workmen for, and very commonly the person will come and discuss the issue with my relative, because they're the person on-site.

                This could be a case of (at least partly) miscommunication. I.e. it's possible the plumber said something like:

                "Look, your water pressure is too high for this air-con, we can put in an inlet valve with a divert function but it'll mean water going down the drain all the time. It's not ideal but it'll fix water leaking into your roof and then your kitchen."

                And your FIL just… nods because he heard "this will fix the leak".

                Purely hypothetical, but from experience this happens from time to time.

                Edit: Also possible, of course, is that the plumber saw your FIL couldn't speak English and so took the chance to do a substandard work/rip you off. shrugs no way to tell without a second expert opinion I'm afraid.

                • @HighAndDry: Pretty sure there wasn't kind of communication between FIL and Tradie, all he said was water might leak for some time as there is still some water left in the ceiling. $458 for 2 hours job, and part only cost u $50 max. I think he more like took advantage

          • @letmesingh: looking at your update, that drain should not dump the water onto the roof, there should be a PVC pipe dumping into a soakwell or something.

            If you leave it then your gutters will rust prematurely.

            Also check your gutters etc for screws and other metal debris AC techs etc tend to just dump this when ever and it will get into your gutters and rust.

            • @DisabledUser143859: Yea mate, I'm getting that PVC pipe installed tomorrow afternoon as well as fixing the issue thats making this water dump when air con is off

    • "The water from your ac should not drain onto your roof/gutters they will rust prematurely" Not if they are plastic or aluminium my air cons. have been discharging to my gutters fdr over 30yrs with no damage at all.

  • Next time you need a service that doesnt have an advertised price, unless you don't care about the cost, ask for a quote from multiple tradies before agreeing.

    • +2

      And at least spend 5mins to investigate yourself! Being able to confidently state where the leak was coming from, and where it is now would have avoided much of this.
      Not knowing what is happening besides what “sound” it makes is begging to be ripped off, although of course it is unscrupulous.

      • I know mate, but it was too hot as we wanted it fixed straight away

        • +4

          Being lazy isn't cheap. If you don't want to put effort into something, be prepared to pay.

  • -3

    SO, I started to read your post but got bored half way through

  • +1

    Well, you spent 458 in school fees today and learnt a valuable lesson. Always seek a written quotation upfront.

    • +1

      :) thats what I'm thinking

  • +2

    Sounds like you found a dodgy plumber, be happy you didnt get ripped off more than you already did.

    • Yea mate, 100% on point

  • +1

    "inlet valve" is broken
    he gets paid ($458)

    $458 for an o-ring.

    Name and shame.

    • +1

      might do once I have a proper report.

  • Pay it off,
    Get another plumber to quote and fix

    Name the company. Why you dont name it?

    Money can fix, then dont stress over it.
    Water leak is a shiiiity problem, my old man got depression and anxiety problem with water problems. Just pay another expert to fix it.

    Move on with life

    • Yea bro, That's what I'm doing. got another guy to fix it now.

      Will name and shame once I have a proper report and proof that first guy did fork it up.

  • TLDR - I'm not getting ripped off for my time.

  • I think I know what your problem is, it is water coming from the A/C. There is a waste water hose coming from the condenser. It needs to be cleaned periodically otherwise it will block up and water will flow to the surrounding area. When was the A/C unit last cleaned. If more than 2 years . The kind of good news is that companies that provide this service typically charge $160 per unit.

  • $458, what a joke.
    Best solution is learn about plumbing.
    I have never called a plumber, and have replaced most of my terracotta sewer and a lot of my taps and water pipes, over 30 years.
    All done to code.

    • Thing is I'm born and raised in India, we neither had air con nor proper plumbing so never had a chance to learn the basic mechanism. I think I will surely show more interest in this from now on

      • +1

        I really sympathise with you,
        I have a feeling a few tradies will exploit new Australian immigrants for every dollar they can.

        • +1

          Thanks Bro. Hopefully I can take him to Fair Trade SA once I have proper report

      • +2

        I can relate to that, I came from England and wasn't familiar with air con either.
        But I was up on my roof last week repairing a similar evaporative air conditioning unit.
        The water outlet from ours is plumbed into plastic pipe which is routed through the roof and down the side of the house onto the garden. Having the water outlet running straight onto the roof like yours is pretty shoddy.
        You should normally have a trickle from the outlet when the unit is running, but it should stop when the unit is turned off.
        The way evaporative works is that air is sucked in through the grilles and through water-soaked straw pads inside (you can just see these on your photo).
        Drawing the air through the wet pads cools it (and also unfortunately makes it humid).
        Water is stored in the sump of the unit and a pump delivers it to the top of the straw pads to keep them wet.
        The level of water in the sump is controlled by a cistern valve with a float, similar to what you have in old-style toilets. Ours broke last week, so there was a continuous stream of water going through the water outlet pipe. I can see from the photo that you’ve got a similar problem. Your cistern valve is probably connected directly to that copper pipe going into the bottom of the unit.
        My Breezair instruction manual says this about the outlet -
        “A special plastic ‘bleed-off’ fitting is supplied with every air cooler. This has three functions. It acts as an overflow, a drain and a bleed-off. The bleedoff fitting comprises a small tray which collects water from under one of the cooling pads and drains this small quantity of water to waste.
        It is a requirement of Seeley International - Never drain the water directly on to the roof. Use a separate hose or pipe.
        Use of the bleed-off fitting is mandatory in order to protect the air cooler from excessive salt buildup and component failure.”
        Anyway, it sounds like your cistern valve failed resulting in the valve being unable to control the level in the sump, and water just continually flowed in through it and then out through the outlet onto your roof.
        The first plumber should have been able to fix this, I’m appalled that he didn’t and appalled that he charged $458 when he didn’t even fix it. A new Vertical Float Valve Bottom Entry cost me $46 last week. (No jokes about Bottom Entry please, it was the OP who got shafted, not me).
        Just one last thing to consider – the float on the cistern valve might need adjusting to a lower level. If the plumber just replaced it, he might not have set it to the right level. Unlikely, but worth checking.
        I would suggest that you get an air conditioning guy from a big name company to fix it, and also give you a report on the work done by the previous clown. Use the report to claw your money back from the clown.

        • Mate are you a god or something, this is exactly what happened and what I'm doing right now, I got another guy who charged $42 for new Float Valve thing. and installed a pipe so water does not run straight to roof and go safely through the pipe to drain.

          Thanks a lot mate, I'm getting a report on Monday and hopefully will get some money back.

          P.s. I Have the same brand Air Con

        • Update: Report from the new tech who fixed the issue: https://imgur.com/a/YAmHcbV . Currently arguing with the first guy since he has already sent me an invoice for second visit. He wants to see a invoice for second guy but I do not have it as it was a cash job, I could not afford it on the books since I paid $458 a day before

  • kmwa beat me to the answer. He is 100% right. In the meantime, before the air con guy arrives, you should climb up and turn off that chrome tap in your photo (clockwise). This will stop the water running everywhere. The unit can still be used, but will not be cool air, it will just run as a huge fan , but still better than no air movement at all. Have a look in your local messenger paper (SA) for a evaporative air con. only tradie as these guys will sort it out straight away. After it is all fixed, go your hardest at the first rip off merchant. I get a service on my evap cooler every September for $80 and they tell you at the same time of any likely upcoming problems.

    • Thanks, mate, the Problem is fixed by a new AirCon guy now, will have a report soon and will share here.


      • very nice if its been fixed

        • yea been fixed now mate, but 1st tradie is still giving me shits

  • Problem was not fixed. Tell him you will see him in court.

    • I told the tradie that I'm being more than reasonable and have not even left negative feedback on social media. To which he replied threatening "do it and i will sue for defamation" lol

  • +1

    Protip: all tradies are the smartest crooks it comes with the trade.. you just have to be able to outcrook them or you dont get the better deal true story

    set the price and ask for a free consultation first before agreeing to anything and if the consultation is not free look for someone else who is

    remember they want your business not you want them

    make em earn your hard earned money aka their pay after all you are their boss not the other way around

    anyone who disagrees with this are probably those who love getting sweet talked and bullied out of their ass for their hard earned money

    to each their own but yeah tradies are a huge ball game that you need to up your bargaining skills and levels when approaching anything on this level

    do your research and haggle appropriately some things do cost money and some other things dont like some consultations and quotes etc for example

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