I Paid 19k to a Plumbing Company for a Certificate but Declared Bankrupt

I am doing owner building and my friend recommended me a plumber to get a certificate from so I paid them large sum of monies and I checked them if they are legitimate. They had a license and everything checks out then after some time they declared bankrupt, is there any way for me to get my money back. Any lawyers out there familiar with this?


  • +3

    Do you have an agreed contract in place? Would hope so before exchanging that much cash. T&Cs should note what happens in this instance which a lawyer will ask to see.

    Also hope you have their details and may want to consider going to VCAT, NCAT or similar.

  • +2

    I'm trying to comprehend what you've done exactly?

    Is this what you've paid for? A certificate of compliance?

  • +1

    There was a dodgy pluimber or two on a current affair, Check if its one of them. Call them. You will also need to list yourself as a creditor.

  • +36

    19K for a 'certificate'?

    What are you plumbing? A nuclear reactor?

    • +2

      was probably bribe money

      • +1

        How much would the actual job cost? What is the saving here?

      • But he is building, so he would have had to get plumbing done anyways? It's not like the house was built by someone else and no certificates were done and then he is just bribing someone else to get "fake" certificates.

        I am not understanding how OP got into this situation.

        Maybe he should get a builder next time, because the potential savings made being an owner builder is now gone out of the window.

  • +5

    my friend recommended

    That’s how most of these posts start…

    Through a “friend”, is a backdoor to release cash. Let’s your guard down.

    Need a new forum subcategory , “caused by a friend”.

  • +4

    If he is bankrupt, you can pretty much count your money is as good as lost. Contact the trustee of bankrupt and lodge your claim just in case if he has any assets on his name that can be distributed the his creditors.

  • +4

    $19k for a certificate??? Any plumber who does the work as specified can issue a certificate or plans as requested.
    I don't actually understand what you have paid for??

    We do owner builder too. The plumber that does the work issues paperwork as requested from him at no extra cost and OC gets approved.

    • +3

      I'm gathering the OP installed all the plumbing without qualifications and was looking for a dodgy certificate of compliance in order to satisfy some other body (local council?)

      • +3

        If this is the case then it's even more stupid, plumbing wouldn't have cost $19k

        • +5

          But the slab was probably already poured and op required dodgy progress inspection reports as well. The bankrupt plumber probably had a $19k bill due the next day and came up with that magical number.

  • Does plumbing work all or part need to be done by a licenced Plumber?

    Maybe the OP has done whst should have been done by a licenced tradesmsn himself and is going backdoor to get a certificate/approval?

  • +5

    Sounds like you've got $19k flushed down the drain.

    • +4

      That's a crappy thing to say.

      • +3

        Pipe down

  • +1

    Don’t feed the troll…

  • +1

    What works did the plumber do?

    New plumber may not be happy to certify another plumbers work.

    FYI, just because the plumber is bankrupt doesn't automatically mean they can't issue the a plumbing certificate. If they are dead, that's a different story.

    Speak to your building surveyor and the relevant plumbing regulator in your state for further guidance.

  • +1

    I know plumbers are expensive but 19k for a certificate…. something dodgy is obivously going on for you to take a 'friends' recommendation and just hand over that much money.

    Too me this story sounds (and i might be wrong) you needed something signed off on a big project that may or may not be exactly within standards

    Your mate had a 'mate' who needed cash was happy to say said plumbing was 'Australian standard' - you paid this plumber (hopefully not cash) a large sum of $ to 'bend the rules' in which he took your money and the declared bankruptcy

    Now to answer you're question your money is gone there is a 1% chance you will get it back but attempting to get it back will cost you more money - via VCAT etc

    19k is a lot of cash to someone like me i got ripped of $700 a few years ago and im still burning i honestly would consider the 'bikies' for 19k - not advice just what i would do

  • You are an owner/builder and you didn't do progress payments or 10% deposit and balance on completion?

    It's going to be an expensive build.