Friend Overcharged/Scammed by Plumber? (with Photos)

Posting for a friend.

  • Friend has a hole in the roof
    • Her boyfriend asks her to call a plumber to fix it as it has been raining a lot recently
    • Calls 24 hour plumbing service
    • The quote her $800 on the spot and 'fix' the job
    • Took no more than an hour in total
    • The work looks shoddy - friend feels like she might be getting scammed/ripped off
    • She asks for an itemised invoice of the work done before she pays
    • They say they will send her one later
    • she says she won't pay until she gets a proper invoice
    • they wait outside her house, call their manager, and the manager sends through an invoice
    • Invoice shows no detail, just the total amount owing.
    • She says she wants to wait for her boyfriend to come home first to pay
    • they send her a text message asking her to 'send it back' as agreement that she will pay.

Take a look at the photos of the work done. I dont know anything about plumbing or whatnot, but this does not look like an $800 job.

https://ibb.co/QkJkkP0
https://ibb.co/4Mbj3HL

She hasnt paid yet and is unsure what to do. I told her to hold off for the moment. This has all happened this morning.

Would love to get ozbargainers thoughts on this.

Thank you.

Further Edit (regarding when it was done)
Just to add -

  • contacted plumber on Saturday when it was raining heavily.
  • chose company because needed emergency plumping for that day or sooner after.
  • ended up booking for Monday because of the Call-Out fee on Sundays which would also increase the price.
  • They cancelled on Monday because of circumstances 'out of their control', and rescheduled to Tuesday morning.
  • no emergency service was actually provided, and the job was completed 3 days after the initial call.

Comments

  • +17

    The quote her $800 on the spot and 'fix' the job

    Did she agree to pay the $800 to 'fix' it?

    I told her to hold off for the moment.

    Are you the boyfriend?

    • -10
      1. Yes - but I am not looking for legal advice on whether she is obligated to pay that amount. I am well versed enough to that end.

      2. No.

      • +8

        ..but I am not looking for legal advice on whether she has to pay that amount.

        I'm not looking to give legal advice either.

        My point was really around an out-of-hours call - If you do one of those calls, you normally expect to pay with an arm and a leg. And if someone has agreed to pay without questioning what's going on, then…

          • +21

            @brooksnk: That's an easy one - the work is definitely not worth $800 (or anything even close)!.

            • -5

              @bobbified: Thank you - seems like that is the consensus already (and what I suspected).

              • +10

                @brooksnk: It's hard to argue after already agreeing to pay the quoted amount.

                The "boyfriend" probably won't be able to get out of paying nothing at all, so for the sake of settling this quickly, he could probably try and negotiate with an aim to pay about half @$400 (which is still a sh.tload for the work that was done!).

                Then take it as a lesson learnt.

                • -13

                  @bobbified: Would likely breach multiple consumer guarantees - s 60,61 in particular. Doesn't necessarily matter thats what was quoted and agreed initially. (also s 18 MDC).

                  • +3

                    @brooksnk:

                    Would likely breach multiple consumer guarantees - s 60,61 in particular. Doesn't necessarily matter thats what was quoted and agreed initially. (also s 18 MDC).

                    But you're not seeking legal advice?
                    Yeah… right.

            • @bobbified: How much is it worth to you?

              • +2

                @tonsta: Truth be told, it's worth jack sh.t. It's a shoddy job done by a plumber who obviously has no experience fixing roofs. The plumbing company he's from shouldn't have even accepted a job to fix a leaking roof.

                • +1

                  @bobbified: Yeah stick with plumbing and leave the electrical work and roofing to concreters… lol

                  Did op mean to do this or are there no roofers around?

                  • @tonsta:

                    Did op mean to do this or are there no roofers around?

                    OP said that his "friend's" boyfriend told her to call a plumber.
                    (But he tells us that he's not the boyfriend).

                    I'm not sure how he's involved and I'm trying my best not to speculate! haha

            • @bobbified: Yep. This is not even to code. This is a temporary fix that will be a pain in the arse to remediate.

      • +6
        1. Yes then you agreed to the amount and also agreed to pay, so pay.
    • +17

      I advise everyone to ignore "friend" posts

      They are none of the posters business and we should not waste our time on them.
      If the friend needed advice Im sure they would obtain it.

      Regardless if you are not qualified, werent there and didnt complete the work, you have no idea what was involved and what the charge should be.

      • -1

        I advise everyone to ignore "friend" posts

        And yet post makes the top spot on the front page. Can you post advising people ignore posts about me asking for tech support? It would be much appreciated

        • I advise everyone to ignore "friend" posts

          I think s/he meant, take with a huge grant of salt.

  • +45

    Hard to argue when she accepted the quote without getting it itemized at the beginning

  • +15

    Ahh, the old silicone rubber scam. Looks like a mess and it is (a mess).
    Funnily enough though, it might well work, at least as a medium term stop gap until the roof panels can be repaired/replaced.
    But $800?
    Your "friend" has been had. Max $250 which is the $150 call out fee and $100 for shonky work

    • +15

      Lazy pricks didn't even bother using their finger to smooth out the silicon to make it look better lol.

      • They didn't even lap the ridge capping right

    • +4

      It’s a temp fix at best, yes it will stop the water temporarily, most likely a couple of years.

      It hasn’t been fixed correctly. They should have quoted the temp fix plus replacement of the sheet etc ….

      Then everyone would be happy. Not feeling ripped off and an eye sore…

    • +7

      bro in law was a roofer, they use a more expensive silicon from bunnings but thats pretty much the cheapest/quickest/easiest repair that can be done

      He probably would have charged about $250, didnt like to rip people off but you pretty much have to as a roofer, its either pissing down or blazing hot when people want work done.

  • +24

    Should have got a roofer to do the job properly and not a plumber. The leak is probably fixed until the silicon and water proofing membrane deteriorates from the sun.

    • Would like the think a significant difference between a busted roof and leaky/block pipes…

      • +6

        OP is lucky that's all the plumber did. I've seen enough videos where the plot goes a different way, and the person ends up getting screwed in other ways.

    • +1

      Roofing is one of the licensed classes that falls within the plumbing field, this is just shitty workmanship

  • +19

    Collect enough comments to show plumber OzB has spoken.

    But yeah, looks like a DIY job, a plumber doing a roofer's job… it shows.

    What's messed up is, the plumber accepting the job.

    • +13

      “If the only tool you have is a hammer plumber, you tend to see every problem as a nail pipe.”

      • +10

        you nailed it

        • you nailed drained it

    • +1

      Your comment should be higher.

      What was the plumber thinking of accepting a roof job?

      Unless they REALY needed to get paid?

      🤷‍♂️

      • +2

        I'm not a plumber… but $800 is $800

        • -1

          That's how scammers work

          • @JPerez: It's a pretty unconventional scam when the OP called the plumber!

            Be careful everybody inbound scam call centers might be on the rise.

  • +10

    Would you be more comfortable if the plumber did the same work but took 8 hours? You accepted the quote, and by all accounts the work has been done. $800 is a lot but you agreed to it!!

  • +4

    problem seems to be that the quote was accepted and the work has been done.
    The quote may be high, but doesn't matter if it was accepted.
    The work has been done, sure it's not pretty or 'professional' but it's done.
    Bottom line, not much can be done except write it down as experience and never use these tradies again.

  • +2

    what time was it done? what day was it done? some callout fees can be $450 before they even touch a tool

  • they pocketed that 8 hunjie in cash too without paying tax most likely

  • +7

    Calls 24 hour plumbing service The quote her $800 on the spot and 'fix' the job.

    That is pretty much the issue all 24 hour services are a rip off. I needed a plumber for a blocked pipe the first person wanted $300 just to show up let alone do anything.
    Pit falls are after hours rates and 24 hour places normally have every hour being charged at after hours rates even at 1pm. So if it wasn't 1am with a massive emergency then don't use 24 hour services. Pipe leaks at 1am turn water off at the main and call someone during standard business hours.

    The work looks shoddy - friend feels like she might be getting scammed/ripped off.

    Don't agree to the first person that offers to show up? I think it's a bit late to go this is a rip off.
    How bad was the original leak/s? Could it destroyed the house if left alone? If so then I think it's well worth it. You now have time to contact a roofer and get the corrugated iron panel replaced and the other thing looked at.

    • +3

      That is pretty much the issue all 24 hour services are a rip off.

      If there was no out call fee, no one would do it. No plumber wants to lose sleep for emergency work without getting paid for it. Would YOU appreciate getting called into work at 3AM out of the blue and only getting paid your standard rate? No? Then how come it's a 'rip off' when plumbers, locksmiths, EDs do it.

      • If I was paid for it I wouldn't give a damn. Tradies are the most overpaid profession in Australia.

        • So you'd work for the same base rate regardless of hour? How generous of you. If it's so lucrative, you should take it up.

      • +2

        Not the point I was making. I was saying 24 hour emergency call out people can charge the same rate as they do at 1PM as they do at 1AM as according to them they are always on call. Just because you work at 3am doesn't mean your happily rested at 8am the same day for "your normal day hours." So normal hours just don't exist to them hence why they charge more then a standard 8/9am to 4/5pm non emergency one.

        So unless it's a full blown emergency where the issue could destroy the house/kill someone then don't call 24 hour numbers if $ matter.
        Unless you want to spend time working through a list of prices as the first one will likely be a rip off. One of the questions they ask "have you called anyone else yet?"
        If you say no then here is our rip off price. Because in the case of the OP's friend people will go ok $800 good enough I guess.
        If you want to compare pairs.
        The rate I was quoted was $300 call out fee (3:50pm was the call time but they mentioned. Du"e to not being able to return home before 5pm the call out fee was classed as after hours and 50% more then normal") and $275 an hour unless it was completed with in 10 mins of arrival then they would only charge the call out fee. So up to $575 for hour vs the OPs friend $800.

        I fixed the issue while the person I live with was on the phone with them. So they went yay don't need you now bye.

        Would YOU appreciate getting called into work at 3AM out of the blue and only getting paid your standard rate? No?

        I have done not that much different from that. My max rate was $14.43 an hour (no special here is $300 in the quoted instance was 3:45pm) just to show up fee though) didn't matter if I started at 2pm or 11pm my job was out of the blue as well 11pm hey you need to be in at 11:30pm to work until Xam. So is it all that different? I even occasionally got to touch random people/animals poop as well.
        I happily did the job for the money. Was I getting ripped off? Most likely. My only other option was quit and live on $118.68 a month. So I took what I could get.

        • +1

          Call out is a call out. If they take odd jobs on short notice, it's fair to charge a premium, because that's the cost of them operating outside normal hours and not having the luxury of a neatly organised work day. My old job used to charge a standard fee, and a higher 'walk in fee.' If it's too rich for a client's blood, then make an appointment like everyone else. The OP was ripped off for bad work, not the concept of a call out fee.

  • +5

    It's an emergency 24 hour plumbing service so expect to pay a premium straight off the bat for that regardless of the quality of work.

    Your friend accepted the quote, so unless the roof is still leaking she should honour the agreement she entered into and pay up.

  • +1

    Just to add -

    • contacted plumber on Saturday when it was raining heavily.
    • chose company because needed emergency plumping for that day or sooner after.
    • ended up booking for Monday because of the Call-Out fee on Sundays which would also increase the price.
    • They cancelled on Monday because of circumstances 'out of their control', and rescheduled to Tuesday morning.
    • no emergency service was actually provided, and the job was completed 3 days after the initial call.
    • +12

      When they cancelled on Monday you could have (and probably should have) tried to get someone else in. But hopefully that's a lesson learnt.

      At this stage you could maybe ask them for a reduction but I don't like your chances since you agreed to the quote

  • +3

    That plumber obviously failed Playdough class at kindy !

    • +6

      Was too busy eating the Glue.

    • +1

      He passed playdough class as there are no holes left, but failed chemistry and Australian outback tin shed bake off 101.

      Got to love the lack of tin solder on the tin metal roof!

  • +6

    In all honesty, there's a price that you have to pay for convenience, in this case it was around $500 more than expected.

    Yes it happens, but you're not really in a position to argue when you've agreed on the quote and it was on a weekend.

  • +3

    You need to get a roofer to come and give you a quote to replace the gal sheet and the corner as they will only last until the heat of the gal causes the paint and clear silicon start to fail and then you will get water in the house….

    Get three roofing repair quotes and let them know you can send photo's of the issue if that helps them.

  • +18

    I think the biggest issue here is that your "friend" got the wrong tradie to do the job. This is not a job for a plumber, it's a job for a roofing contractor.

  • +2

    Fix it for her. Remove the old sheeting. Put new sheeting down. It just unscrews and all the hardware will cost maybe $200. Easy fix!!

  • +2

    Definitely a scam. An emergency job shouldnt take 3 days to complete, ask for the non emergency price, and a terrible job done on top of that.

    • +1

      Read the post again, especially "ended up booking for Monday because of the Call-Out fee on Sundays which would also increase the price."

  • +1

    Crazy calling a plumber for that :/ Should have got a roofer …

    • Yep.. must have been the water that caused the confusion. Can't wait until its time for a pool..

  • +10

    Calls 24hour emergency plumber..
    Gets quote
    Agrees to price

    Pay up.

    The End.

  • +2

    chose company because needed emergency plumping

    Well the roof definitely looks plumper

  • +3

    Travel (2 Hours) @ $60hour
    Min Charge (2 Hours) @$60hour
    Overheads $150
    Consumables $150

    Fair amount $540.00

    I personally think he did a decent job - can't do any better without replacing the sheets which is not what he was contracted to do. Emergency repair?

    • +1

      Membrane was done neatly enough, but that $20 tube of Sikaflex was spread more roughly than a 3yr old with Clag.

    • +1

      Plus if its through a 3rd party seo marketing website, that just distributes the leads, they pocket the rest for huge adwords and facebook ads budget.

    • +6

      Travel (2 Hours) @ $90hour
      Min Charge (2 Hours) @$180hour
      Overheads $150
      Consumables $150

      Fair amount $840

      Consumables is probably more like $50, but the plumbers taking $60 an hour home, the companys charging $180. She didnt call a local plumber, she called a plumbing business.

      • +3

        This is more accurate

    • +1

      Almost all trades would charge $100/h for travel

  • +9

    Couldn’t they fix it themselves? I had a damp spot on my ceiling, so when it stopped raining I climbed up with my silicone gun and found where the water was getting in. Wiped down the roof, siliconed it and it was fixed. Tin roofs are so easy to fix.

    The best part is it got done in a timely manner and I didn’t even charge myself a call out fee.

    • +6

      Hope you left yourself some good feedback too…

    • +3

      I didn’t even charge myself a call out fee.

      With that left over change you almost have a down payment for a Hilux for your next gig.

  • +4

    They accepted the quote and the plumber fixed the issue. Pay up. Otherwise, they will send you a demand letter i'd assume.

  • +2

    Plumbing 101- charge like a psychotic wounded bull for the crappiest and easiest jobs done poorly. I would argue against paying for it at all, looks like a dogs breakfast and will leak again!

  • +1

    Is appreciate that is not a suitable permanent fix and that I would not pay more than their standard call-out fee.

    Plumber's in this country are disgusting has been my experience.
    Had a friend charged $800 to add a second hose point for a second washing machine- the plumber just added a brass splitter, 1m house, brass stopper to the existing tap. The parts were $50 at Bunnings and anyone could have done it. How does a moral person charge that??

    • +6

      The parts were $50 at Bunnings and anyone could have done it.

      I don't disagree that $800 is an absolute ripoff for that, but if it's so easily done, then why didn't your friend just do it themselves in the first place? The truth is, he probably wouldn't have known where to start. Don't get me wrong - I'm not having a go at you and I am not defending this plumber at all, but sometimes, things look easy when you see other people doing it (or in hindsight). Most times, the "expert" has invested time and money to gain that knowledge and experience that is required to know what needs to be done and that (rightly so) forms part of their charge.

      • -5

        My friend was renting and didn't want problems with the landlord for unaccredited work. Still impossible to justify $800 for the work done. Plumbing isn't rocket science.

        • +8

          The landlord should have sorted this, not them

          • +2

            @SirMurduck: omg… the intelligence of OzB armchair experts is truly astounding.
            Why the hell would the landlord pay for a second hose point for a second washing machine?
            All they would do is approve the work as it's technically making alteration to the property.
            There is no way I or any landlord would pay for non-essential things like a second tap for second washing machine.

            • +2

              @dji1111111: I wouldn’t use my own trades person for anything lol, you can request things to be done to add value to the property. The above sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, if they flood the area they will be in the shit. But if they used the preferred contractor through the real estate I don’t think they would have pulled that crap on them

              • @SirMurduck: Why not stick to the actual scenario? No landlord is going to pay for additional tap to be installed for second washing machine. It doesn't add value to the property in any way whatsoever.

                • -1

                  @dji1111111: Yo - no one is saying the landlord is going to pay. Obviously tenant will. It's smart to get the work done by the Landlord's preferred trade and pay the invoice.

                  • @zeggie: Read his post word for word. He said the landlord should have sorted this.
                    Do you need help reading a simple sentence like that?

        • It isn’t rocket science but it’s definitely a sh*t job that lots won’t do. I had a mate who lifted off the sewer pipe and he said ‘ hey you smell that?!! You know what that smells like? …. Money’

  • Is the original ridge capping (not sure if that's the right term for metal roofs) done correctly? Looks like the horizontal capping is overlapped by one and overlaps one. I thought the horizontal capping would overlap the other two?

  • +7

    Itemised invoice:
    Materials: $20
    Knowing where to put them: $780.

    • +1

      Not knowing how to put them properly and make the job look neat: -$400

  • +2

    It looks like galvanised (or zincalume) roof sheets and lead flashing. They don't go together well as the lead will cause the sheets to corrode. After a few years there will be no roof under the flashing.

    • +1

      Could be the plastic stuff they use now. I’ve heard it termed something like whackaflex.

  • +1

    Wait a minute. Isn't this a Roofing Contractors job? As far as I know plumbers deal with the pipes.

    • +3

      Plumbers can do roofing work, and often do it in their routine work. Roof Plumbers often handle this sort of work, as well as installing evaporative air-cons, guttering, stormwater etc. Carpenters often do roofing work too. A lot of the skill is transferable. But it is one of those situations where the contractor has to decide if they’re able to do the work effectively, many people would have limited experience with this sort of work anyway.

  • +1

    there also looks to be a crack in the lead on the first pic that needs more silicon

  • So the person is renting anyway? Landlord would not have done much more than this. Are they getting reimbursed? They need to get it sorted.

    Getting a tradie to do a patching job is like Marco Pierre White cooking you chips

  • Pay $400 and tell him to chase the landlord for the other $400

  • If she agreed for the job and they finished the job I guess you gotta pay them. You can ofcourse check if the work is completed (no more leaking and all that). But for the amount itself I dont think there is much to argue as that had been agreed upon before. How long is took is out of the question if they are not charging by the hour.

  • the boyfriend could have gotten on the roof and put a tarp over it or done the sealing himself…definitely dodgy work.

  • Is she hot?

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