Overcharged by plumber

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    Overcharged by plumber

    My trusty old plumber has retired and I’ve been trying a few new ones last year or so and haven’t had a good honest reliable plumber to replace my old one. I used a new guy who is quite active in the area and I thought had a good rep. Had a small smell of gas near meter in outside cupboard and he replaced the original iron pipe under the ground with 5m of copper pipe. Comes down in the cupboard, runs along outside wall for 3m and in to the boiler. Afterwards still had a drop and turned out the pressure regulator on meter was leaking so work was probably unnecessary unfortunately. Anyway, didn’t agree a price beforehand but if was 5m of copper pipe and not terribly involved. He was there for maybe half a day. There were 2 plumbers but it must have been a slow day and only really a 1 man job. Got the bill and it’s £637! I phoned him and said this must be a mistake and it’s only £50 odd materials and he said no it’s a lot more than that and going to itemise bill for me but it’s unbelievable. I would have thought £300 has expensive but £637 is a joke. I’m considering getting a few over quotes for the work and paying him a reasonable amount for the work and suggest he claims for the remainder so that it can go before an arbitrator.

    any advice on the above situation? I know I should have got a price beforehand but looking online as we didn’t agree an inflated price he can only charge a reasonable amount for the work. Thanks

    #2
    Plumbers are the least dependable and most expensive tradesmen IMO. Just because they 'can do gas', they seem to think they are in the driving seat. Too many want to 'replace that boiler', rather than fix it and try to avoid quoting for jobs once they have turned up, because they expect you to give them the job anyway!

    I reckon around 1 in 5 might still be prepared to do a days work for a days wages!

    Comment


      #3
      Hmmm...If you have asked them to review the invoice and they refuse, I would find out if they have a website. Then, I would write an "appropriate" review, serving as a warning to their future customers. This may not help you financially, but it won't do their reputation any good! Good luck. Mrs Dee.

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        #4
        Thanks for the replies so far. Having done a little reading it seems as a price wasn’t agreed then the work has to cost a reasonable amount. If I had agreed to £637 then that’s one thing but they can’t deliberately not discuss price and then charge an unreasonably high price afterwards. It seems I can get a few quotes and find out what’s fair and then pay that and invite them to smalll claims me for the rest. Then an independent arbitrator can look at it and decide if it’s fair or not.

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          #5
          Was he Gas Safe registered?
          Did you check?
          You can't just pay what YOU think is rrasonable unless you first got a written quote.It is a trade dispute, so act accordingly. Report him to TS if nec.
          Surely you retired plumber could have suggested a more suitable plumber?

          Comment


            #6
            If I had got a written quote for £637 then I would have agreed to that price and have to pay it.
            Reading online about consumer protection if someone does work where the price isn’t agreed then it has to be reasonable charge. If I obtain several quote from other gas safe plumbers (he was gas safe) and they are all a lot less then apparently that is what a reasonable cost should be. It to protect people from what has happened. They have done the work and then massively inflated the price hoping I will pay. If I get other quotes and find out what the average cost would be then pay that they can make a claim for the remainder. This means it wld go before an arbitrator to decide what was reasonable. This wasn’t a difficult job. It was 5m of pipe fitting. Yes he had to be has safe but unless he’s on £1200 a day it’s massively inflated.

            Comment


              #7
              Hi Jackboy,

              Did you instruct the gas engineer in writing to proceed with the works?

              If you did not ask for a quote or a price before proceeding, then it would more then likely be seen as you have instructed them, regardless of price.

              It is irrelevant of the cost, it depends how you instructed the person. Also consider if you left a voicemail, text and whatsapp, as these could be seen as evidence of you instructing the work.

              Good Luck.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks for the reply. Having closely read the legislation if the price is not agreed before hand then the subsequent charge must be reasonable and what is reasonable is a question of fact. I have spoken to several engineers since and they all charge about £50 and hour and so did the guy I used so the hourly rate is reasonable. The 3 I spoke to didn’t mark up the materials. The guy I used marked up all the materials in some cases by 500% and a minimum of 250%. To mark up materials by 500% does not seem reasonable. There are other issues such as being charged for 2 lengths of 22mm pipe and then also charged for couplers to join smaller pieces together when 1 length would have done it. It doesn’t seem reasonable to charge for a new length and then also charge to join offcuts together when the new length would have spanned the distance. The 3 other engineers said no more than 3-4 hours work. The guy I used is claiming 2 fitters at 4.5 hours and 3 hours. The ex vat base cost to the engineer for materials is £54 but he charged me £118 and doubled up on the hours by having 2 fitters there. The work also turned out to be almost certainly unnessary as the new pipe didn’t fix the leak but transco changing the pressure regulator did. I wasn’t happy with the misdiagnosis and the work wasn’t certificated although I do know they are gas safe. Put altogether I’m just not happy with the whole idea of unnessary work, 2 fitters on site as it’s a slow day and the massive mark up on materials to create an invoice double what others would charge.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Could you pay a reasonable amount (setting out why) in full and final settlement and tell them not to cash it if they do not agree but return the cheque? I have done similar in the past.
                  Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by islandgirl View Post
                    Could you pay a reasonable amount (setting out why) in full and final settlement and tell them not to cash it if they do not agree but return the cheque? I have done similar in the past.
                    That is a very good suggestion, thank you. I have written a letter explaining exactly why I think the charge is excessive and my complaint regarding the work turning out to be unnessary. I was planning on doing a bank transfer for what I calculated to be a reasonable amount but I do like the cheque idea and he can reject and claim for the full amount if he prefers or accept the cheque and settle. Good idea, thanks

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Good luck! It has worked for me before. I always write on the back of the cheque also that it is paid IN FULL AND FINAL SETTLEMENT OF ALL MATTERS BETWEEN US. Ensure the letter tells him to return the cheque if he does not agree.
                      Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Had leak in house recently under concrete floor luckily just vinyl down in kitchen area so that up and eventually found leak replaced the full length to be on safe side about 3 mtr then sleeved it and concrete back on top. Its not the best screed job but looks ok cost £295 took him all day. Also did new cp12 and serviced boiler while there. Suppose it depends massively on area for costings
                        Sorry he had someone with him but guess more of an apprentice

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Great idea there from Islandgirl and I would top it up by reporting to HMRC as needing investigation. I take it he was not VAT registered or charging VAT.



                          Freedom at the point of zero............

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                            #14
                            The plumber I normally use now charges "Travelling Time" I rang him to say that we had an overflowing cistern. He said he would call in on his way home. He was 12 miles North of my house and lived 5 miles South of my house. I even went to the plumbers merchant to get a Ball Cock so all he had to do is fit it.
                            Took him just under half an hour.
                            Get a bill for £40. That's £80 an hour, And he did it on his way home at 5.30 pm. So its not as if he did an emergency call out.
                            Perhaps I should go to Night School for plumbing.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              yes always ask for quote prior to having works done -
                              I was lucky having a gas safe engineer who does work for me and hes reasonable and one for a 'backup' also another plumber guy who does other things like fix radiators and the like for a tenner here and there or a bottle of Baileys -
                              I would ask the one who you used to use the retired one has he got any friends who can do work also would he be willing to do a few odd jobs which dont need the gas safe register ie fixing leaks -

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