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What If Your Plumber Makes Mistakes?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 21 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Plumber Plumbing Plumbing Problems Pipes

Plumbers have a reputation not only for charging a lot, but doing most jobs very quickly and gleefully claiming their full money. Even if it’s something as simple as replacing a washer on a tap, you still end up paying for a full hour of their time.

That can seem frustrating, but the truth is that good plumbers are in short supply, and always busy (you’ll never see a poor plumber!). They’re very skilled, and the work can be demanding. When you have plumbing problems in your kitchen or bathroom, however, that’s a good thing. You don’t want some cowboy coming in and working on your pipes. A defect in that can leave leaking plumbing and a house deep in water.

Finding A Good Plumber

It’s not always easy to find a good plumber – all too often the first time we look for one is when we have an emergency plumbing problem, a leak or heavy drop, and then we want it fixed immediately.

You’ll find plenty of plumbers in the phone book, but that alone doesn’t mean they’re good. However, there are steps you can take to sort the plumbing wheat from the chaff.When you talk to the plumber there are several basic questions to ask. How long have they been in business – for obvious reasons, the longer the better. What references can they provide (and if it’s not an emergency, follow up on them). Are they insured? That’s vital, because it means that if a problem occurs, then your property – and those surrounding it – is covered. Is their work guaranteed, and preferably with a guarantee backed by insurance? Do they belong to any trade organisations? If they say yes, don’t simply take them at their word – check. If it’s the Association of Heating and Plumbing Contractors, that’s best of all. Not only do they have a code of practice (as do all trade bodies), but if for some reason your plumber vanishes or goes out of business whilst doing your work, another member will finish the job for you (but – and this is important – only if your original plumber followed their code of practice).

Find out their charges, not just the hourly rate, but also if there’s a call-out fee, which is the case with many plumbers. If the job isn’t urgent, solicit estimates from several plumbers. Likewise, find out when they would be able to begin and would expect to finish.

Where extensive materials are involved – in a new bathroom or kitchen, for instance – you might well have to pay some money upfront, at the very least a deposit. Beware, however, if the plumber demands the full fee before beginning work. Agree on a price for the job before any work begins.

You should also have a contract with the plumber, stating costs, time frame and guarantees. This works in your own interests, although it’s not mandatory to ensure your consumer rights with plumbers?

What If The Finished Plumbing Isn’t Good?

What do you do if the finished plumbing simply isn’t good enough, the pipes leak or you still experience plumbing problems? Talk to the plumber; if he’s reputable he’ll fix the problem at no extra cost.

What should you reasonably expect from a plumber? As with any tradesman, that the work is done within a “reasonable” time frame, with proper skill, and at a “reasonable” cost.

If that doesn’t work and he belongs to a trade body, complain to them, and they will work to find a resolution; that’s part of their job.

Ultimately, you can take the plumber to court – unless it’s a big job, small claims court should suffice, and the charge to file there is minimal. Keep records and take photographs of the job as it progresses that you can present as evidence.

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We had a new boiler installed 2 months ago and the company were going to send an extended guarantee for 5 years. Still waiting 2 months later. Getting worried as I’m being fobbed off contstantly. Have called over 10 times with promises they’ll sort it and get back to me but no one does. We spent a lot of money on the boiler and am worried in case anything goes wrong. What can I do??
Andy - 21-Oct-17 @ 9:33 PM
Had a new shower tray fitted on 9 November 2016 and last week a crack appeared In the tray running from the door towards the centre of the tray. The plumber who fitted it has just been round and mumbled under his breath that he should have put a central support structure in place when he fitted it. Is the tray faulty or is the plumber admitting bad workmanship? Question is he responsible for replacing and fitting new shower tray and making good any damage caused by his lack of structural support
Russo - 19-Oct-17 @ 8:53 PM
Sam - Your Question:
Hi. We have received a water bill from Thames water for £12k and been informed by them that there is a leak under our property. We had a plumber do some work a while back and fear he was caused a leak - what can we do firstly the cost to find the leak and then the huge water bill? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Our Response:
Get an independent surveyor or plumber to take a look (get recommendations from your local trading standards). If the leak has been caused by the original plumber, you may have to consider the courts to recover your costs.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 18-Oct-17 @ 3:39 PM
Miapop - Your Question:
My plumber has replaced all pipes in my house, but says he can’t lag them because of health and safety! Is this true?

Our Response:
Not as far as we are aware. Check with your water company, local building control department or the HSE.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 18-Oct-17 @ 3:22 PM
Hi. We have received a water bill from Thames water for £12k and been informed by them that there is a leak under our property. We had a plumber do some work a while back and fear he was caused a leak - what can we do firstly the cost to find the leak and then the huge water bill? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Sam - 17-Oct-17 @ 5:26 PM
My plumber has replaced all pipes in my house, but says he can’t lag them because of health and safety! Is this true?
Miapop - 17-Oct-17 @ 9:12 AM
Amy - Your Question:
I hired a plumbing company to add a bathroom in my house and with a permit of course the plummer came over and he did horrible job and didn't show the permit although it's written in my contract and he did a lot of damage in the ceiling to hang the pipes.he removed a lot of walls and he did cuts around the house without needs for it he also added the wrong diminution of the pipes 1/2 instead of 3/4.Now the company is asking me not to pay for their job as long as I don't ask them to repair any damages They also didn't apply for the permit in the first place.What can I do now?

Our Response:
Can you get someone else to rectify the situation with the money that you would have used to pay the company who did it badly?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 16-Oct-17 @ 12:54 PM
I've had a bathroom fitter to knock my toilet and bathroom together and put in a bath.Set quote was £2000.3 weeks work.He asked if I could pay him 7,7,6 as he progressed I thought it would be ok.Insurance company checked his liability cover and employee cover limit and said he could start when ready. 3 weeks in and miles behind he tried to put me on a day rate,I refused and refused last payment till work completed. 6 weeks in he hadleft us without a toilet for 4 days,no shower or bath sink for 4 weeks. Said he was finished on week 6 and wanted final payment and started to take his things out and I could see what a mess it was. 25 faults above ground,(wrong connectors,destroyed shower tray,Door on upside down,normal board in shower,normal grout in shower,electric cable from old towel rail plaster under new wall I don't know if it's live still or if the other end either connected in the wall as a trip switch was off for the upstairs on the last Thur.He said it was nothing to do with him,nothing is connected other than a slow leaking toilet the list is endless. On Friday I gave him the last of his kit and gave him a list of the things needed doing which I wanted him to pay for when I knew how much it cost -the value of his work. Nobody wants to touch it and can't get anyone to quote. Managed to get a handyman round who said with all the faults above ground I shouldn't turn anything on as you couldn't trust the pipework,nothing is finished to turn on anyway. Im a single mum I have a 13 year old,still no shower ,bath or sink.No family so no help their. Insurance won't help Zits my fault I booked a cowboy other than help from the legal team as I have cover. CAB know and have said they will pass to trading standards.Everything need taking out and starting again especially all the pipework and things like the shower replacing.I used the my credit card& debit card to by items and stupidly paid cash which I'd been saving forever. No idea what to do now.Cant keep sending us both outside for a shower with hugs at 5am ?? Any advice would be appreciated I'm really at a loss :(
Tennisnutsmum - 15-Oct-17 @ 12:11 PM
I hired a plumbing company to add a bathroom in my house and with a permit of course the plummer came over and he did horrible job and didn't show the permit although it's written in my contract and he did a lot of damage in the ceiling to hang the pipes ..he removed a lot of walls and he did cuts around the house without needs for it he also added the wrong diminution of the pipes 1/2 instead of 3/4. Now the company is asking me not to pay for their job as long as I don't ask them to repair any damages They also didn't apply for the permit in the first place. What can I do now?
Amy - 14-Oct-17 @ 4:55 AM
Hi We have been having issues with our oil boiler. We kept losing pressure whenever we had the heating on or hot water. After nearly having to admit defeat when the plummer couldnt find anything wrong and buy a new boiler we managed to locate the problem (Plastic join). Plummer came out and changed it but then boiler wouldnt turn off. Plummer said he would order a thermostat thing as that is probably the cause now. Due to it being late on a friday we agreed that we would be without heating and hot water until the next day (Sat). He was unable to source the part within the UK so had to order it in. Got told he would be back Monday. Didnt arrive monday, got told he would come back tuesday, Van broke down trying to deliver part on tuesday. Got told he would come round Wednesday and how sorry he was. No answer on wednesday. Its now thursday and he is still not answering. We have been without heating and hot water for nearly a week with a special needs child who needs a wash every night (Been boiling kettle and flannel washing). I know that if we get someone else in then it is classed as an emergency call out so the cost will be a lot andthen the new plummer will need to try and figure out what the original plummer has done as he was messing around with some of the electric connectors to see if we could still get hot water while waiting for the part. Feel completely let down and unsure of the next move to take. Any help would be greatly received
kelly986 - 5-Oct-17 @ 10:50 AM
Sally Hayes - Your Question:
We had a well regarded plumber replace our bathroom taps. However, he didn't connect the overflow on the bathtubs and water poured through the kitchen ceiling. He came out and fixed the overflow and asked him to arrange to get the ceiling repaired. He said he would but ignored all attempts to contact him until I posted on a local FB page asking for advice ( I didn't mention his name) He then got in touch, asked me to take the message down, and told me to get a quote and he would pay. We got a plasterer out and he told us that in order to repair the ceiling a row of top kitchen cupboards would need removing.so the total cost would be £500. The plumber said it was too expensive and it would have to go through his PL insurance.and that he would send me the details. Needless to say , he hasn't.what can I do ?

Our Response:
If he refuses to give you his insurance details, you may have to consider the small claims courts as your next step.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:47 PM
We had a well regarded plumber replace our bathroom taps. However, he didn't connect the overflow on the bathtubs and water poured through the kitchen ceiling. He came out and fixed the overflow and asked him to arrange to get the ceiling repaired . He said he would but ignored all attempts to contact him until I posted on a local FB page asking for advice ( i didn't mention his name) He then got in touch, asked me to take the message down, and told me to get a quote and he would pay. We got a plasterer out and he told us that in order to repair the ceiling a row of top kitchen cupboards would need removing...so the total cost would be £500. The plumber said it was too expensive and it would have to go through his PL insurance...and that he would send me the details. Needless to say , he hasn't ...what can I do ?
Sally Hayes - 24-Sep-17 @ 9:00 PM
anniebell45 - Your Question:
I had a plumber come to change my immersion heater he said that it had been leaking for a while and corroded around the top I was down stairs and heard him banging and then he came down said sorry I've cracked your tank it's going to cost £200 -£300 for you to replace it am I liable to pay as if the corrosion was that bad surely he should of left it now I have no boiler and no hot water

Our Response:
We don't really know enough about the job to comment on this. You said he'd come to replace it anyway because it was corroded? You may need to talk to your home insurer about this or consider taking the plumber to the small claims court.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 19-Sep-17 @ 11:22 AM
I had a plumber come to change my immersion heater he said that it had been leaking for a while and corroded around the top I was down stairs and heard him banging and then he came down said sorry I've cracked your tank it's going to cost £200 -£300 for you to replace it am I liable to pay as if the corrosion was that bad surely he should of left it now I have no boiler and no hot water
anniebell45 - 17-Sep-17 @ 12:30 PM
boiler pressure goes down leak on the pipe work under the floor on a new installation. Found the problem 3 week after work completed. Plumber came back told us to give access as I have put new lamented flooring. Who is responsible on removing the flooring any advice please thanks
Say - 9-Sep-17 @ 10:55 PM
Plumber - Your Question:
Plumber came my house to replaced a new cylinder from that time I had a problems with hot water pressure already 2 months and he still not fixed my problem.I tried to contact him but not respond to me I paid 700 pounds and I'm still without hot water.Can please let me know what I should do Thanks

Our Response:
You may have to take legal action. Firstly send a letter to his address informing him about this. If there's no response, make an application to the small claims court.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 8-Sep-17 @ 1:41 PM
Plumber came my house to replaced a new cylinder from that time I had a problems with hot water pressure already 2 months and he still not fixed my problem. I tried to contact him but not respond to me I paid 700 pounds and I'm still without hot water. Can please let me know what I should do Thanks
Plumber - 7-Sep-17 @ 8:05 PM
I had a plumber come do me a boiler . Good work no complaints . Then as part of the job he had a shower and a black glass top vanity unit . He dented the door on vanity unit anded edge off , the shower leaks and has from day 1 in June . He blames better bathrooms but the instructions say 2-3 people to install . He did it by himself . There is silicone squirted everywhere . He has scuffed all wall paint and the shower still leaks today , then the black glass sink and toilet top he silicones it with WHITE silicone so blobs can be seen through the glass . I will be taking this guy to court
Beetter man - 31-Aug-17 @ 1:20 AM
Plumber came to replace shower faucets and head. I purchased the set from Home Depot. After the plumber completed the job I find the shower head leaks.The plumber wants full payment and refused to fix the leak. And will charge me an extra fee for removing the new faucet and fixing the leak.What should I do
Worried - 11-Aug-17 @ 5:03 AM
I'm redoing my bathroom, put in a new toilet the drain pipe hole is not center in the drain pipe. Now my new toilet keeps leaking. My plumber says he's never seen this before. We built my house it is 29 years old. Can I go back the the company who did the plumbing?
Betz - 16-Jul-17 @ 1:56 PM
Hi there Recently refurbished my bathroom,there were issues about his work.First he mixed up wrong water pipes in shower bath and second there is bad smell coming through toilet. I made full payment to him by cash and now he is not responding to my phone. Please let me know what to do
Garry - 16-Jul-17 @ 1:20 AM
We moved into our house December of 2016, the house had previously been bought by a builder who had never lived in the property, but had completely renovated it, including commissioning a plumber to install a new gas central heating system and combi boiler, a gas hob, two bathrooms and a downstairs cloakroom (this work was done in August of 2016). The day after we moved in, I could smell gas, so called British Gas, who sent an engineer out immediately, and he found the the gas pipe that was connected to the gas hob was leaking, he fixed this free of charge. During our first week in the house water started leaking from the boiler, we called an emergency plumber who found that the water was coming from the central heating overflow (which was inside of the house next to the boiler and should have been on the outside of the house) also the water input tap was still attached to the heating system loop and turned on and the valve was faulty, he repaired this, and put the overflow pipe to the outside (which I understand is a legal requirement) however, within a few days the pressure started dropping on the combi boiler and therefore the heating would not come on until we topped up central heating with water. I rang the plumber who installed the system (who is based around 100 miles away from our house) and explained the situation and he just said that when he left the property the overflow was installed on the outside of the house (meaning that somebody must have altered this) and the heating system was fine, and that if there were any problems this must have been caused by somebody else after he installed it. (although the house was empty until we moved in, in December, so this seems very unlikely) he also said he was confident everything was fine with the system as it had been signed off by the gas safe people. He asked me to text him my email address and promised to email me with details of who I should contact in case the boiler was faulty as this was still under guarantee, Ihave never heard from him since! So,having got nowhere with the plumber who installed the system in the first place, we asked our local plumber to investigate the leak problem which causes the heating system to loose pressure, and he has twice added a sealant to the system which gave a limited improvement for a short time, however six months on we are still having problems, so our plumber now feels that there is no choice, but to start lifting carpets and floorboards in order to find the leak.Our carpets were all newly fitted just before we bought the house, and we have a large kitchen/diner which is tiled so this is going to cause major disruption and cost. We have also had a problem with a leak from a water pipe to an upstairs bathroom, which meant again that we had to call a plumber to fix this.In order to do this he has had to cut a hole in kitchen ceiling to access the pipe (as the bathroom is completely tiled, so no easy access from there) So far
ellabella - 11-Jul-17 @ 9:43 PM
We had a new bathroom fitted just over 2 years ago and at first it was fine.About 6 months ago it started leaking but I have an emergency insurance policy and the plumber called out fixed the issue but stated the run on the shower waste was wrong and may cause issues.Several months later the shower stopped draining and again another plumber stated it was down to the run on the shower waste pipe which in his opinion was a lazy job by the original plumber and required to be put under the floor and totally re plumbed.I cannot find any numbers to recontact the original plumber and do not know if he is even still trading.What can I do?
MikeA - 11-Jul-17 @ 1:28 PM
We live in a housing association property,we had a refit carried out on our disabled wet room which should have taken 10 days but took 2 months. on completion we kept finding wet patches onthehallway carpet. which at a later date we found out was from seals which they had neglected to put on the toilet waste pipe.resulting in the whole of the wet room having to be ripped out and the hallway carpet and floor. also they had left off seals on the electric shower which was nearlyfull of water and posed chances of electrocution. The smell was unbearable when the floor was taken up and it stunk out he whole property all three floors of the flats. I have asked for compensation was I right
johnno - 11-Jul-17 @ 9:56 AM
We had a bathroom fitted about 15 months ago.After it was fitted the plumber had to come back and rectify a number of issues, the shower door was on the wrong way, the bath screen had been cracked and the bath taps had a problem and it required the bath being removed to fix.Since then the sealant and grouting on the shower have cracked and worn away.The bath taps have started leaking again as they did before and the shower is now leaking, both into the kitchen.We have contacted the fitter and he is reluctant to help.He no longer lives in the area and thinks it has been too long.We feel that as the problem with the bath has reoccurred again and the shower has worn so quickly, he should accept some liability.Two separate plumbers have also told us they think we should be contacting him to have him pay for repairs.Are we being unreasonable in hoping forhim to pay for it?Thank you
M - 7-Jul-17 @ 7:56 PM
GG - Your Question:
I asked a plumber to install a electric water plumb for a power shower. He said he will work together with a electrician. He came to fix the water plumb under the bath and install a electric switch. When he opened the water, the trembling noise came out and non-stop. The noise stop when the water is turn off. He said it work with the loud noise.He said that the electrician will come to text the plumb and issue a safe certificate. He asked for cash but refused to give me a receipt. I paid him all the fees.He left and refused to answer my call or text. The electrician didn't come. There is not such electrician. The plumber do the electric himself and I am afraid to use the plumb as the switch is still hanging outside the wall. What can I do to get back the money. He is a Gas safe registered plumber but work like a " Cow Boy"

Our Response:
Unfortunately to get your money back now that you have paid (and without a receipt), you may need to consider court action via the small claims court.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 4-Jul-17 @ 2:25 PM
I asked a plumber to install a electric water plumb for a power shower. He said he will work together with a electrician. He came to fix the water plumb under the bath and install a electric switch. When he opened the water, the trembling noise came out and non-stop. The noise stop when the water is turn off. He said it work with the loud noise. He said that the electrician will come to text the plumb and issue a safe certificate. He asked for cash but refused to give me a receipt. I paid him all the fees. He left and refused to answer my call or text. The electrician didn't come. There is not such electrician. The plumber do the electric himself and I am afraid to use the plumb as the switch is still hanging outside the wall. What can I do to get back the money. He is a Gas safe registered plumber but work like a " Cow Boy"
GG - 3-Jul-17 @ 10:48 PM
JW - Your Question:
HiMy cellar was filling with water so I called an emergency plumber. He mis-diagnosed the problem as a broken hot water cylinder, although admitted it was difficult to ascertain, which I agreed as I couldn't see any source of the water. we agreed for him to change it. he completed the work, which appeared fine and more water came. The problem then got worse the next day (an overflow pipe started overflowing, possibly new from the initial work) and I had to call another plumber. He pumped the water out and the ball valve. The water is still going into the cellar and together they have now suggest another solution.What are my rights when they have misdiagnosed the issue but have completed work? I have paid for the previous work but the problem was not fixed.

Our Response:
We don't really have enough information to advise on this but sometimes if a problem cannot easily be spotted - various fixes have to be attempted to establish what the actual cause is.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 21-Jun-17 @ 12:31 PM
Hi My cellar was filling with water so I called an emergency plumber.He mis-diagnosed the problem as a broken hot water cylinder, although admitted it was difficult to ascertain, which I agreed as I couldn't see any source of the water.we agreed for him to change it.he completed the work, which appeared fine and more water came.The problem then got worse the next day (an overflow pipe started overflowing, possibly new from the initial work) and I had to call another plumber.He pumped the water out and the ball valve.The water is still going into the cellar and together they have nowsuggest another solution. What are my rights when they have misdiagnosed the issue but have completed work? I have paid for the previous work but the problem was not fixed.
JW - 19-Jun-17 @ 3:30 PM
We had 2 bathrooms fitted 18 months ago. Bathroom design by shop designers and they sub contract fitters to their customers! We've noticed a large increasing leak beneath one of the bathrooms which we cannot access as the bath is tiled all round the sides with no access in. The plumber is away on holiday but the shop said neither they or the plumbers will pay for repairs after 1 year! Any advice for is please?
Mols - 2-Jun-17 @ 10:44 PM
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