- 60 complaints received from unhappy and concerned Perth consumers
- Issues include excessive pricing, misleading advice and poor quality of work
- Seek out multiple quotes and check the person is licensed to do the work
Consumers are being cautioned by Consumer Protection and Building and Energy to make a wise choice when engaging plumbing services, with a high number of complaints and enquiries being received against a few rogue operators in Perth.
So far this year Consumer Protection has received 60 complaints and about 200 enquiries from home owners concerned about excessive pricing, misleading representations and quality of work.
Building and Energy oversees plumbing compliance issues, including workmanship and licensing matters. Around 900 actions are taken each year for plumbing and gas fitting work, including rectification orders, warnings and infringements. Around a quarter of these matters relate to unlicensed personnel.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said a significant proportion of the complaints and enquiries relate to a few plumbing companies that, in some cases, also provide electrical and gas fitting services.
“While the vast majority of plumbing and electrical companies in Perth do the right thing by their customers, there are a few who we are working with to improve their business practices and resolve complaints,” Mr Newcombe said.
“Excessive pricing or upselling is one the main issues where advice is given about additional work required to be carried out that might in some cases involve the consumer spending thousands of extra dollars.
“It’s essential that consumers get a second opinion and at least one more quote to make sure they are not being misled by the original diagnosis of the problem and that the estimated cost of repairs is reasonable.
“We’d be keen to hear from any home owner who believes they have been misled about the necessity of the extra work that is recommended.
“Tradespeople who are invited to a home just to quote, or recommend extra work be carried out, need to observe a ten business day cooling off period as this is regarded as an unsolicited sale under consumer law.
“Quality of work issues can be dealt with by ensuring that the plumber, electrician or gas fitter holds a specific licence for each of their work activities.”
Building and Energy Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan encourages consumers to check the plumber is licensed via the “licence search” function at dmirs.wa.gov.au or by asking to see their licence card.
“Incorrect or uncertified plumbing work can cause property damage and compromise public health and safety,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.
“By law, water supply, sanitary and drainage plumbing work must only be carried out by a licensed plumber. All major plumbing work requires certification and the plumber must provide a copy of this to the home owner within five working days.
“Licence holders must only provide advice, quotes and work in their registered field. For example, a plumber or gas fitter should not be assessing electrical installations, and vice versa. We have prosecuted people for this type of conduct. If anyone conducts an electrical assessment at your property without holding an electrical licence, please immediately report the matter to Building and Energy.”
Consumers who believe they have been misled by a plumber, or believe they have been denied their right to a cooling off period, should lodge an online complaint on the Consumer Protection website or email email@example.com or call 1300 30 40 54.
To report concerns about defective or unlicensed plumbing work, contact Building and Energy on 1300 489 099 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact – Consumer Protection:
Alan Hynd, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / email@example.com
Media Contact – Building & Energy:
Sarah Roberts, 0466 409 828 / firstname.lastname@example.org