Experts warn of uptick in plumbing scams before cold weather arrives

Experts warn of uptick in plumbing scams before cold weather arrives

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Plumbers across the Tri-State say they are seeing an uptick in cases where customers are getting scammed when it comes to having work done in or around their homes.

The reports come as people are scrambling to get work done before it gets cold as well as getting their houses fixed up before the holidays.

“Mostly, we get sent out - you see a lot of drain cleaning calls like that," explains Ryan Harlen, Plumber with Schlueter Plumbing. "They have called a plumber to go out for really cheap and they’ll poke a hole in the drain and then a couple days later, it’s backed up again.”

It is the time of year when plumbing companies are beginning to see a rush of calls before the holidays.

People are trying to get the work done themselves or hiring a handyman that is not a licensed professional, according to some experts.

“I think there’s some contractors out there, and I hate to even call them contractors, there’s people out there that are unscrupulously saying they can do things. They’re not certified, they don’t have licenses and typically when we come across that, a lot of times it’s someone acting as a general contractor, or they say they can do plumbing while they’re putting your flooring down and stuff like that,” said Nathan Hudelson, Owner of Schlueter Plumbing.

Some things you should be looking for are making sure the person you hired has a camera so they can fully show you what repairs they are doing.

Also, check for liability insurance, check reviews, and plumbing licensing.

If the work is in Hamilton or Butler County, the plumbing company should be bonded through the health department.

As for red flags, Hudelson says when the money is collected is something to watch for.

“I would be concerned with any contractor that is trying to get a majority of the money upfront," said Hudelson. "Most of your legit contractors, they want to do some work before they collect money.”

Getting it done the right way first helps you and the person you are hiring.

“They hack a bunch of stuff together and we got to mostly start from scratch and start over and it costs the customer more money to do it right the second time than the first time,” said Harlen.

Donna Devillez has been scammed in the past. She says that is why she likes to do things herself.

“Google is the best information," said Devillez. "If you’re able to do it go on Google, Google what you need done. They will walk you through it do videos and it’s very simple. I have a husband and especially my son-in-law that can do all this so yup we do it ourselves unless it’s something we can’t do.”

Also, experts said the best trick is to find out if you’re being scammed is to simply do the gut check. Does it seem like the person is just trying to sell you something or are they doing what’s in your best interest?

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