26 September 2023

Dodgy plumbers leaking into the system

Start the conversation

Consumer Protection is warning the public to make a wise choice when engaging plumbing services.

This follows a high number of complaints and enquiries being received against a few rogue operators in Perth.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Gary Newcombe said so far this year his office had 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,” Mr Newcombe said.

“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.”

He said a significant proportion of the complaints and enquiries related to a few plumbing companies that, in some cases, also provided 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.”

He said it was essential that consumers got a second opinion and at least one more quote to make sure they were not being misled by the original diagnosis of the problem and that the estimated cost of repairs was reasonable.

“Tradespeople who are invited to a home just to quote, or recommend extra work be carried out, need to observe a 10-business-day cooling off period as this is regarded as an unsolicited sale under Consumer Law,” the Commissioner said.

“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.”

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.