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Fake tradies and what you need to know when hiring a plumber

Be vigilant when hiring a tradesperson. An alarming scam in Melbourne, which saw an elderly man swindled out of $30,000 by British con-men working on his roof, has highlighted the dangers posed by fake tradies. Here are our top tips for avoiding a con and an explanation of our best practice approach to servicing our customers.

Recent reports on fake tradies have lifted the lid on how people around Australia have been parted from their money, intimidated and put at risk due to faulty and unfinished workmanship.

Be alert to the latest scams

  1. Be wary of people who doorknock offering home maintenance services, such as painting, roof or driveway repairs. Fair Trading NSW advises: “Ignore suspicious emails, letters, house visits, phone calls or SMS – press ‘delete’, throw them out, shut the door or just hang up.”
  2. Check with your local Consumer Affairs department which may post current updates on the location of fake tradies on Twitter or Facebook. Check out the @stoptravellingconmen Facebook page.
  3. Put the time into seeking out good tradespeople. Look for businesses that have been established for many years. Obtain referrals from other homeowners who are happy with their plumbing services and can confirm that the plumbers are punctual, skilled at their work, accurate with pricing and follow through with clean up.
  4. Ask to see evidence of qualifications and insurances.
  5. Don’t provide personal identification details such as passwords, a legitimate tradie won’t need them.
  6. If the job suddenly entails extra costs – such as the Melbourne rogue tradie scam which involved a fake fine of $20,000 for “asbestos offences” – immediately advise a relative or neighbour, pull the plug on the job, seek police help and report the details to Scamwatch.

Best Practice Plumbing Services provided by Curran Plumbing

At Curran Plumbing we have been in the business for more than 30 years and have built up a reputation for reliable professional services and won awards for our business credentials.

We take a customer first approach, so we know what you want when paying for a plumber, or what a customer might need when allowing a plumber onto the premises.

These are some best practice guidelines we follow that will help whenever you choose a plumber:

  • Long-established business with clear contact details provided
  • Good business credentials, such as a company history, awards and customer testimonials published on the company’s website
  • Flat-rate pricing that is transparent to customers
  • NSW Fair Trading Home Building Contracts for Work over $5,000 and up to $20,000
  • Qualified plumbing staff with professional standards
  • Dedicated customer service operator to back up the professional plumbing staff
  • Security measures such as texting/emailing photo of the professional so you know who to expect on your premises.
  • Follow up from the company to confirm satisfactory completion of job.

Reporting scams

Scammers are getting more sophisticated. Some fraudulent tradies have professional looking signage and flyers that carry industry standard logos, Australian Business Numbers (ABN) and Australian Company Numbers (ACN). Others ‘rogue tradies’ have acquired fake qualifications – the police recently busted a criminal enterprise that provided bogus qualifications to dodgies during Sydney’s property market boom.

If you have been conned, or find a tradie’s offerings suspect and don’t want more vulnerable residents to be exposed to their scams, be proactive.

Follow these steps:

  • Record as much information as you can, such as the tradie’s name and vehicle registration
  • Keep flyers and paperwork such as receipts
  • Report any incidents to the national travelling con men hotline on 1300 133 408 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
  • Report rogue tradies to your local police
  • Let neighbours know of suspicious activity in the local area

As an industry leader, Curran Plumbing prides itself on maintaining and promoting the best standards in our industry.

Contact us today for all your plumbing work.

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