Overcharging to tighten nut?

Overcharging to tighten nut?

9:23 AM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago 34

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I asked a plumber I have used before to check a leaking radiator at my tenants house as soon as he could. Four days later he turned up, tightened the valve connection and left, 2 minutes maximum my tenant tells me. nut

I have now received his invoice for £90 to “tighten a nut”. Should I swallow this charge, send him £50 and tell him to sue me for the rest or any other advice?

Seems extortionate to me.



by David Wright

12:09 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Don't pay the bill until you have had it out with the plumber. Ask him to justify his price and haggle with him. He is obviously taking the mick. I have had similar situations. You probably won't use him again and it will make you feel better if you come to a mutually acceptable price. His price is not set in stone it's just something he has plucked out of the air.

by David Price

12:52 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Patricia Walton" at "27/09/2016 - 12:08":

"unless you are prepared to train as a plumber, equip your van and pay all the associated costs for trading as such and then go out and do charity work for a lazy landlord!"
I employ an accountant because I do not have accounting skills. Does this make me a lazy landlord?

by Sean Graveney

13:14 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Exactly Patricia

Then you read statements like...

'We all have to make a living but there is no way a plumber is earning more an hour than I am.'

If plumbing is so easy I'm surprised the profession even exists. In fact the plumber would be more within their rights to say 'there is no way a landlord is earning more an hour than I am'.

by matchmade

14:07 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Wright" at "27/09/2016 - 12:09":

A lot of plumbers who are prepared to come out at short notice have a standard callout fee, so it's £90 whether the job takes an hour or two minutes, plus a further charge if the problem is more serious.

Surely it is the landlord's responsibility, as the person who is commissioning the work, to assess the scope of the problem and find out the fee structure of the plumber in advance, and decide what the best approach should be?If you feel it's likely to be an easy job, then don't use an emergency plumber, but call out a handyman or a plumber who can get to the job in 3 or 4 days time, perhaps if they finish something else early and can fit it in.

In this case, the plumber is being a bit cheeky, taking four days to come "as soon as possible", but if you've chosen the guy to do the work, and he's informed you in advance of his fees, then by rights you shouldn't refuse to pay his invoice.

by Luke P

14:14 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Sean Graveney" at "27/09/2016 - 13:14":

I have the luxury of volume.

I pay £100 for a boiler install and £150 for a bathroom suite fitted.

I built my empire and my plumber gets at least £50k/yr work from me (sometime three times that amount) and is a lot of easy work to lose by overcharging. This is in a town where the average income is well below £20,000pa.

Yes, there are overheads/their vehicle etc, but a day's work for fitting a boiler is not fifteen-hundred to two grand. Barristers don't make that in a day so my plumber certainly won't (not from me, anyway).

by Mark Alexander

14:18 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "27/09/2016 - 14:14":

Your plumber must be Superman, he would have to fit a bathroom and a new boiler every day to make £50k profit per annum!

by Luke P

14:20 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "27/09/2016 - 14:18":

You're right, he would have to be if he were to carry out all the work alone...he has a number of people working for him. To be fair, he's ready to combust.

by Mark Alexander

14:25 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "27/09/2016 - 14:20":

Does he pay those people out of the money you pay him?

If so he must be paying minimum wage or less just to turn a profit, and that assumes he has only one assistant..

by Martin

14:30 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Thanks for your comments. There is a conclusion to this story, but I should add some detail that I remembered once over the shock of the invoice. I had asked the plumber to mend the leak, and also to check an ongoing problem with a dripping overflow which he had previously attempted to fix. The plumber was happy to admit that he was only there for 2 minutes & charges £90 for the first hour whether he is there for 2 minutes or 60. He did not check the other problem I asked him to, neither it transpires did he repressurise the system which had lost pressure due to the leak , or even bleed the radiators which was needed. I told him I would pay his invoice in full, but that this was not the way to keep customers loyal & clearly I would not be using his services again.

He decided he would like to cancel his invoice.

I think maybe his was having a bad day, but in answer to Patricia Wilson, questioning an invoice does not make me lazy, rather careful with my money, you have to draw the line somewhere, would you have paid if it had been £500?

by Luke P

14:39 PM, 27th September 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Martin Stevens" at "27/09/2016 - 14:30":

Good news! Where abouts in the country are you based as I suspect there is a vast difference in price (probably along a general north/south divide). there are local plumbers to me who travel into London (4+hrs drive) to take on work that would be a quarter of a year's earnings in one job.

In answer to Mark, my plumber uses apprentices that, as I understand, have their low wage paid for by the Government scheme. Obviously they aren't allowed to take on gas work.

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