Don’t let a plumbing emergency wash out your holidays

December 28, 2012

BBB tips on hiring a plumber

Columbus, Ohio With family gathering to celebrate the holidays this Christmas, consumers may find their plumbing systems are not up to the task of entertaining.

In addition to clogged toilets and drains, all that rich holiday food sometimes chokes garbage disposals and causes build up in kitchen pipes. Finding a plumber willing to cut his or her own holiday short to assist you might prove difficult, and you can expect to pay a premium for the service.

However, there may also be less than stellar businesses and scammers out there waiting to take advantage of an already stressful situation.

In 2012, Better Business Bureau received more than 4,100 complaints against plumbers. Most complaints alleged that the actual cost greatly exceeded the estimate or work was not done properly. Some consumers alleged that the plumber they hired caused additional damages while performing the work. Many said they had trouble getting someone to repair the work or refund the cost of the work.

To avoid getting cleaned out by a plumber this Christmas, BBB offers the following tips:

  • Do your research. View the company’s Business Review to see its accreditation status, the length of time the plumber has been in business, its complaint resolution efforts and any past advertising concerns BBB may have found.
  • Check licensing and insurance. Ask for the Responsible Master Plumber’s name and license number. Master Plumber license numbers begin with the letter "M". License numbers which begin with "A", "T", "J" or any other letter are not Master Plumber license numbers. You can verify the license and insurance status at the Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board.
  • Understand the price up-front. Determine whether you will be billed hourly or a flat rate for the job, exactly what work will be performed, how the plumber will contact you if further work is needed and acceptable payment methods.