In a detailed report on July 23, Jason Knowles of ABC7 exposed a dangerous problem for Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana residents. Unlicensed and uninsured plumbers are posing as credible businesses to lure homeowners into drastically overpaying for plumbing services.
Rogue plumbers charged one homeowner $10,000 for emergency repairs. When he filed an insurance claim for the job, his agent told him his repairs should have only cost $1,800.
Another homeowner also hired the same plumbing company to restore running water to her home. When it was all said and done, her bottom line for the repair soared to $17,800, but her insurance company would only cover $13,000. This left her to pay the difference of over $4,000 out of pocket.
These are prime examples of home repair fraud, and this company was only one rogue of many.
Rogue Plumber Red Flags
Don’t be the victim of a rogue plumber! Before you hire any contractor, be sure to research the company’s legitimacy.
- Contracts and Estimates: If a plumber does not provide an estimate or contract for your job or presents one with branding other than their own company, this is a red flag! Verify their connection to the represented brand or ask for a contract and a quote before any work begins!
- Business and Plumbing Licenses: Verify the company and plumber’s license numbers and make sure it is printed on any contract they present you. Rogue plumbers will rarely have a licensed number, and if they do, it could be forged.
- Fully Bonded and Insured: Verify that the contractor is fully insured and bonded. Liability insurance covers you if the plumber does damage to your property. Bonding, however, works a little differently. A company’s bond will protect you if the contractor fails to complete the job, doesn’t cover the cost of permits, or fails to fulfill other financial obligations. It is absolutely crucial that the contractor you select for your home is fully bonded and insured.
- BBB Accreditation and Years in Business: Many of these rogue plumbers operate under two or three company names at the same time. None of these companies last very long and many of their business addresses are also their home addresses. Research the company through the Better Business Bureau, see how long they have been in business, and read customer experiences with this group. You’ll get a good sense of their legitimacy with just a few key facts.
- Professionalism: You can learn a lot about the plumbing company just by their professionalism. Is the plumber wearing a uniform branded with the company logo? Does their service vehicle share the same branding? Legitimate companies are trying to earn your repeat business, and as a result, will conduct themselves as such. A rogue plumber, on the other hand, is only looking to get in and get out with as much money as possible.
Trust Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana’s True Plumbing Professionals
Four Seasons is licensed in both Illinois and Indiana, and we only hire licensed and experienced plumbers to address your needs. We have an A+ rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, and have won the Angie’s List Super Service Award for six years in a row. The difference between a true plumbing company and a rogue is clear. Contact Chicagoland’s most trusted source for residential and commercial plumbing today and receive a FREE estimate (with a written contract)!