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Does this sound right? Is this standard practise?

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#1 zande

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:05 PM

I called a plumber today, probably the first time ever (except a bathroom reno we did some years ago at our previous house). We have had a blocked toilet on and off for the past year since we bought the house so thought we'd get it sorted.

Guy was here prob a half hour, didn't do much, besides check the main drain to the street and try to physically unblock it with a plunger. Said he couldn't see the blockage so he'd have to remove the toilet and in doing that, it might break. I said to go ahead as the blockage needed to be fixed and if that was what he had to do, then so be it.

Sure enough, he broke the toilet LOL! Anyway, said the only way he could be sure what was causing the problem was to send a camera down. So he booked that for tomorrow, as well as the install of a new toilet (supplied by them).

He billed me today $195, which included a call-out and labour. Tomorrow will cost me call-out fee, labour for the camera work and the toilet price of $499 includes install. I said to go ahead, as I didn't really know what was the done thing, and all I knew was I had a broken toilet and no idea about what the original blockage was.

Does this all sound good practise? Is this what happens when you get a blocked loo?

#2 FeralSis

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:09 PM

I would not expect to pay second callout fee as it is for the same job.

#3 qak

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:11 PM

A plunger?
I would have expected that he would have an electric eel?
I have never heard of them breaking your toilet to fix a blockage ...

#4 archythepeasant

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:11 PM

Um.. when we had a blocked loo the plumber had a snake (long metal flexible thing that got fed into the drain from an outside access point).  Certainly didn't need to remove the toilet itself.  Not all plumbers have a snake though, and they also come in various lengths.

#5 *LucyE*

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:16 PM

He should have used the camera/snake/eel first instead of removing the toilet.

There should be no second call out fee because its the same job.

He sounds dodgy but knows you are relying on him now because you have a broken toilet.

If you can manage without a toilet, I'd suggest finding another plumber and asking them to bring the camera on the first visit. No point replacing the toilet if it potentially will be damaged fixing the blockage.

#6 CallMeFeral

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

No expertise here but I find removing (and breaking) the toilet before using the camera very odd...

#7 qak

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:22 PM

AFAIK toilets are concreted on, they don't ever get moved to clear a blockage!

#8 ednaboo

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:26 PM

The plumber we use has only ever charged me one call out fee, for the original call out.   (He unblocked a storm water drain, and came back 2 years later when it blocked again.)

#9 Lifesgood

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:29 PM

OMG! He has to be kidding! A plunger?!! He broke your toilet??!!! And he wants to charge you for it??

Do not pay this d***head and do not let him continue the job. A second call-out fee!! I'm ready to hit the a*s*hole for you I'm so mad at what he has done.

You have a blocked sewer line. It requires an electric eel or Jet Blaster to be inserted to the various sewer access points around your home until the blockage is cleared.

Some plumbers don't have these as they are expensive to buy, but they can rent them for your job. The dodgy plumber who has unfortunately caused you more trouble obviously doesn't have one.

Call a reputable plumber and report the d***head to the plumbing licensing authority in your state and/or the dept of fair trading. I suspect you should be able to claim damages from him for breaking your toilet.

Good grief! I need a cup of tea to calm down...

Please let us know how you go.

#10 zande

Posted 19 November 2012 - 08:34 PM

Thank you all, glad my "bullsh*t detector" was on the mark, something wasn't sitting right with me. I've called and cancelled for tomorrow, I won't name the company but it was a large one. This guy's invoice was for a different company, apparently they are sub-contractors or something. Will get a second op from a new plumber and then go from there! Thank you all, you've hopefully saved me some $$!!

#11 Illiterati

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:02 PM

Call up the head office for the large company and tell them what has happened. That the person they sent appeared unqualified and caused unnecessary damage that they now are charging to fix. Say that you chose them because of their reputation but are extremely disappointed. Then you need to tell them what you want: the toilet replaced free of charge and the blockage fixed by them (but not the same plumber). Say you will pay the difference between what the cost would have been for a reputable plumber to do the job and the $195 already paid. But do not want to pay for the toilet broken by the other plumber they sent.

#12 EsmeLennox

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:09 PM


What she said.

#13 Mumsyto2

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:16 PM

QUOTE (winterlong @ 19/11/2012, 09:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Call up the head office for the large company and tell them what has happened. That the person they sent appeared unqualified and caused unnecessary damage that they now are charging to fix. Say that you chose them because of their reputation but are extremely disappointed. Then you need to tell them what you want: the toilet replaced free of charge and the blockage fixed by them (but not the same plumber). Say you will pay the difference between what the cost would have been for a reputable plumber to do the job and the $195 already paid. But do not want to pay for the toilet broken by the other plumber they sent

Absolutely. I have never heard of a toilet being reoved to fix a blockage. If it's not possible to fix with a simple plunger then they get the eel out or variations thereof. If the guy did not have an eel or similar it's not your problem. Seriously I would not let the guy near my plumbing in future but also you should not be out of pocket for the additional damages he has needlessly caused.

#14 girltribe4

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:22 PM

Our plumber removed both our toilets but that was only after multiple ''blockages'' with nothing seen to be blocking the pipe . It was the cheap ''ring'' thing the builders put in and as soon as he replaced that with  better sloping ones we haven't had any more problems .

Neither toilet was broken in the process .

Edited by girltribe4, 19 November 2012 - 09:23 PM.

#15 zande

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:27 PM

The plot thickens. I have just googled the name of the company I made the cheque out to (which I have a good mind to put a stop on it) and the company appears to be in liquidation (head office is in SA I'm in Perth) and the "name" of the company is a franchise who apparently the franchisor withdrew his name and is no longer part of the business, although they are still trading as that name. That company is also in liquidation??????

#16 Holidayromp

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:30 PM

Don't pay anything.  Chances are the company will fold before demands can be made.  Also they owe you a new toilet.  I would document all costs and bill them for the damages.

#17 Mrs Dinosaurus

Posted 19 November 2012 - 09:31 PM

Stop the cheque.

What everyone else said.

Good luck, what a dodgy so and sew.

#18 mollybot

Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:17 AM

In WA its called a Rota Roota *snigger*

I'd be sending him a bill for my broken toilet ! COWBOY !

Ours used to get bunged up all the time - rubber trees - it can always be fixed with a Rota Roota. Oh and chopping down the rubber trees, but we were renting....

#19 Feral Grey Mare

Posted 20 November 2012 - 05:53 AM

This is why we are actively encouraging DS to go into plumbing when he finishes school.

I think it always pays to get a local tradesman who works for himself. They seem to be more mindful of their reputation as word-of-mouth is powerful advertising.

#20 Mamabug

Posted 20 November 2012 - 07:15 AM

This is why we are actively encouraging DS to go into plumbing when he finishes school.

original.gif Himself is not a plumber, but is a specialist tradesman (ie waaaaaaay up the trades tree in an obscure little niche!!!) and often comments that while he has no respect for 'dumbers', we will sacrifice our first born to the Plumbing Gods!!

OP - have you checked the plumber's licence through WA's equivalent of Dept of Fair Trading? You can see if there have ever been any issues in the past and if his licence is actually still valid. Might be a starting point. I would give the company a chance to rectify the situation (as laid out by a pp), and if you have no joy, call 'Fair Trading' and pursue the matter.

Last year I had an issue with a plumber that escalated to him threatening to charge me with assault - I am 156cm tall, was 38 weeks pg with a high risk pregnancy, and I put my hand on his arm as he shoulder barged past me....I rang the police to find out what might happen if he did lay charges and the police laughed at the prospect!! It wasn't what I needed at the time, though. I hope your situation is resolved with less angst.

Also, and MOST importantly? Do you have a second loo in your house??????

Edited by Mamabug, 20 November 2012 - 07:16 AM.

#21 zande

Posted 20 November 2012 - 09:25 AM

LOL Mamabug, we have a second loo, thankfully!!!!

I am slightly concerned that the plumber might come back as he knows where I live obviously and knows that I am home alone during the day.

I am making a call to the plumbing licensing board here in WA this morning and will go from there.

Thanks for all your advice & posts everyone  biggrin.gif


Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:17 PM

We had to have our toilet broken to clear a blockage, as the other access point that is usually outside was concreted under our garage. So it was either go through the garage floor, or break the toilet. The toilet was concreted in and had to be broken, but the plumber siliconed the new toilet in so that if it were necessary to move to toilet in the future they just have to cut the silicone seal.
I can not tell you how much it cost, but I'm certain it wasn't more than $200 (but we also had to pay for the new toilet ourselves).

#23 decisionsdecisions

Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:28 PM

We had a run in with the very same franchise/company.  We did have a positive outcome once we contacted head office and advised them of the sub-standard work they performed.  I believe they are hoping they can fool the majority but when questioned admit fault.

In essence I think they play the situation - a problem needs to be fixed asap and they present the most expensive option as the one that will fix it.  You, as the consumer with the clock ticking and wanting to get your problem fixed, agree on the spot to have it done as you believe what they say as you assume they are a professional organisation.

Never again!

#24 FizzlingFireboxes

Posted 20 November 2012 - 01:53 PM

I wouldn't say that is normal for a blockage. We have had plenty of blockages here due to tree roots in our pipes.

We just had the plumber out today due to another one. Sydney water came yesterday as we suspected it was on their end, they said no it was on our end. Plumber came out and puts his high pressure hose through the inspection point (which you will have on your front lawn) and unblocks puts camera in this pipe and done.

He even had to come up to the house and show me the tree root which he took out lol cost us $250 cash. Cost us the same 2 years ago when the same thing happened.

Edited by mummy.to.one, 20 November 2012 - 01:54 PM.

#25 zande

Posted 20 November 2012 - 03:14 PM

I have managed to get on to a reputable plumber today. He is a friend of my step-dad's, wished I'd called Dad yesterday, I didn't know he knew a plumber  ddoh.gif  Anyway, have just spoken to him and he said he would have come out with a camera and a flushing device as the first step, and he said the avg price for a blockage is $220. So anyway he is coming here on Thursday and will sort me all out.  biggrin.gif

In the meantime, I called the plumbing licensing board who weren't really bothered and didn't help much. I have put in 2 calls to the head office of the company and someone will apparently call me back.

I will push for my money back that I've paid and perhaps some compensation for the toilet, wdyt?

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