There are many people and companies in this country that make a tidy profit ripping off people who pay them for work. Often times the rip-offs are unintentional, but disrepair and undeclared costs are a huge part of the problem. Anyone who has paid for a tradie will know how frustrating it is when something goes wrong.
Whether it’s sending a tradie out who can’t even operate a tape measure, or delivering a job they promised they would “top notch quality” and yet they don’t seem to be able to fit into their overall grade level masonry jobbie that comes out looking like something that has been backfilled in with concrete once they’ve left, there are numerous ways we get ripped off by these guys time and time again.
This blog post examines the outrageous rip-offs performed by some of Australia’s most controversial tradespeople, including electricians and plumbers. These tradies cheat their customers by charging unjustified amounts for poor work in a short period of time, making unreasonable profit margins on each job.
1. Low-Quality Work
One of the most common ways that tradies rip off their customers is by doing low-quality work. This can be anything from using inferior materials to cutting corners on the job. Often, customers are not even aware that the work is not up to standard until it is too late. This leaves them with little recourse but to pay for the poor work or hire someone else to fix it.
2. Tradies Asking for A Deposit but Never Comes Back
Another common rip-off is when tradies ask for a deposit but never come back to do the work. This leaves customers out of pocket and often scrambling to find someone else to do the job at short notice. This is especially frustrating if the tradie was recommended by a friend or family member.
3. Overcharging for Materials and Time
Many tradies will also overcharge for materials and time. This means that customers end up paying more than they should for the work that has been done. This can be particularly frustrating if the customer feels that they have been misled about the cost of the job.
4. Ridiculous Quotes
Another way that tradies rip off their customers is by giving them ridiculously high quotes. This often happens when the customer is not familiar with the cost of the work that needs to be done. As a result, they may be persuaded to accept a quote that is far higher than it should be.
5. Insurance-Related Scams
Some tradies will also try to scam their customers by asking for payment upfront for insurance. This is often done by telling the customer that the work cannot be done without insurance. However, this is usually not the case and the customer ends up paying for something that they do not need.
6. Not Providing A Contract or Written Quote
Another way that tradies rip off their customers is by not providing a contract or written quote. This means that the customer has no way of knowing how much the job will cost or what exactly they are paying for. This can lead to disagreements and even legal action if the work is not up to standard.
7. Uncompleted Work and Abandoned Projects
Unfortunately, there are also some tradies who will take payment for work but never actually complete it. This can leave customers out of pocket and with an unfinished job. In some cases, the tradie may even abandon the project altogether, leaving the customer in a worse position than they were before.
8. Quoting an Hourly Rate and Then Taking Hours to Do A Simple Job
Some tradies will also quote an hourly rate but then take hours to do a simple job. This means that the customer ends up paying more than they should for the work that has been done. In some cases, the tradie may even take longer to do the job than they said they would.
9. Adding on Extra Charges Once the Work Is Completed
Another way that tradies rip off their customers is by adding on extra charges once the work is completed. This means that the customer ends up paying more than they expected for the job. Often, these extra charges are for things that should have been included in the original quote.
10. Using Inferior Products
Some tradies will also use inferior products in order to save money. This means that the work that is done is not of the same quality as it would be if the tradie used higher quality materials. This can often lead to problems down the line and may even void any warranty that the customer has.
11. Not Providing A Warranty
Finally, some tradies will not provide a warranty for the work that they have done. This means that if there are any problems with the work, the customer will have to pay for the repairs themselves. This is often unfair as the customer has no way of knowing if the work is of a good standard or not.
Tips to Avoid These Common Tradie Rip-Offs
Here are some tips to help you avoid being ripped off by rogue tradespeople:
1. Get Quotes From 3 Different Tradespeople At Least
The best way to get a good deal is to get multiple quotes. Ideally, you should get at least 3 quotes. Compare the quality of the work and the price. If you are just looking for the cheapest option and not considering quality, you could end up with a sub-standard job.
2. Research the Tradesperson Before You Hire Them
When you have found a few tradespeople that you like the look of, do a bit of research on them. Check out their website and social media pages. Google their business name and see what comes up. Have a look at online review sites like Google Reviews and Facebook Reviews. You can also check if they are a member of any trade associations.
3. Get Everything in Writing
Make sure you get a written quote before the work starts. The quote should include the cost of the work, the materials, the start and completion date, and any other relevant details. Once you have agreed to the quote, get a written contract. The contract should include all of the details from the quote, as well as the payment schedule.
4. Do Not Pay Upfront
You should never pay for a job upfront. A reputable tradesperson will not ask for payment until the job is completed to your satisfaction. If they do ask for payment upfront, walk away.
5. Do Not Pay in Cash
Paying in cash is a bad idea. If you pay by cash, you will have no paper trail and no way to get your money back if something goes wrong. Pay by credit card or bank transfer so that you have a record of the payment.
6. Check Their ID
When the tradesperson arrives, ask to see their ID. A legitimate tradesperson will have no problem showing you their ID. If they refuse, or if they don’t have ID, do not let them in.
7. Check Their Vehicle
A legitimate tradesperson will have a branded vehicle. If they don’t have a branded vehicle, ask them why. A legitimate tradesperson will also have a business card and letterhead. If they don’t have these, ask them why.
8. Check Their Insurance
A legitimate tradesperson will have insurance. Ask to see their insurance certificate. If they don’t have insurance, walk away.
9. Ask for References
A legitimate tradesperson will be happy to provide you with references. Ask them for the contact details of some of their previous clients. Give the clients a call and ask them about their experience.
10. Trust Your Gut
If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling about the tradesperson, walk away.
I’ve pointed out a few common rip-offs and overcharges. Ultimately, this is by no means a comprehensive list. If there’s a small job you need done, I would recommend that you try to find someone online and negotiate your price before agreeing to anything at all. If you’re using a regular tradie and they are charging you extra for materials, or are quoting you a ridiculous price, it could be time to start looking around for someone new.
1. What are the most common tradie rip-offs?
There are a few common rip-offs that tradesmen often use to take advantage of their customers. One of the most common is overcharging for services. This can happen when a tradesman quotes a price for a job, but then raises the price once the job is completed.
2. How can I prevent these rip-offs?
The best way to prevent being ripped off by a tradesman is to be informed and to ask questions. Make sure you understand the price that has been quoted to you, and ask for a detailed breakdown of the costs if you are unsure about anything.
3. Can I stop paying my tradies if they have done a bad job?
Yes, you can stop paying your tradies if they have done a bad job. However, it is important to remember that you will need to have proof that the work was not up to standard.
4. What should I do if I am ripped off by a tradesman?
If you believe you have been ripped off by a tradesman, the first step is to contact the business and try to resolve the issue directly.
5. How should I choose a good tradie?
There are a few things you can do to make sure you choose a good tradie. Firstly, ask for quotes from a few different businesses before you make your decision. Secondly, check that the business is properly licensed and insured. And finally, ask for references from previous customers.