We have all heard the awful tales of dodgy plumbers. From leaking taps to flooding floors, and the dishonesty of those who take payment but disappear without finishing the job.
The ACT plumbing industry was hit particularly hard in the wake of an ACT Supreme Court finding against a Canberra company for false and misleading representations in 2019.
Master Plumbers ACT (MPA) supported the ACT Government in its successful legal action and took a strong stance against any members who were found to be unethical, unreasonable, have a poor quality of work or have lost business registration or credentials.
In an effort to emphasise to all ACT residents the importance of hiring an ethical, MPA-accredited plumber, Master Plumbers introduced a nation-first $5000 Consumer Guarantee in 2020.
Master Plumbers ACT chief executive officer Claire Howe said the consumer guarantee was introduced to encourage ACT residents to seek and hire MPA-accredited plumbers.
“Plumbing is a fully licensed industry, regulated by the government, and it’s a blight on our professional reputation to have unethical operators giving our industry a bad name,” said Ms Howe. “So we’re reassuring residents with this Consumer Guarantee.
“It’s unfortunate we needed to introduce a consumer protection policy such as this, but having only been in this role since early 2021, I’m stunned by the number of complaints we still receive from the Canberra community about unethical practices taking place.”
Ms Howe said despite the guarantee, of which no claims have been made to date, they are currently seeing a stream of serious and costly non-member problem cases being referred to Fair Trading at Access Canberra, the Consumer Legal Service at Care Inc, and ending up in the ACT courts system.
Ms Howe said Canberrans are still largely unaware of the guarantee and is now urging anyone who is looking to hire a plumber to always choose a reputable MPA member plumber.
“Don’t simply call a number on a fridge magnet or postcard that’s been dropped in your letterbox unless they advertise they are a member of the Master Plumbers Association,” she said.
“Beware of salespeople who come to give a quote, who may not have relevant licenses, or who may lock you in for work via a document you sign, and then disappear, leaving you dealing with an impersonal service from an ‘umbrella company’ and a long list of ‘exceptions’ in relation to their work.”
Master Plumbers ACT recommends consumers check company and business registrations, individual plumbing licences, and public liability insurance.
“The one safeguard you have is to check if your plumber is a member of the Master Plumbers Association,” said Ms Howe.
“We’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve checked national registrations; checked ACT company and individual plumbing licences; we’ve checked insurances; and our members sign up to our MPA Code of Ethics, as well as the terms of our $5000 Consumer Guarantee.
“Ask your plumber if they’re a member of the Master Plumbers Association, call the MPA office or search our online ‘Find A Plumber Database’ to ensure you have plumbing peace of mind.”
Ms Howe said as ACT residents become aware of the Consumer Guarantee and the benefits of using a member of the MPA, they are aiming to see a significant drop in complaints.
“An MPA plumber is a plumber you can trust so make sure you use one,” she said.