Blocked Drain Scam Sydney





Blocked Drain Scams

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Serving the community since 1959

We recommend the following when contracting any Plumber or Drainer to clear your blocked drain.

Beware of blocked drain scams and unethical behaviour!

Is The Person A Licenced Plumber Or Drainer And Experienced?

Plumbing, drainage and gasfitting includes many distinct categories of work. Individuals will need a contractor's licence before they can do any plumbing, draining or gasfitting (including LP gasfitting) work in NSW, regardless of the cost of the work and regardless of whether the work is residential, commercial, or industrial. Confirm the person who will be clearing your blocked drain or sewer line is a licenced Plumber or Drainer and is suitably experienced. If you know a contractor's licence number or name, you can check the validity of the licence and other details by entering the licence number or contractors name into the NSW Fair Trading Public Register. If you don't get any results, then it is most likely the business is not legitimate. Licenced contractors by law must display their licence number in all advertising. Not displaying a valid contractor's licence number is no different to driving an unregistered vehicle on the road without number plates! More information here.


Also, you must double check by asking to see the Plumbers or Drainers licence when he arrives. An individual holding a "Qualified Supervisor Certificate" is not a licenced Plumber and cannot contract directly with consumers. Licenced Plumbing Contractors are always happy to produce their credentials whenever asked. Beware! A "technician" or "engineer" is not a licenced Plumber or Drainer! Plumbing Businesses calling their employees by these, or other names employ unlicensed and unskilled workers, labours or salesmen and pass them off to homeowners as licenced Plumbers or Drainers and many pay their employees high commissions to run "Bait & Switch" scams on their customers to "up-sell" overpriced plumbing repairs. A valid NSW "company licence" number displayed on a website does not mean that the people arriving at your home are going to be licenced Plumbers. If a business or individual carries out work that requires a licence, and they are not licenced for that category of work and something untoward happens on your property causing property damage or physical injury you will not be covered by insurance. It is illegal for any individual to contract directly with consumers to carry out plumbing, drainage or gasfitting work in NSW without a valid contractor's licence!

Is Employing Local Trades People Important To You?

​Be wary of the many deceptive and disingenuous Sydney drain and sewer cleaning businesses not local to your area that advertise that they are. This type of advertising is extensively used online and in direct marketing such as flyers and fridge magnets delivered in homeowners letter boxes. A small percentage of homeowners are not concerned whether the contractor they are employing is a local business or not, and that is their choice, however from our experience we have found that the vast majority of homeowners are. Regardless of where you live in Sydney, if for whatever reason, one of your criteria is to support and employ local trades in your area you should use the NSW Fair Trading Public Register to check the location of the business you are employing by entering the licensee's name or licence number prior to making that first contact. For example, we are located in Sydney's northern suburb of Frenchs Forest and only advertise in and service northern Sydney suburbs such as the Northern Beaches, Northern Suburbs, Upper North Shore and Lower North shore. If we did advertise in another area of Sydney such as the Southerland Shire for example, we would not hoodwink local homeowners by claiming or advertising that we are local to their area.

Do You Expect A Proper Job?

Confirm the Plumber will be using a CCTV drain camera to clear your blocked drain or sewer correctly. Plumbers not including drain camera inspections with their service have another agenda, something to hide, or are just out to make a "quick buck" by only doing half the job! This will only result in short term results and frequent recurring blockages. More information hereClearing a blocked drain or sewer line without using a CCTV drain camera is like driving a car with a blindfold on, you don't know what you are doing and have no idea where you are going!

Do You Like Surprises?

Unethical Plumbers are notorious for baiting homeowners with a cheap price to clear a blocked drain or sewer line with a water jet only to switch or up-sell to a higher price once on the job by claiming that the use of a drain camera and other equipment is also required and is an extra charge. Clearing blocked drains properly requires both a water jet and a CCTV drain camera in the same way that eating a steak dinner requires a knife and a fork!  

Are You Paying Attention?

Do not depend on the Plumber simply telling you the blocked drain or sewer line is clear, be present when the work is being carried out, ask questions, and insist on being shown live video of the inside of the pipe of before, during, and after the drain clearing work to confirm for yourself that the drain clearing process has been carried out correctly. Just seeing water and a hand full of toilet paper flushing away is no guarantee that the drain has been cleared properly or tree roots have been removed!

Do You Really Want To Watch A Video Rerun?

Do not rely on seeing recorded video or pictures of the inside of your drainage pipes after the drain or sewer line has been cleared, the video recording or pictures may be of someone else's drain! THIS IS FRAUD! Plumbers who "switch" videos or pictures on their customers do this to "up-sell" overpriced drain repairs by running "Bait & Switch" drain scams!

Are You Being Told The Truth?

If a Plumber informs you that your drain or sewer line cannot be cleared, tree roots cannot be removed or it is too dangerous to use his drain clearing equipment because it may get damaged he may be telling you the truth as on occasions this can happen however he may just be lazy, inexperienced, or using inferior equipment or it could be the case that the plumber is using deliberately doctored down drain cleaning equipment to run a "Bait & Switch" drain scam on you and be more interested in "up-selling" you an expensive drainage repair than clearing your blocked drain properly! You will know this is the case if the Plumber (or not a Plumber!) starts sneaky high-pressure sales and scare tactics to coerce you into signing a contract on the spot. If this happens DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING and get a second opinion, obviously by another Plumber that does not run blocked drain scams. Most tree root blockages can be cleared with the exception being either a collapsed pipe or extreme or diabolical tree root infestations being beyond the capabilities of any drain clearing equipment. From time to time we do come across blocked drains of this nature because after all, we are blocked drain specialists, and we do clear a lot of blocked drains.

At DRAINS ‘R’ US our drain and sewer clearing service and price is all inclusive.

We provide

We value our reputation and relationships with our customers and as such do not run blocked drain scams!

This video is an example of what happens when a Plumber runs a "Bait & Switch" drain camera fraud on their customer. The homeowner is usually "Baited" over the phone with a cheap fixed upfront price which allows the Plumber access onto the property then while the homeowner is not paying attention the Plumber will "Switch" video recordings of the inside of their drains with a recording of someone else's drains showing a much bigger problem. This allows the Plumber the opportunity to quote much higher prices to repair existing smaller problems or quote a price to repair a problem that does not even exist. CCTV drain cameras are an indispensable tool used by honest drainage professionals to diagnose, locate and clear blocked or problematic sewer and stormwater drains however in the wrong hands this equipment can be used to swindle tens of thousands of dollars out of unsuspecting homeowners.

This video is an example of a homeowner being taken advantage of by a Plumber running a "Bait & Switch" scam. The "Bait" to access the homeowner's property in this example is the cheap fixed upfront price of $95 to clear a blocked sewer line. Once the Plumber is established on the property the job is then "Switched" from a $95 drain clearing service to a $395 drain clearing and camera inspection service then "Switched" again to a major $5,800 drainage excavation and repair job. This scam is carried out step by step in a very methodically planned process by claiming that extra work and equipment is needed. Homeowners need to be smarter!! There is no such thing as a cheap, fixed, or upfront price when it comes to clearing blocked drains because the problem is underground and the symptoms of a blocked drain are the same whether the blockage is only a simple one or there is a much larger and more complex drainage problem and there is certainly no blocked drain on the planet, big or small, that can be cleared for under $100!!  

This video is more of the same "Bait & Switch" scams run by Plumbers. There are two things to take away from this example. The "Bait" is a cheap fixed upfront price of $50 to clear a blocked drain and the "Switch" being to hoodwink or coerce the homeowner into major drainage repairs based on lies that the homeowner has broken sewer pipes and, in this example, all without the aid of a CCTV drain camera and this video is probably well over 30 years old which indicates Plumbers running "Bait & Switch" scams is not a new phenomenon however today the behaviour is a lot more widespread and rapidly spreading throughout the plumbing industry aided by the fraudulent use of more sophisticated drain clearing and inspection technology.

Plumbers who take advantage of or rip off their customers prey on homeowners who do not understand or make incorrect assumptions regarding the difference between pricing methods used by licenced contractors and under what circumstances and why those pricing methods are used. It's not hard to spot a scam artist in this business, you just have to know what to look for.