Plumbers Warranty Explained

14 Feb Plumbers Warranty Explained

  • The full (but short) story on the Victorian Consumer Protection Insurance Scheme

 

When you get work done at your property by a fully licenced plumber you expect that it will be done properly, legally and safely.  Unfortunately in a lot of situations, this just doesn’t happen.

Sheer laziness, cost cutting, inadequate trade skills and ignorance of the plumbing regulations are the main culprits, but it’s your valuable money that’s been taken for a ride in the process. You then get stuck with defects which can be of ongoing nuisance or otherwise very serious – and in some instances even life threatening.

Getting the plumber back again can be a really big problem and either he won’t come or else after a few tries the problem is still there, so he just gives up and you never see him again. In tradie land some people call this a ‘tail light guarantee’ – because the guarantee only lasts until the tail lights of the guy’s ute disappear down the street.  But does it???  That’s the big question.

What a lot of people don’t know is that Victoria has the best consumer protection insurance in Australia when it comes to the work of licenced plumbers.  Forget the Australian Consumer Law and all the ‘hoo ha’ about that; Victoria has had the best plumbers warranty scheme since 1997.

As a starting point the insurance is compulsory; a plumber cannot be licenced in Victoria without it.   Good on you Mr Government for making that decision all those years ago.

There’s more positive news: you can also make a claim on the plumbers insurance at any time; unlike builders insurance, the plumber does not have to be dead, missing, bankrupt or to not have complied with an order of VCAT before you can access his insurance.  That’s just fantastic.

And even more great news: if the plumber was engaged through a builder (such as in a new home or renovation project), you can just totally bypass the builder and go straight to the plumbers insurance instead.  That means even less hassles for you.  Another bonus !!

Let’s have a look at what the plumbers’ insurance covers:

  • The cost of rectifying defective plumbing work. There is an extensive list of what is considered a ‘defect’.  It covers all the obvious stuff, plus quite a lot you probably have never even thought of. Basically if it’s wrong, it’s covered under the insurance.
  • Use of defective products by the plumber – whether he knows they were faulty or not. This is also known as Trade Practices insurance.
  • Injury to someone else or damage to property while the plumber is on the job or even after the work is finished, aka Public Liability Insurance.
  • Damage caused by ‘rip and tear’ getting into a building structure to fix a plumbing fault, aka Completed Works Liability insurance.
  • Consequential financial losses caused by plumbing defects e.g you have to move out of your house, so the insurance covers the costs of temporary accommodation
  • Non-completion of work you have already paid for e.g the plumber does a runner before finishing the job
  • Legal costs and other expenses incurred in making the claim e.g lawyers fees and consultants costs (like those of Metropolis Solutions or engineers etc)

 

So Mr Government did a pretty good job 20 years ago setting all of this up.  Victoria led the way in consumer protection for plumbing work.  No other States or Territories in Australia did the same so in all other places it’s still a case of Rafferty’s Rules and big lawyers picnics if you have a plumbing problem.

What the insurers of the plumbers certainly don’t want you to know is that YOU CAN EASILY CLAIM if a plumber stuffs up the job.  You are entitled to compensation to make the job compliant; in many cases this isn’t easy and the amounts involved can be substantial.

To make things even easier for you, the insurance also covers your costs to have the claim professionally prepared by someone like Metropolis Solutions and it also covers the legal costs if you have to engage a solicitor.

Forget the builder.  Forget everyone else who may have been in the picture.  If the work was done by a licenced plumber in Victoria, was covered by a Compliance Certificate and it’s defective, you have a claim direct on the plumber – and he’s got extensive, compulsory insurance cover with some of the biggest insurance companies in the country.

You don’t even pay an excess – the plumber pays that on his own insurance when you make the claim.   You should not feel sorry for him; if he had done the job right the first time you wouldn’t be making any claim in the first place – the bottom line is he let you down, ripped you off and left you with shoddy, non-compliant plumbing work at your property.

So…..if you have a problem with your plumbing work, DON’T LISTEN TO:

  • The lawyers who say they have never heard about the Victorian plumbers warranty insurance scheme
  • The lawyers who tell you that you need to sue someone in Court
  • The lawyers when they ask you for a huge security deposit to take on your claim
  • The lawyers when they tell you that you must always sue the builder
  • The insurers when they cry poor and try to say legal costs and other expenses are not covered in the claim
  • The plumber if he doesn’t want to fix the mess properly and ‘do the right thing’ for you
  • The builder either – if all he wants to do is bog up the job as cheaply as possible and then wait for his builders warranty to expire

 

CALL US INSTEAD

With many years of experience in plumbers warranty claims, we have a team of experts who will treat your claim as if it was their own and sort out the mess for you.

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