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Crooks in the Plumbing Business

The plumber-customer relationship includes a certain trust common to all professionals: the plumber is responsible to advise the customer honestly. When he does otherwise, he is dishonest. Such a principle precludes overselling.

I recently got a call from a man who said he needed his sewer replaced and asked if I did such work. After assuring him that I did, my first question was “How do you know that it needs to be replaced?” He answered that Leech Plumbing had told him so. (That’s not their real name, but it should be.)

To really shorten the story, I fixed his problem for $76, compared to the $4,000 that Leech quoted him. As I sat at his table, preparing to rake in my loot, I saw Leech’s invoice. They took $730 off this fellow a few nights earlier. Eliminating the useless work and charging my prices for the necessary work, I could have provided the same services for $140. More specifically, they charged him $300 for some extra work I would have thrown in for $40.

I went behind this same company a week earlier as well. They quoted a man $3,200 to replace his sewer. I quoted $1,500, and I would have made plenty of money at that price. Come to find out, it didn’t need replacing at all; Leech had misdiagnosed it.

On my company web site (see link on sidebar to the left) I have a page labeled “company philosophy” and it tells a story about Vampire Plumbing, another nest of bloodsuckers posing as professionals. I’m happy to report that Vampire closed its doors here in Memphis a few weeks ago.

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