'He refused to leave our house': Couple say they were at mercy of plumber who demanded more money

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'He refused to leave our house': Couple say they were at mercy of plumber who demanded more money

All she wanted to do was to find a plumber to fix her leaking water pipe. 

However, one woman got more than what she bargained for when her hired plumber not only didn’t get the job done, but even allegedly refused to leave her house. 

The woman, Li Chen Tien, took to Facebook to lament about her bad experience with a plumber on Sunday (Nov 20) morning. 

In her post, Li explained that she “needed a plumber urgently” as she was worried that the leakage would short-circuit the freezer nearby — which contained two months’ worth of breast milk for her child. 

Desperate to rectify the problem, the 33-year-old pharmacist called a plumber from an advertisement pasted near outside her home.

Recalling the incident to Shin Min Daily News, Li said that the plumber refused to quote her a fee over the phone.

After inspecting the situation in her home, they told her they could fix the problem for $220 — which Li and her husband refused. 

“I told my husband to give him $20 as compensation since he rushed down here. But he refused to leave our house,” she wrote in her post. 

They accepted a final offer of $150 from the couple to fix the leaking problem.

According to Li’s Facebook post, the plumbers spent about one and a half hours trying to fix the leaking pipe, but weren’t able to do so. 

“They were repairing it for a long time, and they said the tools we had at home weren’t suitable. They wanted us to pay more money before they could fix it, so we argued,” Li told the Chinese daily. 

Eventually, the plumbers changed one of the pipes, and put back the original parts before leaving — a job that cost the couple $150. 

However, Li alleged that they made things worse.

“When I turned on the washing machine, water spurted out, it was worse than before.” 

When she called the plumbers to confront them, they called her “crazy” and blocked her number. Li said she subsequently made a police report. 

On Sunday afternoon, the plumber returned to Li’s residence at about 1pm. “He used vulgarities on us, I didn’t open the door, but I called the police,” she said. 

With the police there, the plumber allegedly agreed to give the couple a $100 refund. Both parties also signed a handwritten agreement. 

According to the note, Li wrote: “I agreed to pay [the plumber] $50 for his transportation and out of kindness.” 

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Li eventually hired another person who got the job done for a mere $50. 

Plumber claims customer called at midnight 

Shin Min also spoke with the plumber, also surnamed Li, who said that he spent about three to four hours at Li’s home, where he found two water leaks. 

“She was unhappy with the price and kept refusing to pay, so I couldn’t leave. In the end, I gave her a discount and charged her $150.” 

He maintained that he did not overcharge them. 

The plumber also claimed that Li had called him at midnight to complain about the pipe leakage, and wanted him to rectify the problem immediately. 

“I had just reached home, I wanted to sleep, couldn’t it be done the next day?” he questioned.

He also shared that he usually agrees upon the price with customers beforehand, but was unable to do so this time as he had to determine the extent of the leakage. 

Confirming that he had given the couple a $100 refund, Li sighed: “I made two trips and I only got $50, I didn’t earn anything.” 

According to the Housing Development Board (HDB)’s website, homeowners are responsible for maintaining their flats’ interiors, which include the fixtures and fittings installed. 

HDB advises homeowners to ensure that contractors engaged exercise due care and diligence when carrying out work. 

Although HDB’s website includes a list of contractors for repair work, the board states that it only serves as a guide for flat owners who need to engage one. 

ALSO READ: Renovation nightmare: Woman calls police after contractor doesn’t turn up on auspicious date

claudiatan@asiaone.com