Buyer beware! As Stuff reports, weak plumbing industry regulations have led to a spike in consumers complaining about shoddy products.

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ Inc has had an ‘influx’ of calls from Christchurch residents, in particular, worried about plumbing products or reporting failed fittings, chief executive Greg Wallace said.

The general belief is that these problems are due to a rise in cheap imported products arriving in New Zealand and a lack of regulation around their use.

Wallace said that it was up to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), not industry workers, to regulate products and prevent leaky-home type problems from emerging later.

One Christchurch plumber said people should think twice about saving money with cheap products. “If you import products you will get a lot of dodgy stuff. I mean people are buying $300 showers and I get handed these $50 taps which just leak as soon as you install them. Customers often give you things you have never seen in your whole life, it’s a free-for-all out there.”

Unlike Australia, there is no compulsory performance requirements in New Zealand. Australia has the ‘WaterMark’ system where products have to comply with a standard, whereas New Zealand has a voluntary system. There are calls from the industry for greater consumer protection when it comes to plumbing products and materials.

At Auckland Plumbers Group we do not often have customers wanting to provide their own products, but when we do, generally are reluctant to install the product and where we agree to an exception we put in writing that we cannot stand behind customer-supplied fittings… effectively negating any Master Plumbers Guarantee. This needs to be accepted in writing by the customer.

Director, Andrew Durrans, explains “It really upsets us. We don’t like disappointing our customers, but we just don’t know the quality and reliability of those products. After all, could you realistically trust a non-branded cheap car tyre bought on the internet to outlast, and be as safe as, a recognised-brand tyre purchased at a well-known tyre mechanic? They may look similar but you’d be uneasy that the cheaper tyre was not fit for purpose and even dangerous. Would you blame the fitter of the tyre for the tyre failing? And there is our dilemma… we have had instances where we have installed a cheap customer-supplied fitting only to have the fitting fail and flood a bathroom/kitchen. In some cases, the customer has accused us of installing the component incorrectly whereas the cheap fitting is the culprit.”

As it has been said before, you pay for what you get… it doesn’t matter if it’s plumbing fittings or a TV, it’s the same thing. ‘Buyer beware’ we say.

We stand 100% behind everything we supply and install… and we back it up with the Master Plumbers Guarantee!