How to Negotiate a Disputed Plumbing Bill

Don't let a plumber overcharge you.

Don't let a plumber overcharge you.

Just because you can't do your own plumbing work doesn't mean you should let a professional overcharge you. A plumber can sometimes take advantage of a client's lack of knowledge. He may task the job to an inexperienced apprentice, order expensive parts without your consent or simply leave your kitchen or bathroom a mess. If you feel the amount charged is not reflective of the service you've received, you have the right to dispute and negotiate the bill.

Review each item on the bill and determine what charges you do not agree with.

Compare prices on parts ordered by the plumber. Look online or visit local hardware stores. Make a list noting the location and price of each part.

Take pictures of the work. Make sure the photos are clear and well-lit. Capture incomplete or shoddy work, excessive mess or damage caused by the plumber.

Call the plumbing company and state that you are disputing the bill. Keep your conversation brief and direct. Stick to your argument and don't let the representative counter. Request a manager if the representative can't or won't help you.

Cite evidence that the bill is inaccurate. Submit copies of the photos or comparison price list to the plumbing copy.

File a claim with small claims court if the company refuses to negotiate. Be prepared to present all the evidence you've compiled to prove your case.


  • Whether or not you choose to dispute the bill, don't ignore it. An unpaid bill can lead to collections and judgments which will hurt your credit score.
  • If you decide to take the case to small claims court, be aware that you will incur costs and expenses, including filing fees, travel and work absence. The fees will vary based on your municipality's guidelines for small claims court.

About the Author

Carl Carabelli has been writing in various capacities for more than 15 years. He has utilized his creative writing skills to enhance his other ventures such as financial analysis, copywriting and contributing various articles and opinion pieces. Carabelli earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Seton Hall and has worked in banking, notably commercial lending, since 2001.

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