In February 2021, a Facebook post about a $2,500 HDB Storage Heater replacement job went viral.
Below is the extract from TOC:
A single mother who was overcharged by a plumbing services company—namely Kwoi Heng Plumbing Services—to change her faulty water heater has finally been offered a refund of S$2,700 by the company after her case went viral on social media.
The woman, named Jamie Lim, had earlier shared the incident on the Complaint Singapore Facebook group, saying that she sought plumbing services from the company after a faulty water heater caused her whole house circuit breaker to trip.
Desperate to get it fixed quickly, Mrs Lim did not hesitate when the plumber charged her S$2,500 for a new water heater—a JH38 model from Joven Electric Co—and another S$850 fee for services rendered.
She has paid S$3,350 in total to Kwoi Heng Plumbing Services, but later discovered that the new water heater only cost S$250 on Lazada.
The link to the full article.
The same is also reported in mothership.
It was later reported in Zao Bao on 11 Apr 2021 that
来自 / 联合早报
文 / 李庚洧
发布 / 2021年4月11日 5:00 AM
The Public Utilities Board pointed out that all water supply and sanitation and plumbing works, such as installing water heaters and extending water pipes, must be carried out by licensed plumbers. From 2018 to 2020, the authorities took actions on an average of about 40 companies or individuals each year.
The Public Utilities Board conducts regular supervision and spot checks on water pipe projects and bans unlicensed plumbers from performing unauthorized water pipe projects. From 2018 to 2020, the authorities take actions on an average of about 40 companies or individuals each year.
On the printed copy of the Zao Bao, the infamous $2,500 case are featured with photos and pointed out that the installation was unlicensed with many non-compliances.
Zao bao has posted on YouTube dated 23 Feb 2021 titled:
An article with the same titled on Zao Bao published on 21 Feb 2021.
来自 / 新明日报
发布 / 2021年2月23日 2:55 PM
The owner of the company, Mr. Su, said that the S$3,350 charge was reasonable, while Ms. Lin complained about the high charge. (Left image/provided by interviewee, middle and right image/file photo)
The water heater was broken and the unit tripped electricity. The single mother was charged S$3350 for repairs and complained. The maintenance boss in question denied that he was a profiteer and insisted that the charge was reasonable in an emergency.
“Xin Ming Daily” reported yesterday (February 22) that a single mother, Ms. Lin (46 years old, salesperson), discovered that the water heater at home was damaged on the morning of the eighth day of the Lunar New Year (February 19), causing the whole house to skip electricity. She then found a repair company in Geylang Bahru on the Internet, and the other party sent someone to inspect and replace the water heater. The final asking price was S$3350.
Current market practice has three types of offering to replace a water storage heater:
1. Outright illegal works.
Most unlicensed handymen, tiler, electrician, security guard, cleaner etc. offer. No proper training and understanding of PUB requirements. Usually the quickest (under 1 hour), cheapest and short cut all the way. Incidents of pipe burst or even tank explosion is possible. Some Home Insurance policies may deny claim if they found unauthorized works in the address.
Listings are found in Carousell, Facebook, Hardware shop’s referral etc. With tag lines like “experienced plumber” or “cheap plumbing”. Individual not company. No official invoice and often uncontactable when there is any issue. Such installation usually voids warranty.
2. Licensed Plumbing companies but unauthorized works.
By a company with a Licensed Plumber or individual who is a Licensed Plumber.
To price very competitively,
Notification for Works Carried out by Licensed Plumber to PUB is skipped.
NO submission to PUB so Licensed Plumber is not liable. Due to the low price, shortcut methods are used, and improper installations are common.
If any licensed plumber accumulates a total of 15 penalty points or more in
both water service and sanitary works within a period of 3 months, he will
be suspended from carrying out regulated works for a period of 6 months
from date of notification.
Some Home Insurance policies may deny claim if they found unauthorized works in the address.
These companies are referred by manufacturers or shopping malls like Courts, Best Denki, Audio House or NTUC Home service as Licensed companies etc.
It is NOT an offence to refer and are NOT liable for the plumbers’ works and whether if the works comply with the law. Warranty validity varies.
3. PUB Complied and Authorised work.
By a company with Licensed Plumber or individual who is a Licensed Plumber. Will notify PUB prior to the commencement of work according to the procedure. Once PUB is notified, it is in the record and customer’s interest is protected. Will not affect insurance policies. Full compliance with law and full warranty.
Customer will receive an approval letter via email from PUB.
Illegal works may not always be cheap.