Train4TradeSkills News: The Most Expensive Drain in Britain?

Last week on Train4TradeSkills News we told you about the customer who has charged £40 a minute (or £200 for 5 minutes) for a five minute emergency call out to look at a broken boiler. And you thought that was expensive?

A Hertfordshire-based plumbing company has charged a customer a staggering £14,400 to clear a blocked drain, which took 5 hours to unblock. That’s right – £14,400! That’s£2,880 an hour!

Basically it all started when Harold Stern, a 83 year old man from Ealing in West London, had a blocked drain and his usual builder was not able to fix it. Harold called in this plumbing company to sort it out and they reportedly quoted a charge of £59 for every half an hour of work.

Five hours later the job was done and the drain was unblocked. While the work was good, the price wasn’t, as Harold was hit with a £14,400 bill. The shocked pensioner said in a statement:

“A man arrived in an enormous truck and when he lifted the manhole cover in my back garden it was full of a foul-smelling liquid. He filled up his truck with water and started trying to move the blockage. After he had been at it for several hours he warned me that if it couldn’t be shifted, we would have to move into temporary accommodation while the drains were excavated. He then suggested he could try much stronger equipment at the other end of the lorry, but it was much more expensive. Fearing the alternative, I agreed.”

Of course, the stronger pumping equipment unblocked the drain, and the worker cleared out plant roots and left the drain working properly. After five hours, he presented his bill for £12,000 plus VAT.

The thing is that the work should have cost nowhere near this much. Dyno-Rod, a company that regularly carries out this type of work – say they usually take two hours to do this type of job – and charge £145 plus VAT. If the work is more serious, then it could cost £1,800. So where did a figure of 12 times that come from?

The company in question say they agreed the price with the customer beforehand. Now I know plumbers charge more in an emergency, but 12 times more? Really?

What we want to know is, as plumbers or trainee plumbers – what do you think about this? Is this really right – £14k+ to unblock a drain? Let us know what you think?

[Read the full story from The Telegraph at  ]


About Train4tradeSkills

Train4TradeSkills offer the only trade training skills courses that combine three great ways to learn, through a unique blend of book based theory, practical workshops and virtual reality PC based training, to help you qualify you as a plumber, electrician or gas engineer. No other learning provider offers our unique way to study, with full tutor support, easy to follow, step by step modules. Once you complete one part of the course and return your work for marking, the next stage of the course automatically follows. It’s as easy as that. It’s fun, it’s easy to follow... and it can be fitted around your existing work and family commitments!

Posted on August 10, 2011, in construction jobs, construction news, plumbing, plumbing jobs, Plumbing News, t4ts, train4tradeskills, Wall of Shame and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the blog post.

  2. Cowboys! That price is completely unjustifiable. They’ve only added such a premium to take advantage of the elderly gentleman who was unlucky enough to phone them.
    As a drainage company myself I wouldn’t dream of charging that much. Especially not in these times. People can’t afford that.
    You should name and shame these rogue companies.
    Great Post.

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