Mario the plumber....'My story'(12 Posts)
Please could I ask for your advice, thoughts or help?
I employed a plumber through a website for builders/tradesmen around August 2016 to replace my boiler. The plumber I chose had some really good reviews and I was very pleased with what he did so I asked him to quote for a new bathroom, en suite and downstairs toilet and all was completed by September 2016. Unfortunately, I did not have a contract (I know, I know...bloody stupid..i've learnt) but I did pay him through my bank account. There were some problems, a couple of leaks in my dining room during the work, but he always came and fixed them straightaway. In all, in all, I was and am pleased with his work. The plumber always eventually came and fixed any problems and never asked for money upfront.
Around November 2016 (here we go....too good to be true) my en-suite toilet started overflowing and got blocked. I wrestled with the problem for a while but ended up calling my friendly 'Mario' the plumber. He advised for me to get the soil stack cleaned because of debris over the years which have backed up, which I duly did to the cost of over £300. The guy from Draindoctor seemed a bit dubious about the plumber's pipework (he used a camera and took pics) and said so on the invoice. This guy advised me to pay and if it happens again to speak to my plumber. It happened again several times over the Christmas period and into January 2017. I got 'Mario' over and he blamed make-up wipes and that there was nothing he could do and that the blockage would clear eventually. So I just used my en-suite for No1's only. It still got blocked and I had to resort to using a plunger and it would eventually clear, whilst making really loud noises in the main bathroom.
Around January,I also started noticing a strong smell of sewerage coming from the main shower plug and bathroom in my bathroom and no amount of bleach or drainer cleaner would take the smell away. I rang Mario and all he would advise was to use the main shower occasionally and that cleaners congeal in the pipes sometimes.
I went away on holiday in April and left the house for two weeks (I live alone) and when I came back my dining room ceiling had fallen in and my new wooden flooring in the dining room and hallway were flooded, furniture and curtains standing in 2 foot of water. There was water dripping through the ceiling.
Of course, I called 'Mario' (it would be Bank Holiday..it always is) and I really had to get cross with him to get him over to help me. He took one look at my en-suite toilet and left the lid off so I couldn't use it all. He took down the dining room ceiling and said he'd back when it had dried out. With that, Mario left because he wasn't well and hadn't been working. I was left with a toilet that didn't work, a house flooded with water, wet curtains and furniture , a whole ceiling and coving to clear up. This took me days to clear up and I was exhausted. A terrible thing to face alone. Mario diagnosed that 'some grit had got into the ballcock and caused it to fail'. Basically, in plumber speak.."bad luck mate suck it up".
I hadn't heard from Mario for a week and I wanted to use my toilet again, so I decided to contact a local plumber whom I had started to use because Mario was never available. Mario (mark 2) told me that the ball cock had failed because the overflow pipe had been placed too high in the cistern when it was installed. He fixed it and billed me £100. So, it was Mario 1's fault after all.
When I contacted Mario 1 to discuss the issue, I must admit I was steaming, especially as I had looked at the website where I had got his details from and found a) he had no public liability insurance and b) he'd been given a really bad review in January. So I just let rip (who can blame me..I'm only human). Mario 1 would not accept responsibility and became even more aggressive when I threatened to write a bad review if he didn't come and sort things out pronto. He told me that 'all plumbers slag each other off' and that he didn't care and that I was 'being malicious'. He went on about how he'd come over on a Bank Holiday after leaving his family to help me, him being ill as well...blah blah.
Eventually after a lot of heated talk, we agreed that he would come and sort out the plumbing and make good the dining room ceiling BUT that was all he would do, PROVIDED I didn't write a bad review. The rest of the damage was not discussed and I resigned myself to the fact that I would either have to pay for the rest of the water damage myself (I was on my own, exhausted with the whole thing, drained and fed up) or go to my insurers.
Mario 1 did arrived a couple of days later and restored pipework, reboarded the ceiling, arranged a plasterer and fitted coving and decorated the ceiling and painted over mouldy lining paper. The whole is a bit amateurish to be honest but he's tried, I guess. I will have to claim for the redecoration, along with everything else.
Meanwhile, I contacted my insurers to make a claim, just accepting I'd made a bad judgement, my premium would go up and I'd have an excess to pay but I would get my dining room and hallway back to where it was before my holiday. I'd told myself to to put it down to experience and learn from it.
My insurers have now instructed solicitors to recover their losses from Mario 1, my uninsured losses too which I didn't expect at all.
Mario 1 has a young family, lives in rented accommodation, started a plumbing company about 2 years ago and drives a very nice car. He has very little in the way of assets so I cannot see me getting anything back. Mario 1 has got all of his bases covered. All he has to is fold the Company...job done.
I realise that I have been gullible in not looking for Public Liability Insurance and I have learnt from this.
I am a woman living on her own and have been a single parent for years. I know how hard life can be and I really would not want another woman to be put in the position that I have been. I have been too trusting.
My question is:
Would you write a bad review on this website to warn other people, even though you gave your word that you would not?
I don't know how my case is going to pan out but I really don't want this Mario to think that he can just wriggle out of his responsibilities when he has made a mistake and knows it.
One part of me wants him to have his come- uppance and him to realise that he is working in people's homes and that when he makes a mistake other people suffer, not him. He did not lift one finger to help me clear up the mess he'd created.
I suppose the insurers and solicitors will drop the case if Mario has no assets to recover and Mario will continue on his merry way.
Yes. Leave a bad review. Arseholes get what they deserve. And he hasn't resolved things because your insurers are still pursuing it.
I work in the industry and those 'check a builder' or 'my trade' websites are the laughing stock, it's near on impossible to leave a bad review, we've had to correct a lot of work people have had done cheaply from those sort of sites.
It might not seem relevant, but you say he also did your boiler? Have you checked he's Gas Safe registered? If his plumbing and attitude are that shite I would check is qualifications and get another engineer to service the installation. I'm not sure he should even be touching gas without public liability, we have to jump through a lot of hoops to prove we are safe.
Leaks and cock ups do happen but there's no excuse for bad attitude. We rectify the problem even if it costs us.
Leave the guy Google and Facebook reviews as they are harder to remove. Be honest, stick to the facts but warn others.
Thanks for replying.
I've checked 'Mario' and he is gas safe (corgi registered) with a reference number.
Does this mean that he has to have Public Liability Insurance to be Gas Safe?
OP. Would you mind letting me know where you live. My friend lives in Bristol and also has had a problem with someone there. Wondered if it was the same person.
User246810 - you do not need to be Gas Safe Registered to install a bathroom suite so I am not sure why that is relevant ?
I would presonally not write a bad review until everything is sorted out with the insurers, if it goes to court, it could get messy.
Booper, I asked if he had also done work on the boiler, had she checked his Gas Safe.
Having checked, they are advised to have PL but it's not a requirement. I would still get the boiler safety checked for peace of mind.
Thank you for your comments.
I checked with gas safe today and no gas certificate has been registered for my new boiler installed a year ago by mario. This makes it illegal. So have got mario 3 coming Friday to check boiler and arrange certificate. Will cost £££s.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.
No it's my sense of humour...don't want to use his real name...so conjured up,mario...
Just had to post. Wow what a nightmare. Sorry you have had to go through this and hope you get it all sorted soon.
I will never again use Checka shitting trade after a similar experience that left me close to a breakdown. I was not allowed to leave a negative review, despite having photographs. It's disgusting.
My Mario told me his quote was to do the work and did not specify what standard it would be done to. That was before he threatened us with physical violence. Yet his Checkatrade profile is all 10 out of 10.
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