Women overcharged by plumbers

Female customers are being ripped off, according to Anchor Pumps research.

Female customers are being ripped off, according to Anchor Pumps research.

Plumbers are routinely overcharging women, an investigation by Anchor Pumps has found.

Female customers were quoted up to 53% more than men for the same job, while plumbers also appeared to be exploiting older people, with pensioners quoted up to a third more than people of working age, the study found.

The story in The Times newspaper revealed that researchers asked a middle-aged woman, a middle-aged man and a pensioner to contact a list of plumbers across England to ask how much it would cost to install a new mixer tap in their kitchen. The three people each called 90 companies, ten in every region of England.

On average the female caller was quoted £86 compared with £74 for the male caller, a difference of 16%. The older caller was quoted an average of £90 — a fifth more than the younger male caller.

Across the country, the greatest difference between the sexes was in the north east, where the female caller was quoted 53% more on average. Older customers also appeared most likely to be ripped off in this region, with the elderly gentleman quoted more than a third (36%) more.

Only in London was the female caller quoted less on average. In every region, the older caller was quoted more.

Tom Corkhill, of Anchor Pumps, a distributor of industrial and domestic pumps, said: “Many of our domestic products require the expertise of a qualified plumber.

“With this in mind we wanted to investigate the extent to which quotations vary. The research shows consumers the importance of obtaining a range of prices before committing to one particular tradesman.”

The study also revealed a wide variation in plumbing costs between regions. The north west was the cheapest area to call out a plumber at £75.60 on average, while London, unsurprisingly, was the most expensive at £102.