One in five women calling out plumbers, builders, electricians or locksmiths are routinely charged more than men for the same job, according to a nationwide study
The survey, which involved 500 calls to the four representative trades across thirty cities in the UK, confirmed what many people already suspected - that women are frequently overcharged by tradesmen.
1 in 5 women who call out a worker for a simple emergency job pay more, with plumbers in London topping the table as the most unscrupulous. They levy an extra £10-15 on 48% of all women - while the average male was quoted £37.50 women were charged 27% more at £47.50.
In the worst case unearthed, a plumber in Glasgow quoted a female caller £40 per hour - a staggering 60% more than he'd quoted a male caller, who'd been quoted £25 per hour only hours before.
And it wasn't just callout rates that were quoted differently. Tradesmen also lied to women about the amount of work the job involved
In Manchester a locksmith who informed a women her lock would be damaged irreparably gaining entry and would need to be replaced, told a male caller in the same situation that his lock could be 'picked' with no damage and thus no extra charge.
Similarly, in two cases where women reported blocked sinks, plumbers claimed it would be necessary to look more closely at 'all the under sink plumbing' or 'have a good old dig around' while unblocking the sink - but they told men calling with exactly the same problem that it would be a simple '10 minute job'.
The 'Tricks of the Trade' study undertaken by Axa Insurance also revealed that the vast majority of the population - over eight out of ten - feel that we're taking a 'step into the dark' when we invite a tradesman to quote.
And a staggering 90% of us feel that we're in real 'danger of being ripped off' every time we need a tradesman to do a job in our home.
The fears seem well-founded. In addition to gender bias, the survey also revealed that:
The base rate charged for the same job varies widely from region to region and can be more than three times as much depending on the postcode you live in.
A routine electrical job varied from £22.50 in Glasgow to £58 in London; gaining access into a locked property from £25 in Bradford to £52 in Nottingham.
Unblocking a sink fluctuated from £20 in Liverpool to £70 in Belfast.
The vast majority of tradesmen - eight out of ten (79%) - quoted call out and job rates without including hidden charges such as VAT, parts, parking and clearup that could put the overall cost of a job up by almost double.
It took a time-wasting five calls on average before a tradesman could be reached that could or would respond to even the most routine call and a further 6.5 hours before they arrived on the scene of an emergency situation.
Source: Home Staging Academy