A woman has laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission after allegedly being told by an Auckland plumbing company they wouldn't fix her kitchen pipe because she was South African.

However, 5Star Plumbing says it was happy to do the work - but only if she paid on the spot, as they ask all South Africans to do.

5Star owner Michael Mullany said he put the policy to not invoice South Africans in place about six years ago as they were "bad payers".

Mullany, who is originally from South Africa, said while 90 per cent of his customers paid immediately after work was done, he allowed customers - other than South Africans - to be billed.


But a South African woman, who gave her name only as Nadine, claims the Browns Bay company didn't say anything about paying on the spot and simply told her they wouldn't do the job.

"My hot water pipe burst when I was cooking . . . and water gushed everywhere.

"I eventually called 5Star and I was told 'we don't actually do business with South Africans any more'.

"I thought they were joking but then the woman said she was serious and that South Africans were very bad payers who always squabble about prices."

The woman didn't say anything about needing to pay on the spot, according to Nadine.

"She said there would be an after hours fee which I said I was happy to pay and then that's when she said they wouldn't do the work."

"I would have happily paid when the work was done."

Nadine's posted about the incident on the company's Facebook page and reported it to the Human Rights Commission.

"I was absolutely disgusted. They don't know me and have never done business with me.

"I have been living in New Zealand for 18 years and never struck anything like this. Everyone I tell about it can't believe it."

In Nadine's now-deleted post on the 5Star Plumbing Facebook page, she said she felt discriminated against and would go to the Commission.

In response, the company said it was protecting its own interests.

"You must be one of those South Africans that don't pay their bills because you posted this . . .

"We do not like doing work for Saffers because they always say they will pay and they don't! They either pay very late or never.

"Go to Human Rights because it's our right to choose who we do work for!"

Mullany, of 5Star, told the Herald he stood by the Facebook comment.

But he claimed Nadine took issue with paying immediately and they would have done the work.

"We have many South African clients. All we ask is that they pay immediately because they are bad payers.

"We have never had anybody that's had a problem with that before."

The Herald has contacted the Human Rights Commission for confirmation of the complaint.