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Avoiding Rogue Traders, Before it's Too Late

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 5 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Avoiding Rogue Traders Spotting Rogue

There are some simple steps in looking out for rogue traders and avoiding them before it's too late. For many people in the UK, having work carried out can lead to a variety of stressful situations, usually caused because they have employed the services of a rogue trader or a cowboy tradesman. In order to minimise any possible negative experiences when getting work carried out on your home, you should always plan ahead and avoid rogue traders before it's too late. There are a number of simple tips to follow that will ensure you get yourself the services of a reputable tradesman you can rely on.

Spotting Rogue Traders Before They Spot You

Reputable tradesmen follow a strict set of rules and knowing what to look out for can save you a lot of time and money. Firstly, you should always avoid a tradesman who knocks on your door and says that he was in the area and noticed your house needed some work done. Tradesmen who travel around touting for business normally don't have a lot of business and there's a reason for that.

A reliable tradesman has no time to be driving around looking for possible customers - customers will always find their way to a good tradesman. Should someone come to your door offering you the chance of a discount if you agree to them carrying out the work, always take this as a red flag. A good tradesman doesn't need to offer a discount for cash as any money they make will be going through their business anyway not straight into their own pocket. The other issue with having tradesmen show up at your door is that they will often push you to enter into a verbal agreement with them which they'll hold you to. This means you have no contract or no fallback should something go wrong and of course in these situations it inevitably does. This rule applies to people who spend much of their time going round local areas and posting flyers through your post box. Generally, good tradesmen won't have to do this, their work and word-of-mouth should sell their trade for them. Other common trader scams are people emailing you with special deals or coming to your door with unbelievable sales offers. Don't trust them, there's a reason why the saying 'too good to be true' exists.

Getting the Right Details Before You Make a Mistake

Reliable tradesmen will always have a landline contact number so you can contact them should anything go wrong. If you are offered work by a tradesman who can only provide you with his mobile number, then it's time to rethink your options. Ideally, you should only agree to do business with a tradesman who has an office number, an address and a registered business number. Trying to contact a tradesman who doesn't have these can be impossible and most agencies who could help you, will not be as favourable if you don't have these very basic details. Ideally you should also use a local tradesman rather than a national tradesman as this will help should you have any issues with rogue traders. Likewise, try contacting local trade associations to check on your tradesman before you make any commitment to him or her. Most decent tradesmen will be trained in their own area, so don't believe any who tell you they're a jack-of-all-trades. Usually, they're simply winging it and you should avoid them at all cost. It will work out cheaper over the long haul if you hire a tradesman who is a complete professional in his own area.

Summarizing What to Look Out For

Avoiding rogue traders is easy and is the only way to be sure that you'll get rid of them before it's too late. Once money has changed hands or the work has begun, it's too late to realise that you have the wrong person for the job. Here is a quick summary of what to look out for:

  • Avoid door to door traders
  • Avoid tradesmen without landline contact numbers or office details
  • Avoid tradesmen who contact you through flyers
  • Always hire a professional, don't employ a jack-of-all -trades

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