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Top Tips for Avoiding Rogue Traders

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 13 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
Avoiding Rogue Traders Avoid Rogue

There is nothing worse than realising that you’ve entered into a contract to get work carried out on your home and then finding out that the tradesman you’ve employed it what is known as a rogue trader. A rogue trader is someone who to all extends and circumstances can be considered unreliable, unprofessional and a scam artist. They’re out only to get as much money from unsuspecting individuals as possible, particularly if they can do so by carrying out as little work as they can and at as low a cost to themselves as possible. It’s essential to really research any prospective tradesman before entering into a contract and of course to always be aware of the best ways of avoiding them.

Door to Door Tradesmen

There are a variety of things to consider when you’re looking out for rogue traders and learning these should help you avoid any problems with the work you’re having conducted. Firstly, no matter how convenient it may seem for a workman to appear on your doorstep and tell you that they’re “carrying out work in your area”, don’t be tempted into handing over cash. Most reputable tradesmen are too busy working to go door to door touting for business. If you are really keen to try this route, then you should at the very least speak to someone in your local area who has already had work carried out by the tradesman.

Flyers, Mobiles and Shop Adverts

When you receive flyers through the post from local tradesmen, you must always do some further research before you decide to employ them. The flyers may be from reputable tradesmen, but you can’t take that for granted. Getting flyers out is an easy way for a rogue trader to get more interest in his or her services, so find out as much information as you can about them before contacting them. Always have a list of prepared questions to ask them also. If a tradesman can only provide you with a mobile number, take this as a warning sign. Most reliable tradesmen will provide you with a landline number, as well as a business address that you can contact them at. If something goes wrong during the work being carried out, only being able to get in touch with your tradesman through a mobile number isn’t your best option. Likewise if you find a local tradesman in a shop window advert. Remember that anyone can put an ad in a shop window and you’re really going into the situation fairly blind. Always research as much as possible and try to avoid these obvious rogue trader scams.

Deal Direct, not with Subcontractors

If you enter into an agreement with a tradesman you should always ensure that it will be them or their staff that are carrying out the work. Many rogue traders will push you into an agreement at your home or over the doorstep and then simply subcontract out. If you ever feel you’re being pressured into a deal, this should be enough of a warning to walk away. Get it in writing that the person you’re signing the contract with will be the one doing the work. If you know how difficult it is to get reliable tradesmen, then what makes you think the tradesman you’re dealing with can do any better by subcontracting?

Money Handling and Rogue Traders

Never hand over money to a tradesman before the work has been carried out. Many rogue traders will look for a large amount of cash up front or will ask specifically for the full amount before the work begins. You should never agree to this as it’s likely that you’ll be ripped off and end up with no money and a job half finished. If you’re having a job carried out that is likely to take some time, agree to a payment schedule that reflects the stages of progression from your tradesman. Never give our credit card details to someone that you feel may be working as an individual and don’t feel pressured into agreeing a deal there and then that may not be available the next day. Reputable tradesmen will quote you the same amount on different days as the work hasn’t changes. Rogue traders will try and convince you they’re cutting you a deal when all they’re really doing is making a ploy to get as much money from you as possible.

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