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How to Avoid Rogue Tradesmen

A practical guide on how to avoid a rogue trader

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With plenty of media coverage and shocking stories about bad tradesmen over the years, it seems almost impossible to find an honest tradesman you can rely on.

The Office of Fair Trading and Citizens Advice get over 125,000 complaints about dodgy maintenance or repair work every year.

Rogue trader activity in the UK has risen considerably in the last few years, with over 1.5 million complaints from consumers in the last year. Issues can vary from shoddy work to harassment, extortion and, in extreme cases, life endangerment.

Some rogue traders that turn up at your doorstep can be pretty convincing. There are however, a few common warning signs that you are in fact dealing with a fraudster.

If a tradesman turns up at your door offering to do some work, or vaguely mentioning that there are problems with your home that need to be resolved urgently, then do not trust them. They often will fail to give an address or landline number and will not produce a written quote, instead make up figures to sound cheap and add it all on later.

A contractor may seem legitimate with a business card, yet many fail to realise this isn't nearly enough to go by. It is important to find out their credentials, and don't just take their word for it – contact any trading bodies they claim to be approved by.

Another sure sign to look for are builders that want to begin work as soon as possible. Although many might see this as a good sign, professional contractors would be too busy to even cold call, let alone begin work right away (most good ones have a waiting list).

Lastly, these scammers always ask for payment before any work has even been completed.

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