Rogue Traders who leaflet residents were the target for Trading Standards and Wrexham Police officers recently as they took to the streets to speak with traders and residents during Rogue Trader Action Week.
Many legitimate traders use leaflets and welcomed the move as many “rogue traders” often from outside the Wrexham area, target areas before cold calling and pressurising people into having unnecessary work done – often of low quality with a high price tag.
Many of the leaflets have 0800 numbers and offer discounts such as “special rates for OAPs” or “no job too big or small” and “cooling off periods”.
The advice if you receive such leaflets is to put them in the bin – however professional they may look.
Using websites like Bark also can be risky as one local resident found out when they posted a job for a quote but found the trader began the work straight away and without issuing any documents which they’re required to do. The resident was charged a considerable amount of cash and the work was of poor quality.
- If you do ask a trader to visit, make sure they give you a detailed quote to carry out the work and take some time to consider it. Be very wary if they are reluctant to put things in writing, a reliable trader should be happy to do this.
- The quote should include the fixed price including VAT, and breakdown of the work to be done and materials needed, details of when payment will be due, full contact details for the trader, and your rights to cancel the contract if that is applicable.
- Avoid paying large deposits upfront in cash or by bank transfer. Remember that if you hand over money in this way with no contact details for the trader, you may not be able to exercise your consumer rights or get your money back.
Here’s some tips to help you avoid a rogue trader and find the trader best suitable and qualified to do the job:
- If possible get recommendations from people you know and check examples of work they have had done.
- Be wary of online reviews that may not be genuine.
- If you use a trader approval scheme, look what checks are carried out before traders are able to join, and whether the scheme provide a redress scheme if there are problems. There are a wide variety of schemes, some with lots of checks, and some that are just advertising directories with no checks carried out on traders on the list. Trading Standards approved schemes such as Buy With Confidence have certain safeguards. Traders have to meet certain standards and are audited by their local Trading Standards before they are allowed to be included in the scheme. You can find details on their website www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk
- Interview contractors before you hire, then ask lots of questions, and give a clear and detailed description of exactly what you want done. Make sure you can communicate with them easily as this will help you sort out any problems that may arise.
- Don’t feel pressured to agree to enter into a contract. Try to compare different traders. If you’re not comfortable, don’t hire them and find someone else.
- Check they have the required approvals for the work they are proposing to carry out e.g. Gas Safe or OFTEC registration, or are a registered electrician for installation work.
Further useful advice can also be found on the website citizensadvice.org.uk
You can also report problems and get consumer advice through the website or by phoning 0808 2231133.
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