HEATING HELPLINE SAYS CONSUMERS SHOULD USE THE TRUSTMARK SCHEME TO GUARD AGAINST ROGUE TRADERS
To combat rogue traders a number of ‘trade competence schemes’ now operate in the UK but the Heating Helpline reminds consumers that TrustMark is the only one that is Government endorsed.
20 March 2012 – Households, especially those with elderly and more vulnerable residents, need to be constantly on their guard against rogue traders knocking at their door. Last year Consumer Direct received more than 13,000 complaints about uninvited traders, and almost half of these complaints (5,718) related to home maintenance work. To combat rogue traders a number of ‘trade competence schemes’ now operate in the UK. Each claims to have some procedures in place to verify the competence, professionalism and reputation of the individual companies that are in their scheme. Generally, they are all designed to help consumers avoid cowboy and rogue traders. Heating Helpline (http://www.heatinghelpline.org.uk), the free advice service operated by B&ES (the Building & Engineering Services Association), reminds consumers that amongst all these schemes only one – TrustMark – is officially endorsed and approved by the Government.
Blane Judd, Chief Executive of B&ES, one of the first organisations to be appointed a TrustMark scheme operator when it was launched in 2006, comments, “Some of the trade competence schemes in existence are highly commercial and whilst they may do some background checks on members it is nonetheless in their interest to have a large membership. TrustMark, however, has stringent membership criteria, not least of which is that all potential firms must also undergo an on-site inspection of their work – either a job in progress or recently completed – before they can join.
“With online access to the TrustMark database 24/7 and a postcode search facility for specific types of trades, it is also now much easier to locate reputable local trades’ people to carry out quality improvements, repairs and maintenance work on their homes or gardens. By employing the services of TrustMark registered traders, homeowners can have complete confidence that listed businesses are competent, have the right insurances and qualifications, and that their work is regularly inspected.
“Furthermore, a standard or optional warranty is available, which means that in the event a TrustMark business fails all workmanship is covered and any deposit paid is protected. With a turbulent economy and difficult trading conditions even long established and reputable home improvement companies can go under after a consumer has left a deposit for work to be undertaken. The safeguard TrustMark offers consumers is protection against the loss of their deposit or advance payments, with minimum limits of protection at £10,000 or 25% of the contract value, whichever is the lower. This gives real peace of mind if you use a TrustMark member”.
For more information about the TrustMark scheme visit: http://www.trustmark.org.uk.
Issued on behalf of the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) by Next Step Marketing Ltd
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Note to editors
Since its formation in 1904, B&ES, the Building & Engineering Services Association (formerly the HVCA) has represented the interests of companies engaged in a wide range of building and engineering services including domestic heating and renewable technologies.
B&ES members are subject to regular, third-party inspection and assessment of their technical competence and commercial capability, carried out by an independent certification body at least every three years.
B&ES members who undertake gas installations are registered with Gas Safe – the gas safety watchdog body – and are also members of TrustMark, the Government-endorsed scheme designed to direct customers towards reliable tradespeople.
The TrustMark Scheme audits individual Scheme Operators (like B&ES) on an annual basis, and/or accepts their ISO9001 Surveillance Report. All Scheme Operators are required to carry out a thorough background check on potential firms wishing to join TrustMark. All potential firms must also undergo an on-site inspection of their work – either a job in progress or recently completed.
B&ES operates the Heating Helpline (http://www.heatinghelpline.org.uk) to provide consumers with free, impartial advice on every aspect of home heating.