HOMEOWNERS BEWARE – WARM WEATHER BRINGS OUT THE ROGUE TRADERS
The latest example of a rogue trader scam in Southampton is typical of thousands of similar incidents every year that occur all over the UK. And they tend to increase as the weather warms up. The Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) has some timely advice to help all homeowners, and especially the elderly, steer well clear of the rip off tactics of cowboy builders and rogue traders.
7 May 2015 – Three men have just been arrested in Southampton following a classic scam inflicted on an elderly resident. They said he needed work on his roof and quoted him £6,000 before removing some tiles. The occupier of the house handed over £3,000 of his life savings before the men left his home without completing the work saying they would return the following day. Officers have now arrested three men in connection with the incident. Detective Sergeant Will Whale said, “Vulnerable or older people are often targeted with this type of organised criminal activity and we tend to see an increase in reports of rogue traders in the warmer weather …. do not hand over cash to doorstep traders. A reputable company would not operate in this way.”
Commenting, Mark Oakes of the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) said, “The type of rogue trader scam just seen in Southampton goes on all the time and all around the country – there are thousands of such incidents every year and it’s true we do see an increase when the weather gets warmer.
“It has become so bad that recent research carried out by TrustMark in association with Age UK indicates that older people are so fearful of finding trustworthy tradespeople that one in five are leaving household jobs and repairs or attempting to carry out work themselves.
“So our top 5 tips to help all homeowners, and especially the elderly, steer well clear of the rip off tactics of cowboy builders and rogue traders are:
- Avoid dealing in cash only. If this is unavoidable, make sure you get a receipt for every payment.
- Never pay for your work in full before it has been carried out. Once you have handed over your money it will be difficult to put things right if things go wrong. Only make the final payment when you are satisfied with the work.
- Get estimates from at least three different traders.
- Ask for references and inspect previous work whenever possible.
- Use the services of TrustMark registered tradesmen – it is the only scheme officially endorsed and backed by the Government.
“By employing the services of TrustMark registered traders homeowners can be assured that they are using a firm that operates according to industry best practice and to Government endorsed standards with a standard of workmanship that has been independently verified.
“The TrustMark scheme covers virtually all the trades householders look for such as builders, heating engineers, plumbers, electricians, glaziers, roofers, landscape gardeners and damp-proof specialists.”
For more information about the Trustmark scheme visit: http://www.trustmark.org.uk. The TrustMark members’ directory can also now be accessed from Age UK’s website to help older people and their families choose from a selection of vetted traders in their area.
Issued on behalf of the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) by Next Step Marketing Ltd
Media enquiries to: Heather Lambert. Tel: 44(0)1256 472020;
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Notes 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.