Over recent months and years Trading Standards services in the South West region have identified an increase in the number of rogue trader victims. Many of these cases do not involve doorstep or unsolicited approaches and the victims do not necessarily fit the profile of ‘typical’ doorstep crime victims. The most recent and common rogue trading incidents involve homeowners who’ve used builders for property maintenance and/or significant repairs and found that:
- The contractor takes a deposit and does little or no work; or
- The work is conducted to a very poor standard.
In several cases, the work is high value and runs into tens of thousands of pounds. Typically the homeowners have carried out some due diligence, such as obtaining several quotes, checked Companies House and read online reviews, but have still fallen victim. So, to help consumers protect themselves from rogue traders, we’ve launched a campaign to raise awareness of building fraud and help consumers protect themselves from this growing crime. This page provides helpful resources and links to sources of advice for anyone planning or undertaking building work at their home.
If you’re planning any building works, the key messages you need to be aware of are:
- Search and review – just because a trader belongs to an advertised approved scheme, it DOES NOT guarantee the quality of their work. Get genuine recommendations and obtain at least three quotes.
- Question before signing a contract – research the builder before engaging them (our checklist sets out what to look for).
- Pay attention to your instincts – if a deal feels too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be patient and prepared to wait for the work to start – most builders will have a significant lead in time (anything from 6 months to 2 years), so do not be tempted to cut corners to get the work to start sooner.