22 June 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Locals warned to expect rise in rogue traders.
Published St Ives Times & Echo
TRADING Standards officers were this week giving out advice to people in St Ives and Hayle following a dramatic increase in reports of rogue traders.
Officers say they have been inundated with reports from people and have been dealing with around 70 cases a year but are expecting an increase in reports as the summer months arrive.
A spokesman from Cornwall Trading Standards said: "Vulnerable people were often targeted for repairs and jobs such as roofing and garden work." Officers said local people should look out for traders who simply turn up on doorsteps for no apparent reason.
They also added that full contact details should be obtained from any traders carrying out work and that recommendations from friends and acquaintances is always helpful in choosing contractors. The spokesman said that anyone in St Ives or Hayle who wishes to check the credentials of traders can go online at www.checkatrade.com for details of trades people who have been vetted to a high standard and have had their insurance, qualifications and professional memberships verified. It also gives scored from previous customers.
The spokesman added; "Take the time to properly brief tradesmen and put it in writing to avoid any confusion. Be as detailed as possible. Obtain quotes from at least three contractors and insist on a written quotation or estimate for the work. Keep them all on file in case of any disagreement. "To avoid costs spiralling, try and get the job done on a fixed price basis in case the work takes longer than expected. Delayed start dates or long drawn out works can have a major knock on effect on any other buildings works so agree a start date and estimated finish date. However, trades can be delayed by factors outside of their control. "Agree payment terms in advance. Pay for the work by credit card wherever possible so it will be covered by the protection of the credit card company if things go wrong.
Avoid anyone who specifically asks for cash - it is illegal to ask for cash payments if the trader does not put it through the books and declare it as taxable income. Cash jobs may result in a receipt not being given, without a receipt you will have no come back if things go wrong."
NOTES TO EDITORS
Checkatrade helps combat the UK's rogue trader problem by continuously vetting and monitoring local traders such as builders, plumbers and electricians. The idea was born in 1998 after a tornado hit the small West Sussex town of Selsey. Traders poured in from as far away as Liverpool and Manchester. Unfortunately, some ripped off the inhabitants of the town. Local businessman, Kevin Byrne, realised there was nowhere to check out the traders’ credentials and the company that became Checkatrade was formed.
Since then, Checkatrade has grown to include over 6,300 genuine trade members, growing by an average 120 new members every month, and, via the Royal Mail, distributes 5.9 million directories a year into communities throughout Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Dorset and Berkshire, while the website includes traders from across the UK.
PR / Marketing, Checkatrade
5 - 6 Sherrington Mews, Ellis Square, Selsey, West Sussex, PO20 0FJ