Deactivation Policy

We’re proud to say our Checkatrade members are a cut above the rest. Before we give them our seal of approval, every single one must pass our checks and commit to upholding the Checkatrade Standard. This policy sets out our expectations, and the reasons why and when a tradesperson’s membership may be deactivated and removed from our platform.

By adhering to and enforcing this policy, we aim to foster a community built on trust and excellence. Our Acceptable Use Policy sets out our general community standards that apply when using the Checkatrade platform in any capacity.

What does ‘deactivation’ mean?

When a tradesperson’s membership is deactivated, they will be permanently removed from our platform. Their membership will be cancelled 30 days after deactivation takes place. 

Before deactivation happens, an investigation (an inquiry or assessment of a situation or individual, performed by Checkatrade) takes place. The following actions may also be taken:

  • Suspension: Tradesperson temporarily removed from searches and directory number switched off while an investigation is carried out (for example, for breaches of conduct such as allegations of harassment).
  • Evaluation: Period during which a tradesperson must consistently demonstrate positive behaviour and conduct (for example, reducing the volume of complaints received).

1. GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Our deactivation policy is built upon three core principles:

Awareness

We want all tradespeople to be informed about what can lead to deactivation, so all are afforded the same opportunity to maintain compliance and uphold our Checkatrade Standard.

Transparency

In the case of deactivation, we will make all reasonable efforts to provide a transparent explanation of our decision and how this was reached. We will aim to keep all parties informed, unless in certain rare circumstances we consider that doing so could pose a risk to others.

Consistency

We will always endeavour to apply our policies uniformly to maintain fairness and ensure that our decisions are consistent. We will assess each case on its merits, taking into account the relevant circumstances that apply.

2. WHY MEMBERSHIPS MAY BE DEACTIVATED

We expect all tradespeople to uphold our standards of service and conduct throughout their membership, which we set out in our Checkatrade Standard. A tradesperson’s membership may be deactivated for a variety of reasons. Please note that the reasons provided below are not exhaustive.

A trade may be suspended from the platform while we carry out an investigation. During this time, we may make enquiries of third-party agencies such as the Police, Trading Standards or other regulatory bodies and agencies to verify allegations or concerns, and support them in carrying out their investigations.

Breaches of professional standards

Complaints

We closely monitor all reviews received on our platform. When a complaint (in the form of a negative review) is received, we provide tradespeople with seven days to respond and resolve it. If there is no resolution, the review will be published on Checkatrade. From time to time we may receive complaints in other ways and these will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Depending on the severity of the complaint, a tradesperson’s membership may be at risk of immediate deactivation (see further guidance under breaches of conduct and fraudulent activities).

If a tradesperson receives either a high number of complaints or complaints of a similar nature, an investigation will take place, following which the tradesperson may be placed on evaluation for a period of up to six months. We will notify a tradesperson that they have been placed on evaluation and the reasoning behind our decision.

That evaluation period will end at our discretion, as long as we are satisfied that there has been a demonstrated improvement in the issues that led to the evaluation. Failure to do so will result in deactivation.

Guarantee claims

We guarantee jobs booked through Checkatrade for 12 months, up to the value of £1,000. If a tradesperson and homeowner are unable to resolve a complaint, the homeowner may be able to make a guarantee claim if they comply with the terms of our guarantee, which can be found here. An independent surveyor is involved in the guarantee process to ensure impartiality in the final decision that is made. A tradesperson's membership is normally immediately deactivated if a guarantee claim is successful.

We also monitor the number of guarantee claims (whether successful or attempted) against a tradesperson as this can indicate failure to meet our high standards.

We will investigate any tradesperson who has had a high volume of complaints, even if they have been resolved, and a tradesperson’s membership will be at risk of deactivation if further complaints are raised in future.

Dangerous workmanship

Ensuring the safety of homeowners is paramount. Dangerous workmanship includes:

  • Failure to follow safety standards: Tradespeople are expected to follow all relevant health and safety standards and regulations. Non-compliance can put homeowners and others at risk. If a tradesperson repeatedly fails to follow these standards, their membership may be deactivated. If a breach is considered significant, deactivation may be immediate.
  • Endangering homeowners or property: Any work that poses a risk to the safety of homeowners or their property is considered dangerous. This includes improper installation of electrical systems, structural work that compromises building integrity, and other hazardous practices. Tradespeople found to have endangered homeowners or property will have their membership immediately deactivated.

Work authorisation

Tradespeople must possess the necessary qualifications, experience and authorisations to perform their work. This ensures that they are competent and legally permitted to undertake specific tasks.

Key considerations include:

  • Lack of appropriate qualifications: Tradespeople working in a regulated profession must provide us with proof of accreditations and certifications whilst they are being vetted. If a tradesperson is found to have produced invalid documentation, their membership will be deactivated.
  • Expired or invalid qualifications: All certifications and accreditations must be current and valid, and tradespeople are responsible for ensuring these are up to date. Failure to do so and continuing to provide services can result in deactivation. False self-certification can also lead to deactivation.

Unauthorised assistance

All work must be performed directly by the Checkatrade member contracted by the homeowner or (if this is not possible) someone working on behalf of the tradesperson that the tradesperson has ideally agreed upon with the homeowner in advance.

Allowing unauthorised individuals to carry out work, including in situations where a Checkatrade member has referred the homeowner to another party they do not have a contractual relationship with, is a serious violation of our standards, which undermines the trust and integrity of our platform, and it may result in deactivation.

Door-to-door sales

Respecting the privacy and comfort of homeowners is a fundamental aspect of the Checkatrade community. Door-to-door sales, which involve making unsolicited visits to potential customers’ homes in an attempt to secure business, is not allowed. This practice can be intrusive and is often unwelcome. If we receive reports of this, it will trigger a review process. Trades found to be engaging in door-to-door sales may be deactivated.

Breaches of conduct

Under the influence

Maintaining a safe working environment is crucial. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can significantly impact safety and work quality. If reports or evidence suggest a tradesperson was under the influence whilst carrying out their work, this will lead to an investigation to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of services provided by that tradesperson.

Altercations or harassment

At Checkatrade, we strive to create a respectful and professional environment. Involvement in physical or verbal altercations or any form of harassment is not acceptable. If there are reports of such behaviour, an investigation will be conducted and appropriate actions, including deactivation, may be taken to maintain a safe and respectful community.

Any reports of physical violence will trigger an immediate investigation and subsequent deactivation should it be confirmed. We may also refer the matter to the Police and support them in their investigations, as required.

Sexual misconduct

The safety and dignity of homeowners or others using the Checkatrade platform is crucial. We take any reports of sexual misconduct very seriously. If a tradesperson is reported for such behaviour, it will result in an immediate investigation and deactivation should it be confirmed. We may also refer the matter to the Police and support them in their investigations, as required.

Criminal activity

Engaging in criminal activities, once reported to us or discovered through our periodic open-source checks (see in-life monitoring failures below), will trigger an investigation. If the activities are confirmed, deactivation may be necessary to uphold the safety and integrity of our platform. We may also refer the matter to the Police and support them in their investigations, as required.

Discrimination

At Checkatrade, we are committed to fostering an inclusive community. Reports of discriminatory actions based on race, gender, religion, or any other protected characteristic will be investigated. To ensure fairness and respect for all members, appropriate actions, including deactivation, may be taken if discrimination is found to have occurred. We may also refer the matter to the Police.

Financial misconduct

  • County Court Judgments (CCJs): Financial responsibility is crucial for maintaining trust within the Checkatrade community. If we receive reports of County Court Judgments against a tradesperson or discover one through our in-life monitoring, it indicates potential financial instability and misconduct. Such reports will prompt an investigation, and if confirmed, may result in deactivation depending on the severity of the CCJ.
  • Deposit issues: Homeowners trust tradespeople to honour their financial commitments. If a homeowner reports that they have paid a deposit for work that was not carried out, or if a tradesperson disappears with the deposit, this constitutes serious financial misconduct. Such incidents will be thoroughly investigated, and tradespeople found to be engaging in this behaviour will have their membership deactivated to safeguard homeowners.
Fraudulent activities

Falsifying information / documentation

Providing accurate and truthful information is essential for trust. If we receive reports or find evidence of falsified information or documentation, we will investigate, and if substantiated, all necessary actions, such as deactivation, may be taken.

Falsifying reviews

Genuine reviews are vital for a trusted platform. If we detect or receive reports of fake reviews, or reviews requested under duress, we will investigate.

Tradespeople found to be falsifying reviews (by whatever means) may have their membership deactivated to ensure compliance with UK laws and to maintain trust in our platform.

Manipulating services / costs

Fair practices are key to maintaining trust and confidence. Reports of deceptive practices, such as manipulating service details or inflating costs, will trigger an investigation. To protect homeowners and maintain fairness, we will take all necessary actions, including deactivation, if manipulation is confirmed.

Misuse of Checkatrade brand

  • Unauthorised branding: Proper use of the Checkatrade brand is important for clarity and trust. We will review any report of unauthorised use of our branding. Tradespeople misusing the Checkatrade brand may have their membership deactivation to preserve brand integrity and avoid misleading homeowners.
  • Misrepresentation: Clear and truthful representation is essential. Reports of false claims regarding endorsement or certification by Checkatrade will lead to an investigation. Tradespeople found to be misrepresenting their status may have their membership deactivated to ensure transparency and trustworthiness.

Promotion abuse

  • Fraudulent referrals: Our referral programmes are designed to be fair and beneficial. If we detect or receive reports of fraudulent referrals, an investigation will be conducted. Tradespeople found to be exploiting referral programmes may have their membership deactivated to maintain the integrity of our promotions.
  • Spamming: Respectful and effective promotion practices are vital. Reports of overly aggressive or deceptive promotion techniques will be investigated. Tradespeople engaging in spam tactics may have their membership deactivated to maintain a positive experience for all community members.
In-life monitoring failures

Regular vetting checks

We conduct regular vetting checks to ensure ongoing compliance with our standards. If these checks reveal any issues, such as professional association with a person or business not eligible for a Checkatrade membership, an investigation of the tradesperson’s membership will be initiated. Tradespeople failing these checks may have their membership deactivated, depending on the severity of the failure.

Community reports

We value the feedback and reports from our community members. If we receive credible reports about a tradesperson’s behaviour, we will investigate further. Tradespeople found violating our terms based on these reports may have their membership deactivated in order to maintain community integrity.

3. INVESTIGATIONS AND APPEALS

We are committed to carrying out fair and transparent investigations. If a tradesperson believes their membership has been unfairly deactivated, they have the right to appeal the decision. How a tradesperson can do so is outlined below.

Investigation process principles

Verification of reviews or reports

At Checkatrade, we verify all submitted reviews received on the platform or reports that come from the community - both by manual and automated processes. Reviews or reports that put a tradesperson’s membership at risk of deactivation are always manually reviewed in order to validate the legitimacy of the review. We may also use this process to gather further evidence of any claims made under the allegation.

Communication during an investigation and reduced visibility on the platform

A tradesperson will be notified as soon as reasonably possible when a negative review is received on the platform.

If an investigative process is initiated due to an in-life monitoring failure, we will notify the tradesperson within two working days from the date of the investigation being commenced.

We aim to keep tradespeople regularly informed on the progress of an investigation. The resolution of the investigation process depends on sufficient evidence being provided in a timely manner.

Depending on the severity of the breach, a tradesperson’s membership may be suspended while an investigation takes place. Suspension is typically used for matters involving potentially severe breaches of conduct. Suspension is considered a precautionary measure and is not a final determination of a tradesperson’s conduct or capability, nor their ongoing status on the platform.

We will notify the tradesperson that they have been suspended from the platform and the reasons for doing so, as long as to do so would not pose a risk to others. During suspension, the tradesperson will not appear in searches, and their directory number will be deactivated.

Communication about deactivation

Where possible, we will provide advance notice if there is a risk of deactivation (normally due to an increasing number of complaints). In situations where we are unable to do so, we will communicate to the tradesperson within five working days of their membership being deactivated (which may be by email or phone).

As per the Platform to Business Regulations, a tradesperson’s membership will be cancelled 30 days after deactivation. The arrangements around this will be undertaken in line with the terms and conditions of each tradesperson’s membership.

Right to appeal

Tradespeople have the right to appeal a deactivation decision in situations where the deactivation is not due to breaches of conduct, fraudulent activities, or guarantee claims. In such a situation, a tradesperson can follow our appeals process (or the Checkatrade Notice and Takedown Procedure for any received complaints).

Appeal process steps

Appeal request

The appeal must be submitted via email to [email protected] within 14 days of the deactivation.

The tradesperson must provide new and additional evidence that was not provided during the original investigation for the appeal to proceed.

Appeal review

Appeals are reviewed by a senior staff member. We will review the information provided and may request additional evidence, if necessary. Notification of the outcome of the appeal will be made within 30 days of the initial request. Once we have made an appeal decision, no further appeals may be made.

Further consideration

Where we are made aware of safety concerns or violations, detailed information may be withheld from the tradesperson at our discretion, to protect privacy and maintain security if we believe that revealing this information poses a risk to others.

Re-instatement on the platform

Re-instatement after suspension

If a tradesperson’s membership was suspended due to an investigation that concludes without sufficient evidence, their suspension will be lifted, and they will be notified of this decision. We will continue to monitor their activity closely to ensure compliance with our standards and to address any future complaints or reports promptly.

Re-instatement after deactivation

If a tradesperson was deactivated for a breach that was (in our view) considered administrative, capable of remedy or otherwise without aggravating factors, they may rejoin the platform if they can demonstrate that the issues that led to the deactivation (such as a County Court Judgment (or deposit dispute) have been resolved. Upon rejoining, they will be required to undergo our full vetting and onboarding processes to ensure all our standards are met.

Disclaimer on Policy Violations

Violations of this policy are subject to our terms and conditions, guarantee conditions, The Checkatrade Standard and such other policies and guidance issued by Checkatrade. We strive to ensure that our community remains safe, fair, and reliable for all users.