• Posted by Laura Bean Friday Apr 20, 2018

Know who's knocking at your door

Who's at the door

We are seeing more and more news concerning scammers targeting homes.  While this is nothing new in itself, these scammers are increasingly creative in how they go about their murky business.

According to Citizen’s Advice, doorstep scams account for about 5% of all scams and it is often the elderly who are the most vulnerable.

TrustMark concerns itself primarily with the promotion of competent tradespeople as a means of safeguarding consumers, but the issue of the rogue trader is still relevant.

Trading Standards Bucks and Surrey define Rogue Traders as “An incident where an individual, or individuals, targets a consumer, deliberately overcharging for unsatisfactory goods and/or services.  This includes charging for unnecessary work, damaging property in order to obtain money for work, charging for work not carried out, leaving work unfinished and intimidating behavior in order to extort money.”

Rogue Traders come in all shapes and sizes from the incompetent to the criminal – but their uniform objective is to part victims from their money whilst providing an inadequate, and in some instances dangerous service.  There are also more instances of scammers taking deposits and never returning to complete agreed work.

TrustMark would like to emphasise that it is highly unlikely a professional competent tradesperson will seek work by knocking on doors and we would always recommend selecting a tradesperson from the TrustMark website directory.

As well as using a competent TrustMark registered firm, you can protect yourself from rouge traders in the following ways:

  • Seek recommendations.  If a friend or family member has used a tradesperson in their home, ask them if they are happy with the work and also check online or further endorsements.
  • Get more than one quote. This is a good general policy, but will also weed out those rogue traders attempting to sell you something you don’t really need, or who are unnecessarily inflating their costs.
  • Get quotes in writing.  This will ensure both parties know exactly what is expected and will mean costs can’t increase post agreement without additional documentation.
  • Protect your payments.  Check our TrustMark escrow service enabling both consumer and trader to feel comfortable when releasing money throughout a large project.
  • Do not complete full payment until the job is finished.

If you believe you have been contacted by a rogue trader who is trying to scam you, you can report the incident to Action Fraud (0300 123 2040) or alert local police.  Reporting unethical salespeople to Citizen’s Advice may also lead to their prosecution through Trading Standards in the event you are sold faulty or overpriced goods and services.

TrustMark covers a full range of trades for in and around the home and our registered firms work to high standards that are protected by the TrustMark customer charter.  You can search for one of our registered firms here:  https://www.trustmark.org.uk/find-a-tradesman