Dodgy tradesmen are the most complained about doorstep sellers, according to a new report from the Office of Fair Trading.
The watchdog has released complaints data from its sister organisation Consumer Direct, which shows that it received 13,000 complaints on doorstep rogue traders last year and nearly half of these (5,718) concerned home maintenance work.
Just under a third of home improvement complaints concerned roofing, while tarmacing and paving accounted for one in five complaints about doorstep sellers.
Insulation, general building work and burglar alarms made up the other half of grievances.
Michele Shambrook, spokesperson for Consumer Direct, says rogue doorstep trading is an “ongoing problem in the UK”. She adds:
“Work or service carried out can sometimes be unnecessary, of a poor standard, much more expensive than originally quoted or not done at all.”
Shambrook adds that while it isn’t illegal for tradesmen to sell their services on the doorstep, consumers need to be careful before handing over any money.
The dos and don’ts to avoiding dodgy doorstep tradesmen:
DON’T agree to on the spot house repairs
DON’T make snap decisions or sign on the dotted line straight away
DO call Consumer Direct if you’re unsure about a trader on 08454 040 506
DO take everything with a pinch of salt. Maybe the tradesman has a genuine special offer or concern about your property but it’s worth getting a second opinion – and quote if needs be.
DO ask for proof of identity. If your tradesman is carrying out gas, electric or plumbing work, look for the following accreditations:
NAPIT (National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers)
NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting)
BRE - an independent testing and training organisation
BSI (British Standards Institute)
ECA (Electrical Contractors' Association)
Corgi - the tradespeople registrar scheme
Gas-safe – all plumbers and gas fitters should be registered with Gas-safe