Rogue Tradesmen Do Not Operate Here

warning - rogue tradesmen may be operating in your areaRogue Tradesmen - Unfortunately, there are still a number of rogue tradesmen operating in the United Kingdom. Although steps are always being taken to reduce the number of rogue traders that are scamming people out of thousands of pounds, there are still a significant number of complaints made every year.

According to, new research has revealed that Rogue Traders have cost Britain a whopping £4 billion over the last five years!

The research found that the recent economic recession has led to many people choosing the cheapest option for building and renovation work. Unfortunately, this choice has sometimes cost them more money when maintenance and repair work is not properly carried out, or even carried out at all.

In basic terms, there are three ways in which a rogue tradesman operates. Firstly, they may diagnose the wrong problem. This means that whatever work that they do (and charge you for) will not result in the problem being fixed. Secondly, they may carry out labour and buy materials that are not necessary for carrying out the repair. Thirdly, you may simply be overcharged for the work carried out.

Unfortunately, there are many examples of people who have been severely overcharged for maintenance and repair work on their homes. Sometimes the work was not properly carried out or even carried out at all. Rogue tradesmen usually offer to carry out "emergency repairs", as it is easier for them to get work from people who need a job doing desperately. However, they also perform maintenance and less urgent work such as roof maintenance and driveway paving.

Over the past year, there have been a number of examples of rogue traders operating within the United Kingdom. Included in these examples are some horrifying stories of people being duped out of tens of thousands of pounds. In late 2010, an 86-year-old man from Bagshot in Surrey was conned out of £44,000 by rogue tradesmen. These tradesmen pretended to be part of a legitimate roofing company that operated in the area. They carried out no work and just draped a plastic sheet over the man's roof. These rogue traders even got the man to withdraw money from several different bank accounts so that they would not make staff at the bank suspicious. (BBC News) Surrey Police said that people should not talk to tradesmen who turn up unannounced and try and persuade them into getting work done. The police should be notified about the individuals and the vehicles that they drive.

In July 2011, 83-year-old disabled man Harold Stern was charged £2,880 an hour by an "Emergency Plumber", who falsely told Mr Stern that he would have to move into temporary accommodation if he did not pay an unbelievable £14,400 to have his kitchen drain unblocked. There had already been a number of complaints about the company that Mr Stern used, but he was unaware of this at the time. A leading drain-unblocking company said that the work would have taken two hours to complete and the final charge would have been £145 plus VAT. (Guardian) Mr Stern paid almost 83 times more than what he should have been charged.

Older and more vulnerable people are unfortunately a common target for rogue tradesmen. Many of these people live by themselves and may not have access to the internet, so therefore can't carry out research into the company they plan to use. However, many different types of people fall victim to rogue tradesmen, but it is usually only the biggest and most shocking stories that make it into the news.

In 1980 Watchdog came to our television screens. This program aims to prevent con men from operating in the UK, and this includes Rogue Tradesmen. Over the past thirty years, there have been a number of unfortunate examples of people being conned out of thousands of pounds by rogue tradesmen.

In 2001, the BBC introduced a program that just targeted rogue traders, which is called "Rogue Traders". These television shows have successfully brought a number of rogue traders to justice and caused bogus companies to be shut down due to poor trading standards. The shows demonstrate how deep-seated and extensive the problems of rogue traders are in the UK.

There Are A Number Of Ways To Protect Yourself From Rogue Tradesman

There are a number of ways in which you can dramatically reduce the likelihood of being ripped off by a rogue trader. Coventry Trading Standards warn that One tactic that these criminals use is to befriend their victims.

If it’s a lady that opens the door they might point to the roof and say ‘I bet your husband would have done that for you’.

If it’s a gentleman they would say ‘I bet you would have been up that ladder 20 years ago’.

It might not be the same person who comes back but they might be from the same group.

Here are some key tips:
  • Use a company that you know and trust - One which has been recommended to you by a good friend or family member. It can be a big risk to use a company that you know nothing about.
  • Make sure the company has a landline AND/OR a physical address. Ring the number and visit the address to verify this.
  • Ask for references - Find out about previous jobs that the tradesman has done, and even visit them if possible.
  • Research the company on the internet to see if there are any unhappy customers.
  • Get written quotes so that you know the cost of everything BEFORE you agree to have any work done.
  • Get written quotes from a few tradesmen.
  • Do not agree to pay the tradesmen cash.
  • Do not pay up front. Wait until the work is complete and you are happy with your work.
  • Don't make any quick decisions. If you are unsure, take some time to think about it. Some rogue tradesmen are very pressuring and persuasive.
  • Make sure the tradesman has the appropriate insurance, particularly for bigger jobs.
  • Ensure the tradesman works within building plans and regulations (if necessary).
  • Most gas and electric work requires certificates, so obtain a certificate when the work has been carried out.
  • Communicate well with your tradesman. Make expectations, plans and time frames clear from the outset, and continue this communication throughout the job. If a problem or issue arises, be sure to address it immediately.
  • Almost all good and reputable tradesmen will be members of a Trade Association.
  • Check that Warranties and Guarantees are valid.

Trading Standards Institute Works Alongside Police & Other Government Agencies

The Trading Standards Institute is a UK government body that is in place to empower and protect consumers from poor standards in trading. Every year the Trading Standards Institute works alongside the Police and other government agencies to clamp down on rogue traders, and make people more aware of the dangers of using rogue tradesmen. A huge problem is "cold calling"; hence one of the aims of the Trading Standard Institute is to inform people of the dangers of using a tradesman that turns up at their doorstep unannounced.

What steps are County Councils taking to stop rogue traders operating in your area? As well as providing extensive information and advice on their websites, many County Councils now have a list on their websites of trusted tradesmen in the area.

County Councils are also working with local communities to catch and prevent rogue tradesmen from operating in an area. Many recommend that you do not open your door to an unexpected visitor, and that you keep an eye on your elderly and/or vulnerable neighbours who may be at risk.

As recent cuts to trading standards leave people more vulnerable to rogue tradesmen, it has never been more important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from rogue tradesmen. (

Police across the UK take crimes carried out by rogue traders very seriously. Local police forces work hard in local areas to clamp down on rogue traders who are operating and preying on vulnerable people.

The 2002 Enterprise Act has allowed extensive measures such as injunctions can be taken against Rogue Traders. Other legislation such as the 2006 Fraud Act and the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Act have seen measures put in place to protect consumers from rogue tradesmen.

Following the steps mentioned earlier in this article will make it very difficult for a rogue tradesman to con you. Remember, not everyone has read this information, so if you suspect that a rogue tradesman is operating in your area, it is highly advisable to contact the police and inform your neighbours immediately.

Like many criminals, rogue tradesmen generally target the more vulnerable. Using a trusted tradesman will ensure that you do not encounter any nasty surprises when you have work done on your house.

Always seek to employ a Trusted Tradesman. Always leave feedback on the sites like FairTrades about the quality of work carried out by tradesmen working in your home for other home owners and ask for written guarantees for all the work done in your home. If it is a big job, ask your tradesmen for an Insurance Backed Guarantee and several references like those found on this site!

If your chosen tradesman is a member of a trade association then call the trade association they claim to be members of and confirm they are fully paid up members and you're your tradesman to show you their Membership Certificate at the very least. Never use a tradesman who is always late, does not take good care of his van or fails to reply to you within a reasonable amount of time, the chances are that the man you are dealing with may not take as much pride in his work as a well presented and easily contactable tradesman.

Lastly never agree to a price without sleeping on it. There are two reasons, the first is so that you do not feel pressured in to a deal you may regret and secondly all the tradesmen listed here agree that you should be free to make an informed decision and check any references first.

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