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Beware Of Rogue Traders

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The recent spell of bad weather and high winds has left many householders with damage to their properties, from broken roof tiles to fallen fences. Such extremes of weather are predicted to continue into the weekend, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. Unfortunately, weather conditions like these present an opportunity for the unscrupulous to prey on people wanting to get repairs done quickly. They will go door to door offering their services

The recent spell of bad weather and high winds has left many householders with damage to their properties, from broken roof tiles to fallen fences. Such extremes of weather are predicted to continue into the weekend, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. Unfortunately, weather conditions like these present an opportunity for the unscrupulous to prey on people wanting to get repairs done quickly. They will go door to door offering their services. More often than not, they will charge an extortionate fee, demanding payment in cash, for what invariably turns out to be substandard work. 

Advise to householders to take the following precautions before hiring tradesmen:

• Never entertain any “traders" that knock on your door without a prior appointment.
• Use tradesmen recommended by friends and family or use the online recommendation like Checkatrade website to find a recommended, vetted and continuously monitored trade.
• Always make sure that before you use a trader they are prepared to give you the details of at least 3 previous "local" customers for you to contact.
• Ask some good questions of each tradesman who is quoting for your business:
>>How long have you been in business?
>>Do you have insurance which covers damage to property?
>>Is your work guaranteed?
>>Are you a member of a trade scheme?
>>Can you provide me with local references?
• Look for a genuine address with a landline telephone number, rather than an accommodation address with a mobile number.
• The biggest advertisements in a telephone listings book do not guarantee reliability; larger companies often employ sub-contractors who are paid on commission. The bigger the bill - the more they get paid. 
• Make sure you agree a basis for charging before the work is started.
• Never pay the whole amount in advance, and avoid paying large deposits up front. On longer jobs, agree a schedule of payments and make sure that your payment at each stage reflects the progress made.
• If the work costs more than £100, try to pay using your credit card because you will then have extra protection legally.
• Always keep an eye on what they are doing. 
• Keep replaced parts - it means you've got the evidence if they turn out to be cowboys.

Checkatrade.com 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.
Article Source: www.homehighlight.org
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