Checkatrade comes up trumps over shoddy work

LETTER OF THE DAY: Housing - more needs to be done

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Each week former trading standards officer Richard Thomson answers your questions.

Q My elderly parents employed a recommended Checkatrade tradesman to repair their conservatory roof. They told me the roof still leaked. When I checked, I discovered it was a bodged up job. To be fair, he returned the £300 fee but Checkatrade are resisting recording the adverse feedback about this trader on their website. Can you help please?

SG (email)

A As I understand it, your parents were also advised by the Checkatrade tradesman that they needed expensive repairs to the house roof. When you went up and took a look for yourself, it became obvious that this advice was substantially misleading.

Having caught out red-handed what you had good reason to believe was a bit of a rogue trader you gave Checkatrade negative feedback for publication on their website.

You were miffed when they told you it was not their policy to publish ‘black’ information about traders where money had not changed hands.

When I approached Checkatrade they were anxious to deal with your concerns. They agreed that in circumstances where one of their recommended tradesmen had fallen down on the job and appeared to deliberately mislead, their policy was unhelpful to consumers. They promptly agreed to rescind it.

Checkatrade is in the business of providing reliable information about the reputation of their tradesmen. They have a difficult balancing act to perform between objective feedback from consumers and that which is frivolous or unjustified. Following my intervention, Checkatrade contacted the tradesman for his comments. He agreed the service did not represent his finest hour. Checkatrade also published your negative feedback about him and you are now well satisfied. Full credit to Checkatrade for proving their slogan ‘Where reputation matters’, is not just an empty sales gesture.

Q I have been working for the same employer for the last four years. I haven’t been given anything in writing about my notice period, while colleagues doing the same job have three months’ notice written into their contracts. What are my rights if I get dismissed?

JP (email)

A You’d be entitled to a minimum of four weeks’ notice by virtue of your length of service.

In the absence of your notice period being spelled out in your contract, a good employment lawyer would probably argue that as all your colleagues are on three months’ the same ‘reasonable notice’ period should also apply to you.

Far better not to leave it to what lawyers call custom and practice though.

My advice is to talk to your boss and ask for your contract to be brought into line with your colleagues.

SMALL PRINT

Richard Thomson is a former trading standards officer with many years experience. If you have a question, e-mail him at richardjthomson1@sky.com and wherever possible he will try to provide practical assistance. Unfortunately he cannot guarantee to respond to every letter or e-mail. Richard Thomson welcomes letters from readers on consumer issues. Replies are intended to give general help or advice, not a complete statement of law.