'Don't let rogue traders con you out of thousands of pounds - be wary' warns News consumer champion
HOMEOWNERS are leaving themselves wide open to being scammed out of thousands of pounds by builders and home improvement firms because they are too trusting and unwary before they sign on the dotted line.
That’s the warning being issued today from News consumer champion Richard Thomson, who is urging people to remain vigilant of cheats and conmen.
He was commenting after rogue trader Scott Dungworth was convicted at Portsmouth Crown Court of pocketing more than £95,000 from a reader for botched building work and subsequently ordered to pay restitution of just £1.
He said: ‘Many inept rogues set themselves up as limited company directors with a trail of failed business ventures behind them. When disqualified from trading or go bust they defiantly continue in business as sole traders.
‘Anyone commissioning construction work should do their background homework, before entrusting traders with expensive home improvements. Impressive websites and glowing online reviews should be viewed with scepticism, and demands for sky high deposits shunned.
‘People should first obtain a minimum of three quotations, check whether firms are trading standards ‘Buy with confidence’ members, or listed with Checkatrade.
‘Contracts should identify the work to be undertaken, spell out timescales, staged payments, and the materials to be used in the construction. Genuine traders will also ensure the contract sets out procedures for dealing with complaints.
‘A surveyor should be appointed to oversee the work for compliance with building regulations, check the quality of workmanship is up to scratch, and sub-standard materials are not being used.
‘By being one step ahead of the rogues, homeowners can have peace of mind their building projects will be completed to the highest standards, and remain fully protected from being taken to the cleaners by unscrupulous traders.’