Getting the builders in is rarely stress-free even if you're lucky enough to have honest workmen. But with homeowners now giving £1bn to rogue builders every year, Trading Standards has said enough is enough. The regulator has set up a new intelligence-sharing' network to catch the cowboys.
"In our area alone, we have trading standards officers pooling information across 62 local authorities," says Steve Playne, creator of the new Scambusters scheme. This information-sharing something you may well have thought they'd already be doing should make it harder for rogue tradesmen simply to move areas when locals get wise to their activities.
So how do you avoid becoming a victim? "Never deal with a cold caller who suddenly turns up on your doorstep. And I mean never!" says Playne. Don't fall for the "There's a tile loose on your roof line" it never stops at just one tile. Always be wary of a builder who suggests not bothering with the paperwork: that's all you have to prove what you've agreed to.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
If you're planning on getting work done, ask neighbours for recommendations, or ask a builder for references from previous customers. Then make sure you get a written quotation on headed paper with a verifiable address.
Useful websites include Find A Builder, which has a list of firms approved by the Federation of Master Builders, while Trading Standards Central has a search facility for approved builders in your area and a list of contact numbers for your local trading standards office. Be aware that if you've been conned once then you must be extra careful bogus builders have been known to hand details of victims to other cowboys.
Bitcoin hits new heights - is now a good time to invest?
The value of Bitcoin has surged to a 20-month high. Why is Bitcoin rising and is now a good time to invest?
By Vaishali Varu Published
Gold hits record high - could it soar higher next year?
The yellow metal has hit a new all-time high. We look at market expectations for 2024, whether investors should sell and take profits, and how to invest in gold.
By Ruth Emery Published