Over the past year, 13% of the UK population have fallen foul of rogue traders, according to Checkatrade.
The increased demand for tradespeople due to the home-improvement boom is said to have heightened the risk from disreputable traders. Increased pressure and the lack of skilled tradespeople have given cowboy traders a window of opportunity to step in and take advantage.
The fear of rogue traders has meant one-in-three consumers have put off carrying out a home improvement project, with more than half (55%) not confident they could distinguish between a cowboy and a verified trader.
According to Checkatrade, electrical (21%), roofing (21%), building (20%) and plumbing (20%) are the most common home-improvement areas exploited by rogue traders.
Checkatrade has launched a new microsite – the ‘Eliminating Rogue Trades Hub’ – as a way to help consumers fight back and stamp out rogue traders for good.
Checkatrade chief executive Mike Fairman said: “Checkatrade is renowned for stamping out rogue trades. For 22 years, we’ve made it our mission to eliminate the cowboys – we won’t stand for poor workmanship, overcharging or pressuring homeowners in undertaking unnecessary work. In fact, in the past three years alone we have removed almost 5,000 tradespeople from our platform who failed to keep up our high standards.
“We’re proud to help homeowners connect with reputable, checked trades – but if you’re one of the one-in-five people who would consider using an unverified trade, beware that it’s not as easy as you might think to spot the cowboys from the good guys. The arrival of the ‘Eliminating Rogue Trades Hub’ is part of our ongoing goal to protect homeowners – and stop cowboys in their tracks.’’
Checkatrade has highlighted some key signs of cowboys that consumers need to watch out for: be wary of high availability, be careful of cheap quotes, beware of being asked for full payment upfront and never accept work from trades who ‘doorstep’.