Botched jobs by ‘cowboy’ traders cost Britons £737m

In light of these alarming findings, Sainsbury’s Home Insurance is urging homeowners to only use reputable, skilled, trades people to avoid taking any risks.

Sacrificing quality in favour of saving money, could prove a very costly mistake, as you could find yourself footing a bill much higher than expected as you look to rectify any mistakes or shortcuts. In extreme cases, if a homeowner is proven not to have taken reasonable care of their property, they could also risk invalidating their home insurance.

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s Home Insurance said: "We’re concerned that so many homeowners have to rectify poor workmanship carried out by people they’ve employed in good faith to work in their homes. It’s completely unacceptable that the remedial costs are exceeding £700million. Of course the burden isn’t just financial; there can be a great deal of personal stress attached to these difficult situations including the clean up and often confrontation.

"In these challenging economic times, it’s understandable that people want to cut back on costs but where work to the home is concerned it’s just not worth the risk. It’s simply false economy, especially if you’ve invalidated your home insurance by not taking due care. It’s imperative you hire a quality tradesman, and make sure that the work is done properly."

Of those that used tradesmen in the past five years, only a third (36%) say they asked for a number of quotes and a mere 31% asked for a formal written quote for the work. Worryingly just 5% checked if they were accredited by TrustMark, the Government endorsed standards agency, despite this being an easy web-based check via TrustMark’s online database. Men are more thorough in their checking with 15% saying they asked for references opposed to just 9% of women.

Those that have employed a "cowboy" trader in the last five years paid an average of £2077 for the work they carried out. On top of this amount they had to pay nearly £600 to either repair the damage or complete the unfinished job. This equates to nearly £3.7billion over the last five years. More than 150,000 people are estimated to have paid over £5000 to rectify a botched job.

Tyte said: "There are some simple steps that you can take to avoid calamity, spend some time researching local tradesmen – perhaps ask friends and family for recommendations or ask companies you’re thinking of hiring for references.

"You should always contact at least three and ask for a written quote, this will give you confidence that you are paying the right amount for the job you need done. Always check for relevant qualifications and accreditations, like TrustMark."

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One thought on “Botched jobs by ‘cowboy’ traders cost Britons £737m

  1. Simon Willins

    Its fine to advise that all traders should be approved by an organisation like trustmark, which, like many other organisations, requires a fee upwards of £400 annually. in reality it still does not protect the householder or consumer. We are always wary of “paid for” schemes.
    certainly ask fro references from previous clients, but be aware that the data protection act can get in the way of a firm providing you with contact details for a client. ALWAYS ask for a written quote that includes a method statement and a ‘schedule of works’ that sets out exactly to every last bolt what will be in the work, the construction type and the labour element. this benefits both sides. if you feel its relevant insist on drawings, but be prepared there may be a small charge for large building drawings.
    MAKE SURE THE CONTRACTORS ARE INSURED! ask for a copy of the insurance or contact their broker to check the insurance in in force.
    ask for samples of finishes, a good trader will offer them. sign a contract and retain a copy, this locks you both in and will be what you rely on if it all does not go happily. READ THE SMALL PRINT.

    any good business will do all of these things as a matter of course, but remeber there are a hge number of small one man traders out there that despite being very light on the paperwork front are hugely talented and will give you good service. reputation and word of mouth cannot be replaced by a paid for scheme

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