A new online hub on our website called 'Eliminating Rogue trades'

  • Lauren's Avatar
    Community Manager
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    Hey everyone,

    Have you seen the new area on our website yet? 🤠

    Over the past year, 6.7 million UK adults have been impacted by a rogue trade and we've been on a mission since 1998 to stamp out these cowboys for good.

    This new area hosts heaps of information on what we're doing as a company to help get rid of the rogues, how to spot them and make a complaint, there are real life stories from homeowners who have been victims to the cowboys, hero trade reviews, and how to find a good tradesperson.

    Did you know that 1 in 3 homeowners have put off home improvement work due to fear of hiring a rogue trade!

    Check out the new live area here and let us know what you think in the comments below 👇

    Trades - Do we have any other expert hero's too? We'd love to hear your story to feature you on the website!

    Consumers - Have you been a victim to a cowboy builder before? Would you be willing to share your story with us? Let us know below

    Kindest regards,
    Last edited by Lauren; 08-12-21 at 10:58.
  • 20 Replies

  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    The stats are alarmingly worryingly and speak for themselves. The only possible way to get rid of rogue/cowboy traders is to regulate all trades just like in the gas and electrical sectors. The simplicity of buying a bag of tools, sign writing a van and declaring yourself a tradesperson should not be allowed, particularly when others have dedicated years to training and have acquired the qualifications needed to rightly call themselves a skilled professional tradesperson. After all what is the point of training facilities and lecturers, plus apprenticeships and qualifications if they are seen as totally unnecessary and can easily be swayed around? Insurance companies should be made accountable, as cover should only be given to those with proof of their qualifications. With no insurance you canít trade, therefore we have no cowboys, it can be as simple as that! Advertising companies should also take a huge amount of responsibility, after all they help to put these cowboys on the front line! Only when this happens will there be total control over all trades with more confidence restored to the consumer knowing that who they employ is a skilled professional who is accountable to a regulator! My advice to the consumer is to simply ask the tradesperson to produce their qualifications and insurance certification/documents before making any commitment to them. If they canít or you have any doubts just walk away. So in truth it is insurance companies and advertising platforms that help to create these cowboys, this is where these issues originate and where they need to be addressed to eliminate the problem!
    Last edited by ChelseaDave; 05-03-22 at 09:16.
  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    Iím really surprised that there has been no response or challenge to this thread! Q. What is a rogue/cowboy trader, is it someone without qualifications? A. Of course it is! Q. Why do insurance companies give cover without actual proof of status ? A. Because they canít lose and make loads of easy money! Q. Why do advertising platforms accept insurance that doesnít actually prove that the individual is qualified to trade? A. Again it is easy money!
    So until every trade is regulated there will always be rogue/cowboy traders, that is a fact and something that has been going on for many, many years. The only reprieve from this is if the actual consumer does their own homework and research by checking the trader and realising that qualifications actually go hand in hand with insurance, proving that who they are employing is a genuine fully qualified and insured tradesperson! Only then do they have the right to complain as it will be their own fault if they employ a rogue/cowboy trader particularly if it all goes wrong!
  • Lauren's Avatar
    Community Manager
    Hey @ChelseaDave - I can absolutely see where you are coming from here.

    I think with some trades it's difficult to say in an emergency - you need someone quick, available, local to you so I guess its harder for the consumer as its a moment of panic but that is why they can have the added extra security and safety blanket using a member from checkatrade to fix that burst pipe or new keys to the door you've been locked out of. Knowing that they've had the checks, the supported by the guarantee and there's a place online openly they can share their experience with too.!

    Have you had to fix a cowboy carpenter's job at all before?
  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    @Lauren I agree to a degree, but a good tradesmen should always carry trade identification with proof of their status, I do!

    As I undertake the manufacture and installation of bespoke woodwork projects only I would never entertain putting somebody else's work right. It is dangerous territory and can be bad for your reputation. Of course I do get involved with restoration projects for The Black Country Living Museum but that is far removed from your question. There is also another question, would I help out old or vulnerable people left distraught by rogue traders, although a difficult position to be in, of course I would!
    Last edited by ChelseaDave; 22-03-22 at 08:02.
  • dave plasterer's Avatar
    Level 18
    I thought CAT vetted and checked all trades so why would any be on here?
  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    It is because vetting is not good enough, as there are far too many unqualified on Checkatrade!. Experience isnít a substitute, it is an addition! All you need nowadays is PLI which is far too easily acquired as long as you pay your money! It makes a complete mockery of apprenticeships, further educational training facilities and qualified lecturers. It is a complete farce! We all know it will never happen but until all trades are regulated, insurance companies insist on qualifications for proof of status and advertising platforms doing their bit, there will always be rogue/cowboy traders! Iím afraid those are the facts and it is a problem that will never go away! Eliminate rogue/cowboy traders, Iíve told you how! Apparently The Federation of Master Builders have been lobbying for these changes for years!
    Last edited by ChelseaDave; 21-03-22 at 20:14.
  • ChelseaDave's Avatar
    Level 20
    To simplify things, a very good example of qualification, assuming most of us drive, would be our driving licence! How do you get this, the answer is you take lessons/training from a skilled qualified driving instructor. When you have passed you receive a certificate/driving licence, giving you the right to drive. This licence is an identification card and has all your details including a registration/drivers number which you carry for life. To allow you to drive your vehicle it has to be insured, but you can only do this with proof of your ability to drive, which is provided by the information on your driving licence. Once you have sorted the legal requirements you can hit the road, it is only then that you gain 'Experience'! So to sum up, your driving licence (qualification) goes hand in hand with your insurance, without one you can't have the other, meaning you simply can't drive! This is how it should be throughout the building trades, therefore taking a huge step towards eliminating rogue/cowboy traders, who are only there because the current system allows them to be! Not rocket science is it?
    Last edited by ChelseaDave; 22-03-22 at 07:17.
  • Pointon27's Avatar
    I thought CAT vetted and checked all trades so why would any be on here?

    You'd be surprised! I'm a consumer and thought i'd share my story. Sorry in advance but it's a bit of a lengthy one.

    We're far from well off, but after saving our hard earned money we decided we wanted to landscape our back garden for a little slice of heaven in the summer, re-paving creating an area for a shed, a decking area etc. My son is severely autistic and this is the area that he can play safely, the garden was already usable but definitely in need of a makeover . We'd tried to go down the route of recommendations first but none were forthcoming so with us wanting to avoid potential cowboys/scammers, I decided I'd use Checkatrade and posted a description of the job I wanted on the site. Within a couple of days we'd had multiple Tradesman interested in our job (Great!) Well this is where it all turns sour.

    We had 3 Checkatrade Members come round to view our Garden and quote us for the job, all fairly similar in price but we opted to go with one company that had great reviews, all be it only 4, (I know why didn't I spot the red flags) Fantastic pictures of work he'd previously carried out and he was a great communicator and even coming up with different ideas. Fantastic is what myself and my wife both thought, even better he can start within a week or two! He wasn't the cheapest out of all 3 quotes but with his plans and vision an extra £200 seemed well worth it, we decided on how we'd pay for the job, the total price was £5100. We'd pay £2400 when he starts the job, a further £700 in the middle and the final £2000 on job completion.

    Roll on the 17th June a Friday. The Landscaper turned up at 9am prompt, and he and his team began work on ripping up the old flags, removing all the hedges. He piled it all up in a big heap in the middle of the back and front garden. After removing the hedges and flags which took half a day, he took the payment of £2400 in cash, provided us an invoice and said he'll be back on Monday to remove all the old rubble, hedges and he'll be bringing a digger and would be ordering the replacement flags and decking boards.

    Monday morning 20th June arrives. 10:00am and no sign of the landscaper. We give him a quick call on his mobile and he answers and says, he's just fuelling up the digger and will be with us shortly. 11:00 arrives and he's still not arrived, we call again and this time we get no answer. However we get a text 15 mins later saying he's just had a family crisis, and will let us know in a couple of days whats happening, but he'll send round his team to remove the hedges rubble. These things happen so i decided i'd give him the benefit of the doubt. However no one did show up to remove the heaps of rubble.

    We decided we'd give him the week to sort out his personal issues and didn't bother him for the entire week. We text him again on the Monday the 27th June and asked when he would be restarting, and didn't receive a response at this point i'm growing concerned and left a couple more texts. Eventually on the 29th June he responded, he was very apologetic, said he was still in London, (we're Manchester) and he'll be restarting the work on the 4th July 100% guaranteed in his words, and that he'd send someone to clear out the rubble the next day, (again no one showed).

    4th July arrived, and still no show, so i text him again and asked where he was, at this point both myself and my wife were fearing the worst. The next day we decided we'd contact Checkatrade and ask for some advice, they recommended we leave a review on his profile. I left the negative review on the 6th July which as we all know takes a week to be published. He responded on the 7th July to our messages, again very apologetic, but saying he's taken on too many jobs and with his family problems wont be able to start until the 25th July.

    Now as you can imagine during this time i'm feeling really alarmed and thinking now that more than likely we've been scammed. The following week i decided i'd visit his profile on Checkatrade and i decided to google search the images of past work he's claimed to have done. Well lets just say my heart sank when i saw they were all from various websites and he'd basically just stole them.

    My worst fears confirmed, i was back on the phone to Checkatrade who explained the options of the £1000 guarantee (which still leaves us out of pocket) or the ADR Process. Unfortunately the advisor didn't seem to grasp that with him obviously being a scammer he must have circumvented their rigorous checks and more than likely provided false information. (scammers dont provide their real name and address prior to committing a crime).

    Anyway move forward to yesterday and once more i decided to visit the Landscapers profile page and noticed another customer had left a negative review, unfortunately it seems this customer parted with around £4000 and her garden has also been left in the state akin to a building site. At this point Checkatrade must have realised somethings a miss and decided they'd hide the landscapers profile from the Checkatrade search.

    I've reported this to Action Fraud. However i've now been told i need to decide between the £1000 guarantee or the ADR Process. I've made an SAR request for the company in question as i dont have a trading address, i'd be amazed though if the information they provide turns out to accurate.

    I dont need people to tell me i should have been more savvy when choosing a trader and maybe i was naÔve in thinking the Checkatrade vetting process would do the work for me. However my wife is now heartbroken, my slice of paradise resembles a building site and we no longer have the money to rectify this and get it put right, my son no longer has his safe space to play, especially now during the hot spell.

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    Apologies for the long post, but we're at out wits end and if this helps someone else not fall victim then it'll be worth it. Dont fall into the trap of thinking just because they're on Checkatrade they're legit.
    Last edited by Pointon27; 24-07-22 at 15:51.
  • Sean's Avatar
    Level 20
    @Pointon27 this story is absolutely terrible,I totally feel your anger and frustration and it makes me angry checkatrade donít seem to take the vetting process seriously anymore. When I joined I had a checkatrade representative come round my house and interviewed me for an hour .itís the only way you can guarantee that a trades person is who they say they are and listening to some of the stories the representative had of cowboys trying to join was an eye opener.
    I hope checkatrade sort this mess out and would be a kind gesture if they would organise and foot the bill for the work to be completed.
    wish you lived in the south west as even I would come and help .