How to Spot a Cowboy Tradesman

How to Spot a Cowboy Tradesman

Whether you have been overcharged or had a job gone horribly wrong, I’m sure we all heard a story of a friend or relative who has fallen prey to a cowboy tradesman.

In many cases, by the time someone realises they’ve been ripped off the culprits are long gone and the innocent victim has little chance of seeing the job put right or their money refunded.

Dishonest tradesmen will cost home owners a small fortune in repairing the damages, but there here are a few tips to make sure you don’t fall victim to a dodgy tradesman.

The Office of Fair Trading have outlined 5 signs you’re about to be ripped off:

You’re made to feel grateful: The plumber/engineer turning up with a gift, and it seems rude not to engage in conversation.

You’re made to feel there is a great sense of urgency in the offer presented to you: This can be such as a time-limited special offer or a warning that your house is unsafe

The tradesman uses high pressure sales techniques to make you feel committed: the tradesman gets you to agree to a harmless statement, so that you feel embarrassed if you don’t buy when you’ve implied you will.

You’re made to feel that you will be happy with the work:  like all previous customer’s feedbacks and reviews.

You’re led to believe that the service is endorsed by an expert: The seller emphasises the service has been tested and is approved by professional association, charity, celebrity or council

If the worst comes to the worst and you have lost money at the hands of a cowboy, you can always take them to the small claims court. Here’s some tips on how you can complain the right way:

Be specific – highlight any problems as soon as you discover them, preferably before the work is finished

Back up your complaint – check your paperwork to make sure you have everything you need to back up your complaint

Keep copies – keep copies of any letters you have sent and note the time and dates of any phone calls or verbal conversations you have had, as well as the name of the person you’ve spoken to

Call the law – if the tradesman has gone AWOL, you need to contact the police as this constitutes as fraud

When hiring an engineer for gas work, ensure that they are safe to work with gas and check the Gas Safe Register.

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