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Watch out for rogue traders! Residents caught out by dodgy businesses on social media

1:58 pm, Thursday, 18th November 2021 - 2 years ago

General

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team are reminding consumers to check the validity of traders who they pay for work.

Since March 2020 and the introduction of COVID restrictions, Trading Standards officers have seen a significant rise in complaints about individuals who advertise on social media claiming to be traders.

Once they have been contacted and paid, they often do not turn up, claiming supplier problems due to COVID or do turn up but do a poor job. They can then be impossible to track down as there is often no physical address or valid contact details.

Consumers should always check who they are forming a contract with. Ideally, they should be able to provide a physical address where you can contact them.

Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “Don’t part with your money until you have done your research. When looking to get any work done, the advice is always to get at least three quotes from different companies. Don’t necessarily go with the cheapest one as this can often be a sign that they don’t fully understand what is required as they don’t have the correct skills, experience or are being dishonest to get the work.

“Always discuss the job with them and be specific on your needs and wants. A legitimate tradesperson should be available to discuss the work you require, give a realistic financial quote and approximate estimate on how long the work should take.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for two or three recent examples of work they’ve done and contact previous customers, verbally if possible, as some traders provide fictitious references.

“Checking a business beforehand is especially important when dealing with trades such as electricians or gas engineers. If they claim to be a member of a trade association, then you should be able to check this out online.

“Once a written quote has been provided, the trader cannot change the price, unless you ask for extra work not originally included in the quote or they advise you that extra work was required and you agree to it.”

People can make a difference by reporting any suspicions they might have to Trading Standards on [email protected] or call (01472) 326299, option 3.

Become a trusted trader with Buy With Confidence

Do you run a local business and want to be part of the Trading Standards Buy With Confidence trusted trader scheme?

The scheme gives local businesses a platform to promote their trade, while also helping to protect residents from rogue traders.

Businesses in North East Lincolnshire can enjoy half price membership for an entire year when they sign up.

If you want to be part of the Buy With Confidence database which shows potential customers that you’re a trusted trader, you can apply or find out more information at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/business/home/

Businesses get their first year of membership half price. Please note, the application fee still applies. This starts from £125 depending on the size of your business. For more information, visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/business/costs/

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