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How to avoid rogue traders

Home improvements are a fantastic way to add value to your property. However, more and more every day we are hearing examples of homeowners young and old being ripped off and scammed in the process, commonly by rogue doorstep traders. Here are some tips on how to make sure you don’t fall victim to their scams.

The first thing to do when you are planning on having work done, or are approached by someone offering to carry out work on your property, is to ask the advice of people you know. Often work that can initially seem like a good idea can turn out to be too expensive, dangerous, or completely unnecessary. So, consult with friends and family and ring up other providers or trades persons that you find on the internet or in the phone book to ensure you’ve been given a competitive quote. If the person trying to sell to you is pushy and forceful about committing to the job quickly then you should be cautious. Most companies will be patient and allow you to take some time with your decision.

Next, you should check the credentials of the company. Begin by asking the tradesperson for a business card or further details about their company such as a website, trading location/address and landline number. If there is only a mobile number, an address which doesn’t appear to exist or concerning reviews when you Google the company name then you should be cautious.

Doorstep traders often provide sub standard work at an inflated cost, so you should always be wary of cold callers. They will often offer a very cheap price that has to be taken there, so as to avoid giving you any time to consult with others or do your research. Never sign a contract at the door without speaking to someone impartial first and where possible try to avoid speaking to any door step cold callers in the first place.

If you have an experience with a rogue trader then you should contact your local police station on their non emergency number by calling 101 and asking to speak to the Local Crime Reduction Officer.

There are hundreds of ways to renovate your property and add value to your home, but it’s important that you don’t waste money on improvements that don’t have an impact. For tips and advice on increasing the overall value of your home before you place it on the market, read our guide “Improving your home to sell it”.

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