“What points should I consider before asking someone
to do repairs to my property?”
- The law says that any trader doing building work should:
- carry it out with reasonable care and skill;
- finish within a reasonable time or the time agreed; and
- provide it at a reasonable cost or at the cost agreed.
However, we have all seen stories about ‘rogue traders’; so how can we find
someone who is reliable and professional?
Finding the right person
- Ask friends, relatives or neighbours to recommend someone who has done a
good job for them.
- East Sussex Trading Standards has a good trader directory called ‘Buy With
Confidence’. You can telephone 01323 418 215 and ask for an up-to-date list
or look on their website.
Trading Standards Approved traders display the logo on the right:
For more information on the ‘Buy With Confidence’ Scheme, see factsheet
- Check with the Environmental Health and Housing Departments to see if they
have similar lists.
- Check to see if the trader belongs to a trade association or has insurance
to cover faulty work (beware that some unscrupulous traders claim to belong
to an association when they don’t.You can always check with the appropriate
trade association). What to do before work starts
- Agree a price for the job at the start.
- Get a firm written quotation, where possible, that clearly specifies the
work you want the trader to carry out.
- Avoid estimates where possible (the price can increase a great deal where
there is no clear specification of what the trader is going to do).
- Don’t pay for the work before it is completed.
- Beware of traders who ask for money for materials before they start – if
you pay them they may not return.
- If it is a large job the supplier may ask you for ‘stage payments’ but always
keep back a sum of money until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
What to do when the work is completed
- Ask for a final written invoice.
- Check that the invoice includes the name and address of the trader.
- Make sure that the final invoice records any guarantee the trader offers.
Is there anything else I need to consider?
Beware of people knocking on your door offering to do work for you.They can
often be genuine callers but some are not and will try to persuade you to use
them by saying such things as:
- “your roof has some loose tiles that I can fix”.
- “your chimney needs pointing and may be dangerous if you don’t have it done
- “I’m doing a job in the next street and have some extra tarmac – do you
want a cheap new drive?”
Such callers may well be ‘rogue traders’ but may also be criminals who are
looking for the chance to get inside your home to look for valuables to steal.
What should I do if someone does call at my door?
- Don’t be pressurised into agreeing to work then and there.
- Ask for contact details so that you can get back to them if you need to.
- Seek advice from a friend, relative or neighbour (they may have been approached
in the same way).
- Contact a reputable trader to get a second opinion and quotation.
- If you are told something is dangerous, consider getting an expert opinion
from a surveyor.
- If possible ask if they have done any work locally and check out any references
they may give you.A reputable trader will be happy to come back and discuss
any work that may need doing.
REMEMBER Look for a trader who is recommended by someone you know or who belongs
to a trade association. Try to get a written quotation. Don’t pay for all the
work until it is completed. Get a final written invoice when the work is completed.
Beware of people knocking on your door offering to do work.