How to avoid a rogue trader

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We’ve all been there – something in the house or garden needs fixing or work doing – you have neither the skillset or the time to do it – so you do a little search on Google to find someone that can. You pick one of the companies or people that comes up on the first page and give them a call for a quote, you say yes to secure their services because you are in a hurry to get the job done.


But how many of us have not had the job done? How many of us have been scammed by a trader? Over-charged? Or the work not completed properly, on time or to a good standard?

The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme has just launched a new campaign which encourages you to do your homework before you engage traders and companies to work for you, so you can hopefully avoid all these scenarios.

The campaign features characters which represent the four main types of rogue traders that consumers complain about – Costly, Clumsy, Shady and Lazy – and showcases through a series of videos and posters – that you can’t tell just by meeting or speaking to people if they fall into one of these categories.

Whilst it will take more time and effort, doing your research before you commission a trader or company to do some work for you will hopefully mitigate any problems or issues further down the line.

  • Ask your friends and neighbours for recommendations.
  • Read through ALL of the online reviews , not just the top ones – watch out for glowing fake reviews – most genuine reviews will be more balanced.
  • Find out if they will accept the majority of payment after the job is completed and don’t go with any trader who asks for 100% of the payment upfront.
  • Never accept services from someone out of the blue – always make sure you initiate the process.
  • Shop around and get a variety of quotes, if one quote is significantly below market price then avoid them as rogue traders are known for under-cutting the market to entice customers.

Don’t be afraid to ask them questions beforehand too:

  • How do they accept payment? Cash payment are fine if it works for you, but always discuss the possibility of online payment before work begins. If they flat out refuse bank transfers, consider their true intentions.
  • Would they have something to lose if the job went wrong?
  • Do they contract to other reputable businesses in the local area?
  • Do they have business branding and a website in place?
  • Are they part of a larger organisation? Who could kick them out if something went wrong!

Above all, look out for the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme logo and check their online directory for a list of approved members. The Consumer Codes Approval scheme aims to improve customer service standards through the approval and promotion of codes of practice overseen by code sponsors, approved by the Chartered Trading Standards institute (CTSI). Businesses that are members of a code of practice can be a more reliable indicator of quality than online reviews for customers, plus all members work is backed up by a robust complaints and ADR procedure and will give you protection beyond your normal consumer rights. You can look out for the CTSI approved code logo when searching for a business and be confident that any approved business you choose has a proven commitment to honest business and higher customer standards.

To find out more go to

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