How To Spot A Rogue Trader
A rogue trader, otherwise known as someone who completes work without due regard for normal business practises.
Most tradesmen aren’t rogue traders and will offer a good quality of work for a fair price and remain accountable for their services if something were to go wrong. However, rogue traders are out there, so how do you ensure that you don’t fall for any scams?
Here are some tell-tale signs to help you spot a rogue trader.
Many rogue traders will use the opportunity of face-to-face meetings to put you under pressure to have work done. This is called cold-calling, where they turn up on your doorstep uninvited. They will use tactics such as saying they have noticed ‘faults’ on your property while working in the area and will offer you a ‘one day’ only discount, so it seems like you are getting a good deal when in reality you aren’t. If it seems to good to be true, it probably is!
The work completed by a rogue trader will be done to a poor standard as they are only interested in pocketing your money. They will rush through the tasks because they are already planning where to go next and they will want to escape before you have had time to inspect their handiwork. Be cautious if they ask for the money up-front as this can put you in a vulnerable position as they will be likely to leave halfway through a job.
UNWILLING TO PROVIDE QUOTES
A quote is an offer to do the work for a set amount and once agreed, that offer must be adhered to.
Rogue traders are normally unwilling to put any costs in writing because they don’t want to commit to anything and don’t usually complete what they have promised. Instead, they will give you an estimate before completing the work and then charge you a bill after, but it could be completely different to what they originally stated at the beginning. Due to you not having a definite quote, it means the rogue traders can put the price of the work up whenever they like, ultimately charging you much more than necessary, without your knowledge.
The safest thing to do is to get an actual fixed quote in writing before you commit to having any work done.
When it comes to payment, rogue traders sometimes ask for it up-front and cash-only. This is a bad sign as it is highly suspicious because it suggests they are avoiding any kind of traceable paperwork and tax but also so customers can’t attempt to reclaim money through the banks.
We always advise you to pay for any work via credit card or finance, so that way if anything did go wrong, we can help you put in a claim to your credit card or finance company to get your money back.
Some small traders don’t need to pay VAT, many rogue traders won’t charge VAT because they are operating illegally and choose not to pay it.
NO REFERENCES OR REVIEWS
It is a major concern if a trader can’t supply any positive references or reviews from former clients. Be sure to ask them for reviews or have a look at their website to see if they have any on there.
Well established tradesmen will invest in a website and online presence as a method to expand their business, however, a rogue trader won’t have a need to be located online as they will want to keep their footprint small and be hard to reach. As well as this, rogue traders will most likely give out false details or fail to provide any at all.
Remember, if a tradesperson is reluctant to share details about them or their company, it could be because they are not legitimate.