Residents in Plymouth are being reminded to choose a reputable trader when it comes to all those summer jobs.
With more of us spending time outside and looking to make home or garden improvements, Plymouth City Council’s Trading Standards team is issuing some tips about getting it right.
- Try a ‘Buy with confidence’ approved trader first or a recommended person when employing someone to complete any work.
- Take your time when choosing a business and NEVER agree to a contract on the doorstep.
- Get written quotes – check the paperwork, get an address of the tradesman or woman and don’t be shy about asking for references.
- Avoid paying large deposits and never pay for all the work upfront.
- If you are considering work on trees in your garden make sure you employ someone who knows what they are doing. Many have preservation orders or can’t be disturbed during nesting season etc. Only employ a qualified tree surgeon or Buy with Confidence member.
- Experienced or approved gardeners will know what will bloom and what will perish in your garden.
- Always ask the contractor how they plan to get rid of the waste the work created.
Trading Standards manager Alex Fry said: “This is the time of year when people go around housing estates in Plymouth offering to do work such as resurfacing drives, block paving, and chopping down trees.
“While we don’t want to stop people from earning a living, we are more concerned with protecting the residents of Plymouth, particularly the more vulnerable, who may be persuaded by pushy doorstep tactics.
“We have had an instance where one couple paid £18,000 to get the drive sorted and they were left with a shocking pile of rubbish. Another example is a doorstep call on an elderly gentleman who agreed to some gardening work. The trader told him a large fir tree in the back garden was diseased and had to come down.
“The elderly gentleman did not want tree to be cut, but the trader was very insistent. He was charged £440, left with all the logs and about 10 foot of tree trunk. We got a tree surgeon to check out the tree – it wasn’t diseased. We investigated for fraud offences, but unfortunately the traders have never been found.”
If you are considering getting work done, one way of making sure all the right checks has been carried out is by going through the Buy With Confidence website www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or to the list of companies in Plymouth on the Council website www.plymouth.gov.uk/tsconsumeradvice
There are now over 200 businesses in Plymouth who are now part of the Buy With Confidence scheme.
All members have been vetted by Trading Standards, have the necessary insurances and each business that applies to be part of the scheme has their complaints history reviewed and receives a visit from Trading Standards.
Good references are required from previous customers and applicants must agree to abide by the scheme’s code of conduct, which requires them to follow the letter and spirit of the law. Criminal records disclosure may also be required in some circumstances.
Only if all the scheme requirements are met, will a business be granted membership, and their conduct will continue to be monitored.
Are you a reputable business who is reliable and trustworthy? Why not sign up to Buy with Confidence. To find out more visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or call 01752 304147.