Recent research shows that 60% of consumers believe they will get ripped off by those in the home maintenance industry (such as plumbers, heating engineers, electricians, builders etc.). The research shows that 18% of the people surveyed said that TV programmes such as ‘Rogue Traders’ have put them off from using a home maintenance tradesman.
In addition to the research done by the Department for Business, other research shows that 82% of people do not trust builders plumbers of electricians.
New consumer protection regulations have recently come into force to protect consumers from rogue traders who not only exploit consumers but also damage the reputation of an entire industry, creating a negative perception on a large number of honest plumbers, builders and tradesmen.
According to the new regulations, it is now illegal to “trade unfairly”, closing loopholes that rogue traders exploited. A list was introduced with over 30 practices that were banned, including using fake credentials, aggressive doorstep selling and playing on fears of vulnerable people in order to secure a sale.
Gareth Thomas, Consumer Affairs Minister said: “Honest traders understand the value of treating customers fairly. They have had enough of losing profit to those who use underhand techniques. The consumer protection regulation will deliver better protection for consumer and put in place a clearer consumer law that will be easier to interpret and enforce.”
The new law will be enforced by the Trading Standard and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Breaking the law can lead to sanctions such as unlimited fines and lengthy prison sentences.