"Cowboy Builder" is a term used to describe traders who make unsolicited calls at consumers homes and then charge exorbitant rates for unnecessary and poor quality work. Often these visits follow after a storm has caused damage to properties and householders are particularly concerned about further damage occurring.
Some people are quite frightened by the possibility of visits from such traders and the Office has prepared "No Doorstep Traders" cards which householders can put in their windows. Although this may not put off doorstep callers in itself, it does let them know that the householder is aware of their rights and is prepared to contact the Office or the police if they are concerned about the callers.
Here is our advice on ensuring that you are not "ripped off" on building work.
Do not agree to anything without knowing exactly what you are agreeing to:-
- ask for written quotations or statements of the exact cost of the goods or services (remember quotations cannot be altered by the trader but estimates are just that - a quotation for £500 of work cannot later be charged at £600 but an estimate of £500 can);
- find out who you are dealing with - get details of the company or individuals name address and contact number;
- don’t disclose financial details such as your bank account number, PIN number (Personal Identification Number) or other account or credit card details before satisfying yourself that the company or individual is legitimate;
- do not make payments in advance, say for materials or other costs;
- obtain quotations or make enquires of other traders before you make any commitment.
For higher value transactions such as major building work you should find out what relevant qualification or experience the trader has. You should also ask for references from other customers and confirm the trader’s membership of any trade body with the organisation itself.
If you have any concerns about "doorstep traders" or would like a "No Doorstep Traders" card contact us on 686520, call in to the Lord Street Office or email us.