If you want someone to build your conservatory, fix your electrics or plug a leak, it might be best to do it yourself. A recent survey puts electricians, plumbers and builders in the UK’s top 10 most distrusted professions.
Co-op’s survey may not put them in the top three – that dubious distinction goes to politicians, bankers and journalists (not Which? journalists, obviously). But it’s pretty worrying when we rely on these traders to fix our most expensive asset – our home.
A special mention also goes to estate agents (fifth place), who may well have sold us our house in the first place.
The steady stream of stories about ‘cowboy builders’ ripping off homeowners and doing bodge jobs has made many of us understandably nervous about getting someone in.
Unfortunately, if you (like me) think ‘AC/DC’ is a rock band and that a ‘socket wrench’ sounds painful, then you really have no choice. DIY just isn’t an option for me because I enjoy all 10 of my fingers.
Ways to find a decent trader
So what do we do when our trust in trades breaks down? Thankfully, one option is to turn to Which? Local. This contains listings for most tradespeople recommended by Which? members in their local area.
There are also numerous other methods to ensure your trade is trustworthy:
- Make sure traders sign a contract.
- Check they have a landline number and address, not just a phone number.
- Check they’re a member of a regulated trade body, such as the Gas Safe register for gas engineers.
- And you can find more tips to avoid getting ripped-off here.
However, the fact remains that the cowboys are still out there roaming free and the law needs to come down hard. The government needs to put effective legislation in place to make sure that these traders can’t operate outside the law.
Or am I being too harsh? Is there already enough legislation? Are the majority of builders brilliant and just being let down by a few bad apples?