Sharp rise in rogue builder complaints
Homeowners are being warned by Trading Standards to be on their guard as the number duped by rogue builders soars.
In the last financial year (2021/2022) The Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, which covers the whole of Devon and Somerset, received almost 800 complaints – averaging more than two a day – from householders over building work totalling more than £9.5m.
Shoddy work complained of includes loft conversions, extensions, roofing, chimney work, paving, driveways, decking and general building work. The concerns reflect a rise in the number of building fraud claims across the South West’s 11 trading standards authorities last year, with the highest value claim worth over £420,000. Rogue builders use a range of tactics to trick homeowners into using them. The latest methods include fake online reviews, posting on social media sites and advertising on non-verified online platforms. Charging upfront and asking for more money for allegedly increased material costs were also common complaints put to trading standards.
Sherry Carter from Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service said: ‘We continue to receive a large volume of complaints about building work and since April 1 this year we have received more than two complaints every day. The total contract value for these works was more than £9 million in total and the complaints received included both civil and criminal matters. We’re really keen that people arm themselves with the knowledge they need to make the right decisions and they can do that with advice and guidance available on the Trading Standards South West website.’
For more information and advice visit www.tssw.org.uk/consumers/building-fraud
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