Trading Rights

When spring cleaning your home and garden morphs into a home improvement project, protect yourself from being caught out.

Be wary of doorstep callers – reputable builders will not cold call on you at home, they usually have enough work that they don’t need to do this.

14 day cancellation notices is your entitlement once work is agreed. If your trader doesn’t give you notice, they’ll commit an offence. Deal with a business who is aware of your consumer legal rights.

Check that your trader is qualified eg. NICEIC electrician or Gas Safe plumber. They risk committing a criminal offence if they make a false claim, be safe and use a different trader.

A deposit should be a maximum of 10% of the full contract value and is non-refundable. Additional up front amounts are classed as a part-payment and could be refundable.

Use a credit card for contracts over £100, the credit card company will then be jointly liable if anything goes wrong.

Ask friends and family for recommendations.

Approved Trader Schemes offer varying degrees of protection. Some allow the trader to buy membership with no checks, others post feedback which may or may not be genuine. Others ask for criminal records checks, references and offer mediation services if the job goes wrong. Make checks to reduce risk of a difficult dispute.

For any related concerns call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline 03454 040506.

Claire Kendall, Trading Standards, Milton Keynes

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