The warning comes amid concerns ‘cowboy tradespeople’ are seeking to take advantage of consumers looking to cut back on the cost of home improvement or maintenance work in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis and stretched household finances.
Unqualified individuals may impersonate heating technicians, plumbers and other skilled tradespeople. Their work can lead to unsafe or inefficient heating systems and additional costs – with the average homeowner spending over £1,883 to repair rogue work (CIPHE).
In response OFTEC, a registration body for off-gas grid heating, is encouraging households in Lancashire to do their research before booking a tradesperson and to avoid attempting dangerous DIY repairs to cut costs. The advice includes:
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Ask for credentials.
Don’t just take their word for it.
Avoid last minute or DIY repairs.
Don’t cut back on regular maintenance.
Beware of strangers at your door.
Malcolm Farrow, from OFTEC, said: “As the cost of living increases, many consumers are understandably trying to save money wherever they can. Rogue traders are sadly using this situation to target households with pressure selling and shoddy workmanship.
“Always do your research before letting a tradesperson in your home, and don’t be afraid to ask for their credentials. Whilst it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option, if you’re quoted a price significantly lower than all the others it could be a scam that leaves you with an expensive repair bill. It’s important to remember only qualified tradespeople should work on a heating system so don’t be tempted to try to fix the problem yourself.”
“If genuine, a trader will be more than happy to prove their identity and qualification details. For oil households, if you have any concerns about a heating technician, contact OFTEC directly for advice and support.”
Checkatrade has revealed a staggering 6.7 million UK adults, one is six, have been impacted by a rogue trade over the last year.
More information about rogue traders can be found on the Citizens Advice website – You can find a local registered heating technician near you at www.oftec.org or www.gassaferegister.co.uk.