Inaugural Quality Plumbers Week aiming to tackle rogue

September 29th marks the start of the first ever Quality Plumbers Week, which organisers are hoping will help to significantly raise awareness around the problems caused by rogue traders within the industry.

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) is behind the event, which runs until October 5th.

Throughout the week, the body will promote the work of reputable plumbing firms, while helping consumers to spot so-called cowboys.

APHC chief executive John Thompson said: "Rogue traders seem to grab the headlines which tarnishes the entire industry. On behalf of not only our members, but also every hardworking plumber, we want to recognise the hard work and strong skill-set behind the work that they do."

The reason why this campaign is being launched at the end of September is because the seasonal decrease in temperature that occurs around this time of year traditionally marks the start of a busy period for plumbers, with many homeowners keen to invest in new central heating systems before the cold snap hits.

Helping customers to help themselves

According to a recent survey carried out by the APHC, the majority of consumers appear to care that their plumber is a reputable one, although not enough people know how to verify whether or not this is the case when commissioning work on their home.

This was demonstrated by the fact that 83 per cent of respondents said it was important that their plumber held professional qualifications, but 43 per cent admitted they didn't bother to request such information from their tradesperson before deciding if they wanted to hire them.

However, it might not necessarily be the case that homeowners simply don't know this is an important action to take, with fear of embarrassment being one of the main reasons why this topic is never broached.

Worryingly, another of the explanations for this practice not taking place is that consumers have a tendency to trust information supplied on the side of their plumber's vans or websites without question - a fact that rogue traders are believed to be taking advantage of.

As a result, the APHC is hoping to give customers the confidence to be able to ask the key questions to enable them to protect themselves, while also empowering them with the ability to recognise a dud.

Raising awareness

Another important issue being tackled is the reasons why using a rogue trader is a bad thing, with the organisation keen to demonstrate what can happen when a job goes wrong - citing the expense and stress of dealing with unsatisfactory work and repair as a consequence of trying to go down the 'cheaper' route.

Furthermore, the APHC is keen to highlight the good jobs carried out by legitimate plumbers - and is appealing to tradespeople to get in touch so they can champion the professional side of the sector.

They can also get involved via social media - using the hashtag #QPW14 - or by downloading leaflets they can then distribute to their customers and local community.

Finally, consumers are being encouraged to source reputable organisations via the website.

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