More than half (54 per cent) of people in the UK would trust a tradesperson based on appearance instead of their professional credentials, according to new research.
The worrying figures have been released by national plumbing register WaterSafe, ahead of the launch of its new campaign on Thursday (September 25th), which will aim to raise awareness of how consumers can protect themselves against cowboy workers.
It is hoped the initiative will encourage more people to ask questions of their plumber before allowing them to start a job, while also reassuring them that there are plenty of ways to avoid being conned.
However, it appears as though one of the first steps in achieving this is to help homeowners understand the importance of not just taking their tradesperson's credibility at face value. The survey found more than two-thirds (67 per cent) were influenced by whether or not their plumber had fresh breath or a clean smell.
In contrast, fewer than one in three people admitted to actually checking up on their plumber's credentials - despite the problem of rogue traders costing the economy an estimated £2.6 billion over the last few years.
To try to combat this issue, WaterSafe's TAP (Trust Approved Traders) campaign will encourage consumers to use the organisation's own website when considering who to hire for a job. The initiative will run on social media platforms, while renowned broadcast journalist Alice Beer will also help to spread the message.
WaterSafe director Julie Spinks said: "The reality ... of not using a properly qualified plumber is not only dangerous, it’s a false economy and could end up costing the homeowner a small fortune to repair, not to mention the safety hazards."