Nearly half of consumers 'at risk of rogue traders'

A surprisingly large proportion of households are putting themselves at risk of falling victim to rogue traders by not asking to see their plumber's identification or qualifications before they begin work on their property.

Research from the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has found 43 per cent of people don't bother to check their tradesperson's credentials ahead of them starting a job. Similarly, almost one in three (30 per cent) failed to confirm their plumber's identity.

The APHC polled 1,000 homeowners in England and Wales to get the results of their study, concluding that too many were taking a significant risk in not questioning who their professionals were.

Interestingly, despite the headline finding, over four-fifths (83 per cent) of those surveyed said the qualifications of people they employed were an important factor when choosing who they wanted to carry out the job.

One barrier was that many admitted they were too embarrassed to ask when push came to shove, instead putting their faith in the credentials displayed on their work vehicles and websites.

APHC chief executive John Thompson said: "This research clearly demonstrates the trust the public puts in unknown tradesmen. When we invite anyone into our homes we are putting ourselves in a potentially vulnerable situation and despite high profile campaigns to raise awareness the message isn’t being taken on-board."

However, Mr Thompson noted that cases of rogue traders were "relatively rare" - although the organisation wanted to encourage consumers to remain vigilant in order to limit the occasions when unwitting members of the public are caught out by unsatisfactory or dangerous work being done in their homes.

To further support this aim, the APHC has released a series of guides to advise customers on what they can expect from their plumber and to give them a basic understanding of possible maintenance they may require in their homes.

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