If you’ve recently had some work done in your home, such as electrical rewiring, you should now be enjoying a safer and more modern electrical system. If you’ve noticed the low quality of the completed job – or the fact the job hasn’t been finished – you may have fallen victim to a cowboy trader.
With the availability of names and details of companies online, it’s easy to find a list of businesses to carry out specialist work such as rewiring or the upgrading of your consumer unit.
But unless you scratch the veneer of a great looking website and find some reviews and accreditations, you really don’t know who you’re dealing with.
Even more important, remember this: not all reviews are real. Some rogue traders will post 5 star reviews of themselves under false names under the guise of being a satisfied customer. They may also trawl directory sites to boost their scores.
What to look for in a review
Many cowboy traders will give glowing reports of their own work but the chances are they are fake reviews left to try to improve their reputation. There are many review sites available on the web where you’ll find honest appraisals, and a healthy dose of skepticism will help you weed out the fakes.
Always use recognised review sites such as checkatrade.com. On these sites, local authorities and Trading Standards work with the provider to ensure impartial reviews are always published. The company interviews, background checks and continually reviews all members. Every member has to agree to the feedback – both positive and negative – so providing true picture of the level of quality of workmanship they can expect.
There are also case studies on company sites, as well as customer feedback on the websites of the companies themselves. Make sure these are accredited to a real person, ideally with a link, and ignore any that are not credited to specific, named individuals.
What to do after you’ve read the reviews
After asking friends and family for referrals, take on board the reviews from a trusted site such as Check A Trade. After that, talk to the companies.
Ring each one and ask them about testimonials and case studies of similar work they have carried out. The companies that are professional will share customer feedback, or point you to case studies and real world examples.
Also, take the opportunity whilst on the phone to get a general feel of how committed they would be to the work you need carrying out, if they sound experienced in their work and whether you feel you could develop a good client-business relationship with their team. It’s sensible to mention your deadline at this point.
Once you have made the initial contact and made the decision who you want to work with, get that crucial quote in writing so you have something to fall back on. Get them to agree to a completion date: you don’t want this work dragging on until next Christmas.
Work with an expert
MD Bespoke Solutions is more than happy to give details of happy customers, and has numerous case studies on the website. We can show you details of a complete rewire following water damage, or the installation of a custom lighting system.
If you’ve had the stressful experience of hiring a cowboy and need someone to sort out the mess, call us today. We’ll offer immediate advice and information before visiting to start work – contact us today.