Brits Fork Out Over £737 Million To Rectify Botched Jobs By “cowboy” Traders Each Year

26 August 2011

New research1 from Sainsbury’s Home Insurance reveals that 6.2 million (13%) of people in Great Britain have fallen foul of “cowboy” traders in the past five years and have had to pay nearly £3.7bn to rectify botched jobs during this time.

The research suggests that plumbers have caused distress to most, with 1.4m saying they have fallen foul of their poor quality work since 2006.

In light of these alarming findings, Sainsbury’s Home Insurance is urging homeowners to only use reputable, skilled, trades people to avoid taking any risks. Sacrificing quality in favour of saving money, could prove a very costly mistake, as you could find yourself footing a bill much higher than expected as you look to rectify any mistakes or shortcuts. In extreme cases, if a homeowner is proven not to have taken reasonable care of their property, they could also risk invalidating their home insurance.

Ben Tyte, Head of Sainsbury’s Home Insurance comments:“We’re concerned that so many homeowners have to rectify poor workmanship carried out by people they’ve employed in good faith to work in their homes. It’s completely unacceptable that the remedial costs are exceeding £700 million. Of course the burden isn’t just financial; there can be a great deal of personal stress attached to these difficult situations including the clean up and often confrontation.

“In these challenging economic times, it’s understandable that people want to cut back on costs but where work to the home is concerned it’s just not worth the risk. It’s simply false economy, especially if you’ve invalidated your home insurance by not taking due care. It’s imperative you hire a quality tradesman, and make sure that the work is done properly.”

Of those that used tradesmen in the past five years, only a third (36%) say they asked for a number of quotes and a mere 31% asked for a formal written quote for the work. Worryingly just 5% checked if they were accredited by TrustMark, the Government endorsed standards agency, despite this being an easy web-based check via TrustMark’s online database. Men are more thorough in their checking with 15% saying they asked for references opposed to just 9% of women.

Those that have employed a “cowboy” trader in the last five years paid an average of £2,077 for the work they carried out. On top of this amount they had to pay nearly £600 to either repair the damage or complete the unfinished job. This equates to nearly £3.7bn over the last five years. Over 150,000 people are estimated to have paid over £5000 to rectify a botched job.

Ben comments: “There are some simple steps that you can take to avoid calamity, spend some time researching local tradesmen – perhaps ask friends and family for recommendations or ask companies you’re thinking of hiring for references. You should always contact at least three and ask for a written quote, this will give you confidence that you are paying the right amount for the job you need done. Always check for relevant qualifications and accreditations, like TrustMark.”

Ben adds: “We appreciate that there are emergencies where we need access to a good tradesman at short notice, and to help our customers, we provide a 24-hour Home Emergency advice service as part of their cover. This is a valuable service that we offer, where we arrange to deal with the emergency by choosing a qualified person to deal with repairs that require immediate action, for example to make your home safe and secure, or to avoid more damage to your home. We would urge all homeowners to check if their provider offers a service like this, as it could mean the difference between a good and bad – not to mention costly – experience.”

In London one in five has been the victim of a rogue tradesman in the past five years. Those in the East Midlands and North East have suffered least from rogue tradesmen (8%).

Location1 Percentage of people that have fallen foul of a ‘cowboy’ or ‘rogue tradesman’ in the past five years
London 20%
Scotland 17%
Yorkshire & Humberside 16%
Wales 15%
South West 14%
Eastern 13%
North West 12%
South East 10%
West Midlands 9%
North East 8%
East Midlands 8%

About Sainsbury’s Home Insurance:

It is competitively priced and offers an extensive range of cover and benefits.  These include:

– ENDS –

For further information, please contact:

Sophie Woodcock / Ian Morris
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7282 1072/1031

Notes to Editors

1ICM interviewed a random sample of 2003 adults aged 18+ via online between 11th-13th March 2011.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Further information

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