WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL NEWS
Workmen To Face
Secret Repair Tests
Workmen who cut
corners, or who invent faults to make money while repairing household
appliances could be walking into a trap set by Warwickshire trading
Council staff will be
posing as ordinary members of the public waiting to have their
‘broken’ appliances fixed.
And those chosen to
take part in the tests will be those repairmen who have been reported
by unsatisfied customers to Warwickshire trading standards.
With complaints about
home maintenance, repairs and improvements now topping the Office Of
Fair Trading national complaints list, trading standards officers are
determined to deal with traders who mislead consumers by carrying out
overpriced and unnecessary work.
The traders will be
invited to repair gas and large electrical appliances that have been
given simple faults.
unscrupulous workmen have included:
taking as long as
possible to complete a quick job when charging by the hour,
removing parts that are working perfectly and charging for new
more problems that actually exist sometimes leading to the
replacement of the whole appliance.
Cllr John Haynes,
portfolio holder for community services, said:
attempt to mislead consumers by making a repair job more complicated
and costly than it should be are disadvantaging consumers and
Noel Hunter, director
of Warwickshire Trading Standards, added:
"Last year in
Warwickshire, the trading standards service received 891 complaints
about home maintenance, repair and improvement companies, the second
highest complaint category after second-hand cars, highlighting the
need for an enforcement survey of this kind."
The project will run
until the end of the year when the results will be announced.
The latest OFT
figures available show complaints concerning home maintenance, repair
and improvements totalled 18, 670 in the last three months alone
across the country.
standards asked us to pass on this advice to consumers:
Do not simply
pick the first repairman out of the telephone directory as soon as
something goes wrong,
If you can, get
at least three quotes from local, well established, reputable
traders with reputations to protect,
who have been personally recommended or that you have used
previously and have been happy with (and keep their telephone
numbers to hand for future emergencies).
companies charge by the hour, so ensure you know how much the job
will cost before employing them.
For more information
call trading standards on 01926 414000.