Monday, 5 July 2010

Dodgy Traders Could be Thing of the Past.

By Ben Aulakh

A unique way for people to beat rogue traders and cowboy builders is being launched by Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards.

Known as ‘Buy with Confidence,’ the scheme brings together a list of gardeners, plumbers, builders, electricians and other craftsman who have been individually checked for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws.

Officers from trading standards visit and vet every applicant; they are only accepted onto the scheme if they pass a set of stringent checks.

These include looking at past complaints made against businesses, any county court judgements they may have incurred, as well as their credit rating, the company details, the director’s background and credit licensing.

County councillor for customers and communities, Andre Gonzalez de Savage said: “We are often contacted by county residents who are looking for a list of recommended trade’s people.

“Now, through our new approved trader scheme, which is the first of its type in the county, we can help them to find a trusted and reputable trader who has been trading standards approved.”

“Unfortunately rogue traders and cowboy builders continue to operate, especially during these times of economic hardship.”

Every trader who goes into a customer’s homes or garden also must have undergone a basic CRB check.

References are taken from previous customers and approved traders are given feedback cards to leave behind at every job so that trading standards can check that standards aren’t slipping.

Cllr Savage added, “We remain committed to tackling this type of unscrupulous behaviour and the new scheme will help us continue working to stamp out rogue trading in Northamptonshire.”

So far, 26 traders have been accepted on to the scheme, with a further 60 due to be assessed.

Details of traders who have been accepted on to the scheme are available on the county council’s website, www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders, or by telephoning the county council on 01064 236236, or Consumer Direct on 08454 050 506.

Traders who are part of the scheme are entitled to display the Buy with Confidence logo to show their customers the sign of trust.

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