How to Spot a Rogue Trader

A rogue trader, also known as a cowboy is a person or a team of people who are not professionals in any specific trade. Rogue traders are people who trade without following standard business practices. Rogue traders are likely to complete a task in your home to an unsatisfactory standard.

It’s fair to say most tradespeople are not rogue traders. Most tradespeople are professionals in what they do and will charge a reasonable price for the work they do. A professional tradesperson will always be accountable. A professional tradesperson will not put their name on poor quality work. If something were unsatisfactory to you, they would be back right away to correct the issue. So how do you avoid rogue trader? There are plenty of them out there, and I’m sure you want to protect yourself from their scams. I have compiled a list of tips to avoid rogue traders

Rogue Trader

Rogue Traders and Door-to-Door Sales – Cold Calling

Many rogue traders relish the opportunity to speak face-to-face with you. Cowboy traders will call at your door unannounced. The goal is to try and put you under pressure to have work done in your home immediately. An example would be – they spot a little issue such as a weed growing out of your gutter. The fraudster will then fabricate a story to have you believe you need to replace all your gutters.

Another example would be they have noticed a roof tile out of place on your roof. A rogue trader would tell you it’s a bad sign and you may need to replace all your roof tiles and your roof is failing. The reality is the one roof tiles had to be put back in place or replacing.

Another one of the tricks of cowboy traders knocking at your door unannounced is telling you the job should cost X amount, but they will do it today as a 50% reduction. For you to get the discount, it has to be today!

Do not ever fall for the one-day discount trick. It may seem like you’re getting a good deal, but in reality, you aren’t. You know the old saying – if it’s too good to be true it probably is.

Rogue Traders
Rogue Trader

Poor quality workmanship

Rogue traders are famous for providing shoddy workmanship. They have no real interest in completing the job to the best of their ability. They only want to get it done as fast as possible and be off with your money.

A cowboy roofer, for instance, may rush through a roof repair on your roof to get to the next job as quick as he can. The quicker he can get the job done the more money he makes. If corners have to be cut, then so be it.

A rogue trader will want to leave your property as quick as possible. With a bit of luck, you will not ask to inspect their handiwork.

It should raise alarm bells if they ask you for money upfront as this can put you in a tough situation. If a cowboy roofer leaves your property halfway through a job they have already have some or even all the money.

Not willing to provide written quotes

A written quote is a breakdown of all the costs involved for materials, labor, and any other expenses. A written quote is given to you before any work commences. If you are happy with the written quote provided by the tradesmen and agree to have the job done by them, then the written quote must be adhered to.

Rogue traders aren’t comfortable with providing written quotes. If issue a written quote they will have to abide by the costs they have put in writing. Many cowboy traders may guess how much materials cost only to find out they cost more than they imagined.

Cowboy traders will often cut corners to get the job done quicker. A written quote would hold them accountable for the quality of work they have done for you. Precisely the reason why they avoid giving them to you.

The way cowboy traders like to do business is they will give you a rough estimate of how much the job will cost. The usual scenario is when the job is complete the final bill will cost a lot more than the initial estimate. The fact that you aren’t given a written quotation means rogue traders can wiggle their way out of accountability. Costs of materials, labor, and any unforeseen issues can be explained away.

Not having a written quote means cowboy roofers can charge whatever they like.

Protect yourself from this happening to you by getting a fixed quote in writing.

Methods of payment

Cowboy roofers are likely to ask for money upfront. They will usually ask for cash only before any work commences. Let this be a warning sign to you. Asking for cash only allows the rogue trader to avoid having to provide you with any traceable paperwork. They may also be avoiding having to pay tax on their earnings. Another reason they may insist on being paid cash is you have no way of claiming your money back through a bank. If you’re not satisfied with the work, there’s no way of getting your cash back.

Avoids having to pay VAT

A lot of small traders do not have to pay any VAT. Cowboy roofers will not charge you VAT for any work they do for you. They choose not to pay VAT and are operating illegally.

Cannot provide any references or reviews

You should be concerned if you are having work done on your roof by someone who cannot provide you with any positive reviews from previous clients. It will serve you well to ask them for any contact numbers of former clients. Surely some past clients would be more than happy to provide them with a positive review.  Alternatively, if they have a website have a look to see if they have any positive reviews on there.

Contact information

Most tradespeople who have been trading for any length of time will have invested in a website. If you can’t find a website check to see if the tradesperson has a social media account. A rogue trader isn’t likely to have any online presence at all, so they are harder to find. Rogue traders often provide false details and addresses. Doing so makes them hard to catch and hold them accountable.

Keep in mind if a tradesperson doesn’t want you to have their contact information there ’s a good reason for it. It might have something to do with the fact the tradesperson is not legitimate.

It’s only fair to point out that not all door-to-door callers are fraudsters. Indeed some of them are legitimately trying to make an honest living. My advice would be for you never to make any impulse buys at the door but if you ever do always pay with a credit card. A credit card gives you the opportunity to claim your money back if something goes wrong. Once cash has gone, it’s gone for good. Ask for a business card from them. Do your some research on Google, Facebook Etc. Ask opinions from other professional tradespeople.