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Rogue traders

Rogue traders, also known as cowboy builders, target people and deceive them into spending a lot of money by pretending to be professional builders or salespeople. They use their hard-sell tactics to convince people to agree to unnecessary repairs or buying products like stairlifts and walk-in baths.

Agreeing to buy a product or service from a trader you don't know can have serious consequences for you, your home and your money. Never let people who turn up unexpectedly do any work for you and never buy anything from them. If a deal sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Stop, chain, check!

To help protect yourself and your home:

  • Stop and think before you open your door
  • Check who it is through the window or door viewer
  • Put the chain on before you open your door

Always check the caller's identity badge or card, even if they've made an appointment with you. You can ask the person to post their proof of identity through the letter box. This should have their name, company and telephone number on it. Or just look up the company in the phonebook and give them a ring to make sure the caller is legitimate. If they are, they won't mind the wait!

If in doubt, keep them out!

Report scams or rogue traders

If you've been a victim of rogue traders, contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

If you think rogue traders are operating in your area, contact your local police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

TrustMark approved tradesmen

Trustmark helps you find a local tradesperson who is trustworthy, reliable and operates to Government endorsed standards.

All of the TrustMark-listed tradesman have been independently verified through on-site inspections and checks on their trading records and financial status. They have all signed up to a code of practice that includes insurance, health and safety practices, and customer care. Trustmark continually monitors the firm's quality of work, customer warranty, trading practices, insurance-backed warranty, and deposit protection insurance in case the firm should stop trading.

Trustmark is also aware of building regulations, have a clear user-friendly complaints procedure, and is supported by the government, the building industry and consumer protection groups.

All selected tradesmen will display the Trustmark logo to let you know they've been approved and meet all of the requirements. Always check that tradesmen are licensed for all of the work you ask them to carry out.

Middlesbrough Council's Staying Put Agency operates a 'select list of contractors' who all have the Trustmark accreditation. For more details call 0800 5875184 or email