As renovation season in Australia gets underway, unscrupulous people pretending to be trustworthy tradesmen are expected to be on the increase. Many of these target unsuspecting victims like seniors or females, claiming to perform home repairs or renovations at a cheap price, but unfortunately only end up leaving part way with your money, and never to return to finish off the work.
Organised travelling trades conmen
Typically, these travelling trades conmen operate in organised groups, combing neighbourhoods for residents that they can sweet-talk into getting home repairs or renovations done. More often than not, these travelling trades conmen ask for cash up front. They then begin working on whatever project they are engaged for, but often flee with the money a short while later, leaving a job incomplete or badly done.
Every year, government agencies like NSW Fair Trading and Crime Stoppers are swamped with complaints about these travelling trades conmen. They also issue constant warnings about them on their websites, but many home owners still fall victim to their modus. In 2013 alone, 56 incidents have already been reported in New South Wales. For the entire country, a total of 85 incidents of travelling trades conmen scamming people have taken place this year, according to StopTravellingConMen.org.
Women on a Mission
As these travelling conmen tradesmen continue to wreak havoc for many homeowners, the all female team at Tradebusters has embarked on a mission to take them on by offering homeowners a safe means of accessing legitimate and vetted tradesmen with complete peace of mind.
CEO of Tradebusters, Laorence Nohra comments, “The warnings with conman tradies are disturbing. We have met senior users of our service that had delayed essential safety-related repair works around their home for up to 10 years due to fear of dealing with tradesmen. We have also experienced many being taken advantage of, and in one instance a gentleman quoted for a job more than 5 times necessary as compared to another quote sourced from a tradesmen in our network”.
As part of Tradebusters’ campaign to stop these conmen tradesmen, they share with you top tips on how to spot and deal with them.
1. Be “extremely” suspicious of anyone knocking on your door and offering tradie services. Some may “appear” to be helpful by claiming that have identified a problem on your property like overgrown trees or roof damage and may even go as far as claiming that your local Council has sent them. Be weary of these conmen tradies. Simply be polite and tell them you cannot afford such services right now, or request a business card and say you will contact them in future.
2. Legitimate tradesmen are licensed and insured. If someone offers to do some work on your house, ask to see a copy of his licence and insurance. Ensure the licence is in their name and not someone else’s. If they are unable to produce these, then perhaps they are not someone you want to be doing business with.
3. If they ask you for cash up front, and offer to drive you to the bank so you can get the cash, stay calm, politely decline and say you don’t have the money to carry out any kind of work on your home at this time.
4. If they become insistent to the point where they are already forcing you into some kind of a deal to get home repairs or renovations done by them, lock the door, and call the police.
5. Trust your instincts. If they appear pushy, dodgy, suspicious, they mostly like! And they certainly are not individuals you want in your home.
If you do need home repairs or renovations done, there is always a much safer way to find legitimate tradesmen. You can seek recommendations for trustworthy tradesmen from family or friends or a reputable tradesmen service provider like Tradebusters, that has long established relationships with tradesmen in its network.
As a special free service for aged seniors, as part of the Tradebusters campaign to stop the conman tradie, the team at Tradebusters also offer an assistance service to carry out any extra checks you need to help establish if a tradesmen you plan to engage is legitimate. Simply contact Tradebusters and speak to a member of the team.