HOMEOWNERS are being warned about the risks of sourcing tradespeople through social media.

The Public Protection Partnership (PPP) covers Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire and Wokingham.

It explained over the past 12 months people have been spending a lot more time at home and as a result building and home improvement projects have never been more popular.

The PPP said: "We’re seeing a trend of consumers sourcing their tradespeople via community groups and pages on social media.

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"A typical post might go along the lines of “Does anyone know a builder who can quote for our extension project.”

"People are then using the recommendations in the responses to source their tradesperson, without do any further research on the person/company recommended."

PPP are urging homeowners to do their homework before engaging with any tradesperson before allowing them to work on their home and garden.

The advice they have given includes:

  • Always get three quotes for any work you want commencing
  • Get the work expected in writing with a price, make sure you are happy with what’s being listed as the work that will be undertaken
  • If you’re relying on a recommendation then do so from someone you know and trust, a friend, neighbour or relative. Go and see the work the tradesperson did for that person. Were they happy and was the work up to standard?
  • Consider traders who are members of approval schemes - such as Buy With Confidence
  • If traders are registered with their trades guilds explore the protections this may give you

PPP added: "Remember that you have cancellation rights of 14 days if the contract is made away from trade premises.

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"This is a cooling off period to think about the quote given and maybe seek advice as to whether the price quoted is reasonable.

"It’s important to remember to avoid allowing a tradesperson to start the job before the 14 days are up.

"If you do you’re waiving your right to cancel and the trader must confirm in writing that the consumer is waiving their right to cancel by allowing the job to commence."

If you have had dealings with a tradesperson you are not happy with, such as the work is incomplete, not started as promised or sub-standard then please contact the Trading Standards team on 01635 50324.