BBC Watchdog catches damp proofing rogue trader

How to avoid rogue traders

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Cathedral damp proofing, a nationwide damp proofing company, was exposed as a rogue trader in the latest episode of BBC Watchdog for recommending unnecessary damp proof injections without renewing damp plaster and not honouring their guarantees for the works.

Watchdog Rogue traders discovered that the company, formally ‘The Damp Detectors Ltd’, was fined 10 years ago for selling damp proofing treatments in areas where there was no damp issue.

BBC Watchdog Rouge Traders commented 

On their website, BBC Watchdog Rogue Traders commented: “We have heard from some of Cathedral Damp's more recent customers who are unhappy with their current service. They include Manjula, who asked the company to investigate a damp problem affecting the walls throughout the ground floor of her home in Preston. Manjula got a number of quotes but chose Cathedral Damp because they promised to fix her problem without removing the plaster. Less mess you see.”

Advice to avoid rogue traders

1. The first piece of advice Consumer Direct offers people considering home maintenance is to ask friends and neighbours for recommendations and review testimonials. Remember to consider recommendations from friends via Twitter and Facebook.

2. Look for traders who belong to trade associations approved by the Government endorsed Trustmark scheme such as the Property Care Association.

3. Go for local firms with established premises and reputations - be wary if the only point of contact is a mobile phone number. Look for a contact us web page with local branches within your area.

4. Do not be afraid to ask for references and check them out.

5. Ask about property repair guarantees, appropriate insurance and their qualifications and experience.

6. Be clear about exactly what you want doing and what you expect. To give you a better idea of what you should expect from a damp proofing company, review our property repair process.

7. Ask the damp proofing company if the survey and work will be in accordance with the British Standard Code of Practice. It gives guidance on proper diagnosis and treatment of damp proofing problems.

8. Do not be too impatient. A good damp proofing company is usually busy.

9. Do not pay for all the works up front - even in an emergency. A deposit is acceptable and is generally around 25-35% of the total bill.

10. Ensure you get a detailed damp proofing quote for the work.

11. Keep a record of the damp proofing work done and payments made.

12. Avoid paying cash and always get a receipt.

13. And lastly, do not be afraid to ask questions. Reputable damp proofing company will usually be happy to talk a job through and do not be afraid to seek further advice from Government backed membership bodies such as the Property Care Association.

You can contact the PCA on 0800 65 22 678 or visit their website at www.property-care.org.