Anxiety surrounding finding trustworthy tradespeople is leaving older people across the country struggling with home repairs. New research has revealed that almost a quarter (23%) of 65+ year olds don’t know where to find information and are not confident when it comes to choosing a tradesman to carry out work in their homes .
As a result one in five older people are leaving household jobs and repairs or attempting to carry out work themselves.
Those that are choosing tradespeople are placing themselves at the risk of rogues by not checking they have the right skills. Only 2% of the older people questioned said that they based their selection of a tradesperson on whether or not they had the right qualifications for the job.
To tackle this issue, TrustMark has teamed up with the country’s leading charity for older people, Age UK, to provide a resource for those looking for quality tradespeople. Giving older people the confidence to find tradespeople from all over the UK, the new TrustMark directory now sits on Age UK’s website to help older people and their families choose from a selection of vetted traders in their area.
The new tool from TrustMark and Age UK gives older people the assurance that they are hiring people who have passed the most stringent business and customer service checks, but have also had previous work checked onsite by qualified inspectors.
Liz Male, Chairman of TrustMark said: “Frankly, I feel it’s a national embarrassment that any older person is put in this position, with fear and confusion about who they can let into their homes to do even the simplest of property repairs or home improvement projects. Most older people are confident and well-equipped to deal with these situations. But if we know of a relative, friend or neighbour who does not have a network of reputable local tradespeople they can call upon, if we know that they’re struggling to get work done, we have a responsibility to signpost them to an independent and safe source of advice and assistance.
“TrustMark’s work with Age UK is driven by shared values around consumer protection. We are working together to encourage people in later life to undertake necessary work in their homes with confidence, armed with the right questions to ask and safe in the knowledge that they have the best of the nation’s trades men and women working in their homes.”
John Edwards, Head of Service Delivery at Age UK, comments: “Age UK provides advice on anything to do with getting older and information to help ensure older people make informed choices and get the support they need. Our work with TrustMark means we are able to offer an important resource for older homeowners looking for expert and trusted tradespeople.”
There is so much in the press and on television about innocent people being duped and cheated by cowboy builders, such as the current Cowboys and Angels and Dominic Littlewood’s Cowboy Builders that it is good to know we have somewhere to go to now to check credentials. Of course, nothing is better than local recommendations.
For more information and to find a tradesperson in your area go to www.ageuk.org.uk/trustmark
Anyone with information about bogus workmen should contact trading standards on 0300 1234561 or police on 101.
A great-grandmother was recently targeted by a rogue tradesman who conned her out of thousands of pounds. Mary Brander, 86, paid £3,200 for work in her garden which has since been valued at £800.
Mary was visited by a cold-caller at her home in Elgin, Moray by a man offering to carry out work in her garden and the two men refused to leave until they got their money. The widow, who lives alone and uses a walking frame and wheelchair to get around, has shared her story to stop other elderly people becoming victims of con artists. Mary said: “I’ve learned my lesson the hard way. I’d not like to think of anyone else going through it. I wish I’d shut the door on that man when he first came. I’ve lost my money but I will try and save it up again.”
Police Scotland Moray Area Commander Chief Inspector Willie Findlay said: “Bogus workmen and rogue traders prey on the vulnerable in our communities and commit quite unscrupulous crimes.”