One of the many disturbing aspects of the cost-of-living crisis is the surge in scams perpetrated by criminals seeking to cash in on people’s anxiety. As consumers look to save money on their home energy bills, for example, there have been reports of Doorstep Criminals using high-pressure sales tactics to sell poor-quality loft insulation. These products diminish the value of the targeted properties.
A scheme that goes to war against criminal and rogue traders
According to Kent County Council research, the average amount lost to rogue traders is an eye-watering £47,000. Meanwhile, 42% of Kent residents are likely to be targeted by criminals. You can watch some of the shocking stories of financial abuse from doorstep crime victims here: https://vimeo.com/showcase/9983819
At a time when people can least afford to lose money to criminals, it is important that they know where they can find legitimate, trustworthy businesses to carry out work on their homes. Kent County Council’s ‘Trading Standards Checked’ scheme was set up with precisely that in mind.
‘Trading Standards Checked’
The only local scheme which is vetted by experts in Trading Standards and consumer protection law, ‘Trading Standards Checked’ provides reassurance that its members can be trusted. There are more than 200 checked and vetted traders listed on its online portal, including plumbers, builders, painter-decorators, locksmiths and pest-control experts. So, whatever work you need doing on your home, ‘Trading Standards Checked’ should be your first port of call.
‘Trading Standards Checked’ members are required to demonstrate their commitment to best practice: not only when it comes to carrying out work but when it comes to things like dealing with complaints and cancellations. When you do business with a ‘Trading Standards Checked’ scheme trader you can be confident that they are who they say they are – and you know where to reach them if something goes wrong.
‘Raising the Standard’
For Kent businesses, the ‘Trading Standards Checked’ scheme’s Raising the Standard website provides a free business training support package that includes podcasts, booklets, checklists, videos and eLearning modules. These take only 10 minutes and help traders test their knowledge on how to deal with customer complaints. The resource also contains easy-to-digest information about consumer rights law, and tips on how to deal with customers’ concerns about Covid-19. This project is financed by the EU Interreg Channel programme, in a bid to re-build consumer confidence in Kent.
Raising the Standard also has important information for traders about how they can help safeguard Kent’s most vulnerable residents, with useful contact details and resources that can help make Kent a better place to live and work for everybody.
Kent County Council’s Adam Mortimer, who oversees the Trading Standards Checked scheme, said:
“It has never been more important that Kent residents are able to find trustworthy traders who will carry out work honestly, safely and according to the rules. Kent County Council’s ‘Trading Standards Checked’ is the only local trader scheme whose members have been vetted by our Trading Standards experts, so you can be confident that work carried out under the scheme will be of the highest standard.
“The scheme helps consumers by giving them peace of mind when looking for a trader, and it gives traders a boost by putting them among an elite group of legitimate and trustworthy local businesses. We all have a part to play in stamping out rogue traders – and Trading Standards Checked is an important weapon in that battle.”