How To Stop A Cowboy Builder In His Tracks

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At SRL Limited, we always preach quality over everything:

It may seem like we are tooting our own horn, but it’s more than that. A recent customer complaint highlighted a disturbing trend. More and more homeowners are avoiding carrying out vital home repairs because of the fear of cowboy builders and door-to-door salesmen. The fear of a shoddy job is actually keeping people from making their homes more energy efficient and comfortable.

A recent incident where our installation team had to clean up after an incomplete and appalling job by a ‘builder’ just goes to highlight this trend. They had been contracted to install a five-leaf bi-fold door with double glazing on a property. The job had gone over cost and was two months behind schedule. The owner ended up taking them to small claims court.

Luckily they won the case and had their money refunded, but that isn’t the case, more than half of the time. In our bid for getting a bargain, many homeowners fall victim. They are sucked in by the promise of low prices and a stellar job. That s NEVER the case. When they strike, they can leave your home in a right mess, and downright dangerous.

The law protects homeowners, (to an extent) by insisting that any goods bought from a door to door salesman MUST:

  • match their description.
  • be of satisfactory quality.
  • all services must also be carried out with reasonable care and skill.
  • all services must be finished in a reasonable, agreed time frame.
  • be provided at a reasonable, mutually agreed cost.

If any disputes arise, the police cannot intervene, because it is a civil matter. As long as you have a record of evidence, (receipts, correspondence, photos, etc.), you have a good chance of claiming your money back, in small claims court.

Identifying these crooks can be difficult as they have the gift of gab and will sweet talk you, but there is an underlying pattern.

We have put together a six-point list to help you stop a cowboy builder in his tracks:

1. How long has your company been in business?

Experience is a major factor in determining the quality of work. When choosing a tradesman/company to install your bi-folds, you need to know that they are competent and have a record of doing a great job.

At SRL Limited, our engineers have an average experience level of 4 years each, in the trade. Working with us guarantees a prompt and professional job.

2. What kind of training and experience do your technicians have?

Another way to ensure that a door company does a quality installation job is by inquiring about the type of training their installers have. Proper installation is the only way to reap the benefits of using energy efficient doors and windows.

3. Ask for reviews or testimonials from customers.

Look up the company website and see what past users have said on Yell and Google +. You can also take this offline and ask for testimonials from people in your neighbourhood that you know and trust. Reviews and testimonials can help to validate the claims the companies make.

4. Ask for photos of some of their past projects.

Like with reviews, seeing evidence of their work can help cement proof of their expertise. But beware, this can be abused, as they can simply pull images off the Internet and pass it off as their work.

5. Is the company a member of any trade organisations?

All trades have certain standards they must adhere to. These standards are set by trade associations such as the Direct Sellers’ Association (DSA), FENSA, DHI, etc. If the installer doesn’t belong to ANY, be wary of their competency.

Even after all this, you can’t be 100% sure that you are getting the best deal. Even sites that ‘objectively’ list the ‘best’ tradesmen get a yearly fee to do so. So just how objective can they really be? Take these as precautionary measures. It isn’t advised to use the services of door to door salesmen. Always seek a registered business with a physical, preferably local office.

At SRL Limited, we take pride in our years of experience and our excellent customer reviews prove it. We handle all jobs as professionally as possible and are always on time.

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