Consumers are being urged to use a Falkirk Council scheme after new figures show that over £90,000 was lost in scams in only five months.
Complaints about rogue and dodgy traders rose by 53 per cent in a five month period this year, compared to 2014.
The public is now being encouraged to check out the local authority’s ‘Buy with Confidence’ initiative which ensures consumers are protected locally.
It carries out rigorous checks on all local businesses who sign up for the scheme before placing them on a database.
Councillor Jim Blackwood, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Public Protection said: “It’s clear that despite the best efforts of all agencies involved in consumer protection, there are those determined to scam innocent households into handing over hard earned cash for botched jobs.
“The Buy with Confidence scheme highlights traders that are happy to be associated with a reputable operation and have given their business credentials for inspection.
“We accept that many businesses may not want to join such a scheme, however, we believe that it can assist them in gaining additional customers by offering reassurance and credibility.”
‘Buy with Confidence’ is open to all businesses and will bring together builders, plumbers, gardeners, electricians, painters, joiners, roofers and many other traders working within the local area.
All are thoroughly vetted and checked by Falkirk Council’s Trading Standards team before being accepted onto the scheme. This includes checking financial and complaint history and in some cases disclosure checks. Positive references from previous satisfied customers are also required.
There is a fee of £30 to join and after becoming a member businesses will be able to display the scheme’s logo to show they are Trading Standards approved.
All members are placed on a national database so the scheme will support reliable local businesses as well as promoting them to consumers who have never used them before. Even after being accepted onto the scheme businesses will be monitored by Trading Standards to ensure they adhere to the law and the code of conduct to treat consumers fairly. Trading Standards will make members aware of any legislation changes that may affect their membership.
More information is available from Falkirk Council www.falkirk.gov.uk/buywithconfidence or by contacting Trading Standards on (01324) 504982.