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Has anyone any GOOD experience of websites which have searchable databases of allegedly recommended and vetted tradesmen in your area?

Last year I needed a leaking flat roof repaired in a hurry and selected a roofer from one of these websites. It listed several "references" from satisfied customers (only by initials and town so unable to check with them personally).

The work done by this tradesman looked all right at first but the roof started leaking again a few months ago in the same place as before. I tried to contact the company but surprise surprise both mobile and land line (an 0800) number as recorded on my receipts had been disconnected. Recently the leak got worse and I made a more concerted attempt to track the roofer down. A search on the internet on his postcode came up with his company with a slightly different name but trading from the same address on a different recommended trades website.

This second website also listed his company registration number which I checked at companies house, only to find the company had been dissolved 4 weeks ago.

The trade recommendation website claims that they vet and check references of all the tradesmen they list and indeed have several references published for each tradesman.

In this instance the trade recommendation website gives the incorrect company name for the tradesman. Companies House has it the same as on my receipts and guarantees but with Ltd on the end as it was incorporated as a limited company shortly after doing the work for me.

Further information from Companies House revealed that they took action to dissolve the roofer's company because he failed to provide his financial accounts. The first notice to dissolve was issued on 28 June 2013 and issued in London Gazette on 2nd July 2013. Yet the roofer became a member of the trade recommendation in website in July 2013. I am advised that he should legally have ceased trading after the first notice was issued, but he was actively seeking new business by joining this website and the website allowed him to join and clearly did not carry out any checks that he was legally allowed to trade. I have contacted the website with this information and was told they would pass on to the appropriate team. The references they check are all dated after the date the roofer should have ceased trading, although that does not necessarily mean that the work was done then. They are names and addresses supplied by the tradesman, so at best they can be selective and at worst provide details of friends and family who have not had any work actually done.

I am now very suspicious of any of these websites and don't know who I can trust to recommend a good reliable tradesman. It seems they are just a way of a small tradesman advertising irrespective of his competence.

Any comments please?

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I always find that using well established local tradesmen is the best approach around our village there are quite a few 'general builders'

etc., they have been in business for many years often father and son and have a local reputation.

 

Personally I would not trust these sites or so called 'federation' listings where tradesmen pay fees to be listed on the site.

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I agree, personal recommendations from friends and neighbours is the always the best way, but with rain coming in and unable to find any friend who had ever had a flat roof repaired at short notice, I was a bit stuck on this occasion. The first quote for repair was quite reasonable at £450. But they kept finding other things wrong and then it escalated to the whole roof being replaced and a bill of several thousands.

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These trader websites are all rigged. Just look at the scores the traders have, they are all 9's and 10's. This is because these traders pay around £600 a year to the website to be listed on there, if the trader got bad reviews he/she would stop paying so the listing was cancelled and the reviews gone which would mean the website would lose that £600 so what they do is remove all the bad reviews and only leave the great ones.

 

All the one's advertised on the radio and TV are at it, I know some unsavoury characters in my area and they have listings on there with great reviews and even they laugh at how they wouldn't trust it listing people like themselves.

 

I'm not saying all traders are bad because there are some great traders out there but if you think for one second there are zero rouges on there you would be very wrong, in fact it's a great way for rouges to get work. Yes there are processes to get on the site but they are easily worked around by professional rouges. You are much better off going on personal word of mouth reviews from friends.

Ash.

 

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My tradesman came originally through rated people.

Coincidently I've just been reading a very large and active thread about Rated People on the Money Saving Expert website. Seems that both tradesmen and consumers have a lot of issues with them.

 

But I'm sure there are are plenty of good tradesmen on that website, unfortunately they all get tarred with the same brush if there are some bad ones

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I imagine they probably would do. For the record I usually will Google the name of the Tradesman to see what reviews might be for them elsewhere. As Brig mentions there is nothing better that recommendation.

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