Are you planning on hiring a business to work in or around your home?
Whether the job is big or small, there are certain steps we advise you to take. For your own protection, please take a few minutes to read this advice. Following these guidelines could save you time, money and a lot of stress
When employing a business you should:
- Be specific and set out a clear, detailed brief - requesting quotes from at least 3 businesses.
- Ask friends and family for recommendations and check the TrustMark Online Directory to ensure the business is registered for the particular services you require.
- Seek references, read reviews, speak to previous customers and if possible, visit previous jobs.
- Don't just select the cheapest. Consider how you would communicate with the business representatives, as well as the quality of their work.
- Only pay for work that has been completed unless using a service like the TrustMark Payment Protection service which releases funds to the business at key project milestones.
- If materials need to be bought in advance by the business, it is reasonable that the customer is asked to pay a fair percentage of these costs as the job progresses.
- Always use a written contract as it offers you protection if anything does go wrong and a dispute arises. Contract templates can be found in our Consumer and Business Portals and have been issued through our Trading Standard Assured Advice Service.
- Agree in writing any changes to the agreed contract value before the work is completed.
- You can use the free TrustMark Consumer Portal to manage quotes and communications with TrustMark Registered Businesses. This will allow you to track each stage of a project, compare quotes, upload photographs and relevant documents and ask questions of your chosen business in one convenient, secure online platform.
On the 13 June 2014 the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 SI 2013 No. 3134 came into force.
These regulations now apply to contracts concluded on or after 13 June 2014. On this date, the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 and the Off Premises (Doorstep) Regulations 2008 were revoked.
Many of the information provisions are already required by existing legislation and will be familiar to businesses. However, there are some changes, including the following examples:
- Schedule 1 to the regulations lists the information to be provided for on-premises contracts
- Schedule 2 to the regulations lists the information to be provided for distance and off-premises contracts
- Where cancellation rights exist, all distance and off-premises sellers covered by the regulations will need to provide the cancellation form in Schedule 3
Further information and guidance can be found within the TrustMark Code of Conduct and Customer Charter
How do I know a tradesman is trustworthy?
If a business is TrustMark registered, it is working to a Code of Practice set down by an approved Scheme Provider. This stipulates the standards they are required to work to, the legislation they must adhere to and the levels of customer service and trading practices that TrustMark registration requires.
What standards of workmanship can I expect?
TrustMark Registered Businesses are checked and monitored against recognised British, international or industry standards. We ensure you receive a good standard of workmanship and that any complaint will be treated fairly if there is a problem. If you are unhappy with the service you have received from a TrustMark Registered Business, please see further guidance here.
How do I know the business is financially sound?
A Registered Businesses' trading record and financial position is checked when they first join TrustMark, however such checks cannot guarantee a business will not hit financial difficulties. For this reason, we insist all Registered Businesses provide a warranty that provides increased protection if the firm goes out of business.
Who checks up on these businesses?
TrustMark's approved Scheme Providers (which include trade associations, local authorities / Trading Standards, certification inspection schemes and commercial organisations) check the performance of all the businesses signing up to TrustMark through their schemes.
So who checks up on the approved Scheme Providers?
We do. The TrustMark Compliance Team monitors approved Scheme Providers on behalf of the TrustMark Board. The Board reviews each approved Scheme Provider's performance, taking into account the operation and processes of each organisation, measuring against the criteria outlined in the TrustMark Framework.