YouGov poll finds 78% of homeowners want more government action to combat rogue traders

TraderA new YouGov survey undertaken on behalf of the Heating Helpline finds rogue traders worries the majority of homeowners and want the government to take action.

8 December 2010 – Findings from a recent YouGov survey reveal conclusively that the majority of homeowners (78%) think that the government isn’t doing enough to clamp down on rogue traders. Untrained or unqualified traders could make damaging and expensive, or even potentially fatal, mistakes when undertaking home improvement work. Too many homeowners have also been the victim of ‘rip off’ tactics by rogue traders and cowboy installers. The survey carried out on behalf of the national Heating Helpline makes it clear this is of real concern to householders.

The Heating Helpline advises householders to use reputable, qualified tradesmen to avoid being ripped off or put at risk from rogue traders. The easiest way to locate reputable, reliable tradespeople is to use the government backed TrustMark website. Using a company recognised by TrustMark gives a householder confidence that the company is operating to recognised and endorsed high standards including: insurance, good health and safety practices and customer care. The work will be completed, should the business or installation fail.

The Heating Helpline offers other tips to prevent unwelcome surprises from incompetent traders.

  • Always ask for references and inspect previous work whenever possible and get three quotes in writing. If there is a large variation in the size of the quotes ask why.

  • Try to avoid dealing in cash only. If this is unavoidable, make sure you get a receipt for every payment.

  • Never pay for your work before it has been carried out. Only make the final payment when you are satisfied with the work.

The Heating Helpline is backed by the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association (HVCA) and operates to provide consumers with free, impartial advice on every aspect of home heating. HVCA Chief Executive Robert Higgs comments: “Rogue traders are clearly the public’s number one concern when undertaking home improvements. In hard economic times it is important that consumers take more steps to protect themselves, knowing that recent government cutbacks will mean that Trading Standards departments may have even less resource than previously to tackle rogue traders up and down the country on behalf of the public.”

The YouGov / Heating Helpline survey – All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2009 adults, of which 1363 were homeowners. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1st and 4th October 2010. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

HVCA – Established in 1904, the HVCA is the premier organisation representing central heating contractors across the UK, and exists to promote fair dealing and the sound installation of heating systems. HVCA members all undergo third-party inspection and assessment of their technical competence and commercial capability every three years. This process is carried out by an independent certification body with an established industry reputation. HVCA members who undertake gas installations are registered with Gas Safe – the gas safety watchdog body – and are also members of TrustMark, the Government-endorsed scheme designed to direct customers towards reliable tradespeople.

Heating Helpline – More free, impartial advice on tackling rogue traders and on other aspects of home heating and energy efficiency can be found in the Guide to Home Heating published by the Heating Helpline and available from

TrustMark – TrustMark traders can be found through the TrustMark website at

This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

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