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Last updateFri, 20 Oct 2017 3pm


Consumers best protected by written contracts, says FMB

Written contracts for building work is the best option for consumers wanting to protect themselves from unscrupulous tradesmen, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to the publication of the Draft Consumer Rights Bill.  

Brian Berry, the Chief Executive of the FMB, said: "The Government is right to want to increase protection for consumers against rogue traders and to ensure they are better informed about their rights. However, the idea that consumers will be willing and able to record verbal agreements on their iPhones is misplaced. The best way for consumers wanting to protect themselves when commissioning home improvement or repair work is to insist on a written contract. This simple requirement will weed out the cowboys from the professional builders.”

Berry continued: "Without a written contract or any kind of paperwork, the enforcement of consumer rights is almost impossible if something goes wrong on a home renovation or repair project. Consumers should always draw up a written contract with their builder and agree a payment plan to suit both parties in advance of work starting. Template contracts written in plain English can be downloaded by anyone for free from the Federation of Master Builders’ website."

Berry concluded: “If the Government really wants to tackle rogue traders, it should cut the rate of VAT on all housing renovation or repair work. This will help reduce the number of firms who are offering a cheap deal that comes without a proper contract or any kind of paper trail, and level the playing field for those professional builders who want to do things above board."

The FMB also organises the Nail the Rogues campaign, in conjunction with Trading Standards. 

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