CIPHE: Close loopholes on trustworthy trader sites

23 Feb, 18

Stop unscrupulous ‘tradespeople’ posting fake reviews and bogus jobs

Following a BBC Inside Out investigation into ‘trustworthy trader’ websites, which revealed fake positive feedback can be used to win jobs, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE) says loopholes must be closed.

The BBC investigation targeted a number of websites which claim to provide consumers with the details of skilled and professional tradespeople.

While many of the sites have screening processes in place, an Inside Out reporter set up a handyman profile on Rated People and MyBuilder.

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He also submitted fake positive feedback and five star ratings on his own listing and with the help of friends could post and win bogus jobs, making his profile look all the more legitimate.

CEO of the CIPHE Kevin Wellman said: “The CIPHE has been in effect running one of the original ‘trustworthy trader’ websites through its online ‘Find a Plumber’ search tool. We know first-hand how important it is to have the trust of the consumer and uphold high standards of workmanship. However, over the years we have seen a number of big, money making, online portals grow, fronted by celebrities and big marketing budgets, offering to match consumers with tradespeople in that area.

“While there is no doubt these type of online tools can have their place, it is also implied that all tradespeople have been pre-vetted for competence, experience and professionalism – something which the CIPHE does in every single case – and something which this report has proven does now happened across the board.”

He continued: “Loop holes which allow unscrupulous and fraudulent ‘tradespeople’ to advertise on such websites need to be closed, not just for the sake of the consumer but for the honest tradesperson too. Some of these websites cost installers a significant amount of money to join, in the belief it will bring in additional work. These websites are devalued when the correct checks are not put in place to stop unscrupulous traders.”

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