Consumer White Paper: Cowboy Builders

White Paper: Dodgy contractors, short drinks and sharp practices in motor trade are focus of consumer crackdown
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The Independent Online
The draft recommendations include: a quality mark scheme under which firms will be asssessed for technical comeptence and financial probity; an insurance-backed warranty linked to a complaints and discipile procedure; a national "approved list" of builders

Will it work? Byers said the new measures would mean that "cowboy builders" have had their day.

The measures were also welcomed by John Bridgeman, the director-general of Fair Trading.

He claimed he and his predecessors have lobbied for years for an overhaul of Britain's "inadequate consumer law".

But the Federation of Master Builders, which represents 15,000 construction firms, said much would depend on consumers' willingness to spurn cheaper "cash-in-hand" builders for more expensive reputable firms.

"The vast majority of people still want a good deal which might mean paying cash with no VAT.

That pushes them towards the black economy. If we could reduce the rate of VAT then the gap between the reputable firms and the others would narrow. But [the consumer] has to stop using these people."