The Trading Standards Service is warning flood victims to be on their guard against rogue traders, cowboy builders and repair companies exploiting their desperate plight.
Roger Marles, Head of Gloucestershire Trading Standards Service said:
Sadly, we know from previous flooding incidents here in the county and elsewhere that conmen and disreputable traders will see the floods as a golden opportunity to make easy money from desperate families.
I strongly urge householders not to employ the first trader who comes to your door offering their services, but instead seek a range of quotes from local traders with reputations to maintain.
Trading Standards advice to flood victims:
Before you organise any repairs, contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies may arrange approved traders to repair damage on your behalf, but if you organise your own repairs, check what will be covered.
When seeking a reliable trader, talk to family, friends and neighbours to get recommendations, or look for a trader who is a member of an approved code scheme. Be very cautious about employing tradespeople who make unsolicited visits.
Consider getting written quotes (not estimates) from at least three traders.
Consider making staged payments and keeping back a significant part of the cost until the repair job has been satisfactorily completed. If you do this, you can ask for defects to be put right without the need to make a claim or go to court for compensation.
If you are buying goods or services costing over £100, consider paying by credit card, as you may be able to claim your money back from the card company if the trader fails to honour the contract.
Anyone experiencing problems with traders, or needing further advice can call Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.