Episode 3 Rip Off Britain

Episode 3

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Episode 3. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



We asked you to tell us who has left you feeling ripped off?


think this is very, very wrong for what they have done. The bank pass


charges upon charpblgs upon charges. Legally it was right, morally, that


is where the question of doubt comes. You contacted us in your


thousands, by post, e-mail, even stopping us in the streets. The


message could not be clearer. don't always get a straight answer,


they try to to be you off. I'm not happy with them at all. It is the


small print with the clause in you didn't realise. We are being ripped


off, big time. Whether it is a deliberate rip off, a simple


mistake or a catch in the small print, we will find out why you are


out of pocket, and what you can do about it? Keep asking the questions,


go to the stop if you have to. do get results, that is interesting


thing. Your stories, your money, this is Rip-Off Britain. Welcome to


Rip-Off Britain. The sums involved in some of the stories we are


investigating today are eye nor mus, hundreds, thousands of pounds. That


is why we are looking at a few of the unwelcome costs and the


problems you face when you buy or own a home. The consequences when


things don't go to plan. The results can be disastrous. Not


least when it is all down to one of your biggest bug bears, an old


problem that will simply not go away, builders leaving you with


unfinished work and spiralling bills. We will have advice on that


and a lot more. Also on today's show, one of the


most shocking stories we have ever told. You won't believe the amount


of money this man was forced to pay just for having his drain unblocked.


He produced the invoice with the extra charges on it, this was of


the order of �14,000. And you have been getting it off your chests in


our gripe box. And now they are taking my conservatory down because


it is falling down. Many of you are looking at


extending your home, rather than facing the huge costs and time


involved in moving, especially in the current economic climate, when


house prices are so unpredictable. But finding a builder you can trust


with the task of adapting your home, can be difficult and heart-breaking.


Lee and Joe Anne own a three bedroom detatched house in east


Yorkshire. Earlier this year, with their children growing up fast,


they decided they needed more space. We decided to have a loft


conversion done to create a fourth bedroom in the house, we felt


Lucy's bedroom was fall. The aim was to move us up into the loft


conversion where there would be master bedroom with an enswit.


got a couple of quotes and accepted what would be the best one. There


is the amount, total amount �25,240. Work was due to start in April 2011,


and finish seven weeks later. Before the work started they said


they needed a quota of the money up front. We were happy to do it at


this time when it is difficult for builders, it might be as good with


cashflow. Everything went according to plan at first. They paid the


bulk of the bill up front, �22,000. At first we were happy with what we


were doing, they ripped out the old loft up there, they started to form


the dorm -- dormer, that seemed to go well, that took four or five


weeks. They started to worry as progress on the project fell behind


schedule. The work had started to slow down quite a bit. It took them


a long time to get rid of the old roof joists that were in and start


the internal work. The sub contractors that were coming were


starting to not come every day. We were ringing the owner of the


company quite a bit. He was not answering our answer phone messages,


or very reluctant to get back to us. Then work stopped all together,


leaving the family with this, in return for their �22,000.


We are left with no windows in the dormer, it is boarded up. We have


no staircase, and no access to it. They left the old Velux, and the


old tank, which we will have to get someone to sort it out. We have got


waste, rubble, just left on our driveway. We have wires poking out


of my son's bedroom, as well as all the plumbing pipes sticking out as


well. We're in a bit of a mess really. It is a bit of a


construction site at the moment. Over this side we are supposed to


have the sink and the basin, the towel, radiator. The light switches,


obviously, and the lights, not got any of that. The only thing we have


got is a very election window and pipes sticking out.


All this adds up to a headache for Lee, who wants to get the work


finished and get his family settled. It makes me angry they can leave


the bedroom in that state, with wires and pipes happeninging down.


The wires are connected, but, there is a possibility that the kids


could tug around on them and play about on them. To be Hon west you,


I'm not sure how they are attached upstairs and what damage that would


cause. We need to get another builder in to do the work. It comes


to the point you don't always trust what they are telling you. A recent


survey by the consumer manage seen Which ?, shows in the past two


years, 2.5 million of us have had complaints about builders and


decorators. That adds up to an astonishing 2,300 complaints every


day. In most cases the builder won't have set out to rip-off


anyone, they will have overcommitted themselves or develop


cashflow problems. For whatever the reason they don't finish the job,


if you are the person who has paid out, like Lee, the results can be


devastating. I must say, I never thought I would get in this


situation. You hear about it from other people, you see it on TV, and


I don't know whether I'm too trusting. I feel the amount of


money that we spent, we have no way got the work that we have paid for


done. Definitely feel ripped off. Lee and Joe Anne are still chasing


the loft on version company, in the meantime they are looking for a new


builder to put the work right and finish the job. That is likely to


cost them upwards of another �12,000. We signed up for the


contract, we passed over the money, they have signed their name on the


contract. We expect them to actually deliver what was on there.


All the building work and what we paid the money for.


I will be honest with you, it takes a lot to shock us at Rip-Off


Britain, here is a story like nothing we have come across before.


Of course we are used to hearing complaints about tradesmen, we all


know sometimes their charges with seem over the top. Imagine calling


out an emergency plumber, whose rate turned out to be an


extraordinary �2,8,00 an hour. It happened to -- �2,8,00 an hour, it


happened to Harold. Wait until you hear the blil. Harold is a


pensioner from Ealing in London, few things he loves to do more than


listening to classical music. Recently, his enjoyment has been


interrupted by stress. That's all stemmed from an overflowing drain


in his back garden. When he first spotted the problem, he thought he


had found the right people for the job. I went to the yellow pages and


found an advertisment that claimed to have local engineers in Ealing.


They said they could get a guy out to fix the block drain, and there


would be a callout fee of �59 an hour. Harold, who is disabled, was


keen to get the problem sorted out quickly. He was relieved when


Property Care Solutions sent one of their engineers straight away.


deduced it was under the manhole in my background. Lifted the cover and


saw the horrible sludge. He proceeded to pump water into it,


and stir it up. With a view to clearing it. He was stirring up the


sludge with his probe, I guess for four or five hours. He just wasn't


clearing the blockage. After a few hours of unsuccessfully


pumping water into the drain, Property Care Solution's plumber


told Harry he needed to bring in more powerful equipment, but at a


higher cost. He produced the invoice, with the extra charges on


it. It wasn't an extra charge but a total charge, it was in the order


of �14,000. Yes, you heard right, �14,000. In fact, �14,400, just to


unblock a drain. I was shocked with the price, but I felt I had no


alternative. The plumber convinced Harold if he didn't use the


equipment. He would be forced out of his home,


as the drains would neat excavating. The thought of having to leave


horrifies me, my home is adapted to my needs. I'm severely


incapacitated. I have a chairlift to go up and down the stairs. All


that, of course, would be lift behind, if I had to move out.


83-year-old Harold, afraid of leaving his home, he reluctantly


agreed to hand over the money. didn't have the money to pay him,


but I was going to pay with my credit card, and I got in touch


with my credit card issuer and asked them to increase my credit


limit. After I had agreed to pay, and signed on the dotted line, so


to speak. He brought out from his truck some apparatus or other which


he alleged was more powerful what he had been using to date. Within a


relatively short time, I can't say exactly how long, but a relatively


short time, the level of the sludge started to drop. Upon which I was


pretty cheered. The equipment may have shifted the sludge, but for


five hours work, the bill came to a staggering �2,880 an hour. Was


Harold a victim of a rip-off trader. Let's just see if there's any


possibility that Property Care Solutions could have charged a fair


price, afterall, stranger things have happened.


We asked Dave Taylor, from another local plumbing company, to look at


Harold's drains, and give his assessment of the job. I probably


carry everything on the market as regards to cameras, coring machines,


drainage machines, high-pressure jet machines, rods down to a


plunger. Nothing extra special that I wouldn't expect to have a


drainage film carry. I charge �150 an hour, I turn up to do a job and


it should be on the van. If he's charging �14,000, just for jetting,


it is atrocious, isn't it. I would like to know what was going on for


five hours. And where the hell the water was going, if it was


continuously jetting for five hours. The yes that really needs to be


asked, when the extra money was paid, isn't it amazing how all of a


sudden it cleared. It is absolutely clear the company


charged Harold way over the odds, we asked Property Care Solutions


for an explanation. They standby their charge, which they accept


seems high. But they also say that it reflects the fact that they work


in an emergency market. They insist Harold agreed to the price without


any pressure or duress, and that it was a fact, not a tactic, that if


the drain wasn't fixed he might have to move out.


They are furious at any suggestion that this was a rip-off. Saying


they are very upfront about their prices and that every job is


different. Even so, and here's the good news,


since we got in touch, they have now agreed with Harold a revised


and very different price for the work. �849. They still maintain the


work was worth much more than that, but just want to see the matter


concluded. I am 83 years old, and yes, I would have liked to have a


nice peaceful enjoyable retirement. Certainly I don't want to waste


time, as I am having to waste time fighting a plumber.


You may be thinking that Howard's experience may be extreme, but


sadly, it is not unique. So when choosing a tradesman what are the


things you should be looking out for to be absolutely sure there is


someone you can rely on. Consumer Direct has great advice. If you are


thinking of having some work done at home. There are a few things to


do before choosing the trader. Speak to friends and family and see


if they are able to make any recommendation, or ask the traders


you think you are going to use to provide references or ask to see


work they have done before. Look to see whether the company you are


thinking of using is a member of approved schemes, such as the


Office of Fair Trading, or local authority Trading Standards


approved schemes. They may offer you additional help if things go


wrong. You shouldn't feel pressured into agreeing to a contract, a


reputable trader will give you time to think about the decisions you


are making. If you do have time, make sure you get detailed quotes


in writing, so you can make an informed decision about the best


trader. If you are spending more than �100 on the work, it is worth


considering using a credit card to pay, it may give you additional


protection if things go wrong. Don't pay up front, pacemaker


staged payments instead when you are happy the work is progressing


to the write standard, make sure you get everything in writing. Read


terms and conditions carefully so you know what you are agreeing to,


if in doubt, take independent legal advice on what they mean. If things


do go wrong, speak to Consumer Direct or your local citizens


advice bureau who can provide confidential information on your


rights. Still to come on Rip-Off Britain, we have been inundated


with your stories of how you feel you have been mistreated or ripped


off. We will hear how this woman's property investment went


disastrously wrong, costing her a fortune. I had lost all my father's


inheritance, which was a lifetime of savings. I had lost all the


equity from my home. It makes you feel awful, because I have nothing


left at all. In a rip off first, our very own advice shop, where


hundreds of you came along to tell us your stories face-to-face. Find


out how we were able to sort things out. The Rip-Off Britain pop-up


shop here in the Trafford Centre in Manchester, has been inundated with


people all day. BBC Learning have been helping people with numeracy


in their interactive area. Our experts have been on hand to help


out. Sylvia from Trading Standards has been particularly busy, people


clearly are very anxious about the problems they hope she can sort out,


let's go and see some of the things she has been helping people with.


The organisation who protect consumers rights, they are doing a


lot of research on unfair practices in caravan parks, I wouldn't give


up, obviously you have lost your caravan now, there may be


opportunities, potentially, to get some of your money back.


A lot of people that have been coming into our pop-up shop in


Manchester, have been filling out these postcards. Quite a few have


been about issues with home improvements. Sylvia, Gail and


Craig seem to have been having a tough time of it, they have left us


a card saying that bedroom fitters still haven't finished the job they


started six months ago, and also they had work done by a builder, he


has left and not finished the work. Where are their rights? It sounds


like a pretty tough time of it. Their rights are, under the supply


of goods and services act 1982, any work that is done on your home or


anywhere else, should be done within a reasonable time. Six


months is sounding a very long time to have your bedroom done. What


they need to do is to put something in writing, to the company and say,


that this has been going on for far too long, they can time the essence


of the contract, and say they have to finish the job within a


particular time frame. If the company doesn't finish it within


that time frame, they can get another builder and kitchen fitter


to finish the work and charge it to the company. Unfair fees, shoddy


building work, rising property costs, they are all problems we


have heard from people in the Gripe Box. I'm going to complain about


maintenance charges in blocks of flats. And now they are taking my


conservatory down because it is falling down. The council tax that


we pay each year, obviously it seems to be increasing yearly.


can't afford to put a deposit down on a house. Lots of people have


aired their property cost concerns, if you would like any further


information, visit our website. It can be a big enough job looking


after one home. But many people buy a number of properties in the


belief that investing in bricks and mortar is the best way to secure


their future. But for tam sin, it was the worst decision of her life.


She joined hundreds of other people in putting her money into a


business that sounded like it couldn't fail. Instead it has cost


her hundreds of thousands of pounds. When she separated from her husband


in 2003, Tamsin was facing an uncertain financial future. With


two children to look after, she wanted work that she could do from


home. So, when a letter arrived, out of the blue, from a businessman


offering an intriguing opportunity, she was keen to learn more.


claimed he was a property expert, and he claimed that he would teach


people the successes that had made him a very wealthy man indeed.


man was from a buy-to-let firm called Inside Track. They organised


free sessions to share their expertise. So Tamsin went along.


There was a lot of elderly people there, pensioners, they were


actually saying that pensions weren't going to perform properly,


and the best way, the best thing for people to do was to put money


into property. They actually had an old couple there, who were supposed


to be members, they were claiming they were members, they were


claiming that they were investigating flu -- investing


through Inside Track and making money out of this. Encouraged by


what she heard, Tamsin signed up for a more he detailed two-day


seminar, it cost her �2,500, but Inside Track encouraged her that


there was big money to be made. You can understand how. This footage is


from another of their seminars. They certainly do like to stress


the potential profits. Nice chunky lumps every time you do a deal,


nice big piece, nice big piece. her seminar, Tamsin was told she


could get a discounted price on investment properties, by buying


through their sister company, Instant Access Prorpbts, they told


her not only would she cover her costs and make money by renting


them out, but the properties themselves would grow in value.


Even better, professional and legal support would be part of the


package. In fact, they promised they would carefully nurse her


through the whole process. In return, she would pay them charges,


membership fees and finders fees for properties she bought through


the company. They referred to us as "armchair" investors, they claimed


to be property experts and people with business degrees, with


backgrounds in accountany and estate agencies, they said they had


many years in the game and personally made money through t and


they would hold our hands through the whole investing process. They


said they had experts on the ground in Spain, that we would be assigned


a property portfolio consultant, they called them, and everyone


would look at our particular needs. Reassured by the level of support


offered, Tamsin bought seven properties in all. Three in Florida,


two in Spain, and two in the UK. She got free membership, because


she had bought so many. But she handed over �185,000 in deposits


alone. I think the first time that I started to be a little bit wary


of them is when I had decided I had bought enough properties, and I


knew I personally had reached my limit, but they kept on trying to


ring me up and sell me more properties. And there were other


things making her wary. The company had promised thorough, independent


valuations for their properties, which Tamsin says, she never got.


On top of that, the rental income was nowhere near what she had been


led to believe. So very quickly instead of making money on her


Florida investments, she realised she was losing it. Some months it


was so bad that I was actually lose ing $00 a month income. I was on my


own -- losing $900 a month income. I was on my own, and there was no


way I could afford that. Her other investments were failing too?


knew that certainly as far as I was concerned, that I had made a loss


on all seven properties. I thought this is not just chance, one


property maybe not working, but all seven, it was just too much. Tamsin


wondered if she should sell, but Instant Access insisted, long-term


her investments should still be successful, as they said whatever


the wider economic climate. But Tamsin, was now seriously worried.


What I started to do was go on the Internet and get in contact with


other members, little by little I heard all these other stories. I


knew then it wasn't just me. Every member I was speaking to was saying


the same. I searched on forums and other people who had lost money.


Some people had tried to get some compensation or some money back and


they had a very, very difficult time. But it was too late. In 2008,


Inside Track and Instant Access properties went into administration,


Tamsin lost all the money she had invested. The prorpbts she had


bought, and her home. She's -- the properties she had bought and her


home, she's now facing bankruptcy. I realised I had lost �350,000, I


had lost all my father's inheritance, a lifetimes of his


savings, I had lost all the equity from my home, and I have always


worked, all my life, and I had lost the opportunity to support my


children through university. I can't afford things I would have


been able to afford, taking them on holiday, going on really nice


holidays with my kids. Really I had worked hard all my life and got


really nice standard of living, and always very careful, it just makes


you feel awful. I mean times even now I worry about my future,


because I have nothing left at all. With Instant Access properties in


liquidtation and Inside Track disappearing, Tamsin is fighting


with other people to get back their money. We're fighting together,


collectively to hold these people accountable for what went on in


this company, and send out a very, very clear message to stop any copy


cats, anyone who might like to copy this company. Inside Track, and


Instant Access Properties deny any wrongdoing, and describe Tamsin's


allegations as groundless, she says she and the company themselves were


victims of the global financial collapse. But Tamsin is battling on.


Although it will be a long and expensive process. If you are


trying to sort out a new mortgage, you will obviously want to get a


deal on the best possible terms. That is what Steve and Debbie


Matthews thought when they signed up with the Halifax. They agreed a


deal supposed to give them for more their money, a lower rate on the


mortgage, plus some additional cash, that would cover the cost of a few


home improvements. Unfortunately that little extra led to big bills


they didn't expect and couldn't afford.


Ex-military commander, Steve Matthews, runs the volunteer cadet


training at his local base. He's used to putting people through


their paces, and he expects the highest of standards. That applies


to the companies he deals with as well. The mortgage on his sem y --


semi in Halifax was due to be renewed. We wanted a new mortgage


because it was coming to the end of its term. We got a really good deal,


we were paying less than we did before, because of the interest


rates coming all the way down. the end of the meeting, the


Matthews were also given the opportunity to borrow some extra


money to use on their house. Because the mortgage rates are so


good, you could get a really good deal, and you would still pay less


than what you were paying before. That would be to borrow about


�6,500. So the deal was, a better mortgage rate, and a �6,500 loan,


and their total monthly repayments would still be less than they had


been paying before. Just too good to turn down, they decided to go


for it. For once, we had a good deal and we were happy to pay


slightly less, than they were originally paying for over three


years, but we had some money, we had something in our pocket to look


forward to, so we could treat ourselves.


The �6,500 arrived into the bank account, and the math enthuse said


about doing up their house, starting with the bathroom. It is


nice to walk in the morning, and have a nice shower and everything


is new and gleaming. And you know, things were good, everything was


rosy and everybody was happy. least they were, until shortly


afterwards the couple were puzzled to get a letter from the Halifax


telling them their mortgage deal was coming to an end, and they


needed to get a new one. We were like, no, we have just done this.


My wife actually rang them up, and said there has been a mistake, we


have one. To their horror, the Halifax advised them the new


mortgage offer they had been so pleased with was null and void,


because an additional loan meant they weren't entitled to was no


longer valid. They were now tied to a three-year deal where the rate


was higher, so there would be an awful lot more to pay. We are out


of pocket for �40 a month over three years, that is �1400, that is


wrong, we shouldn't be having to pay that out when they have made


the errors. Don't forget Steve and his wife never asked for the loan,


the bank offered it to them when they agreed to renew their mortgage.


They agreed because it seemed they would be saving money, not paying


�1400 more. Unhappy, Steve marched down to the


Halifax to complain. They said it was their fault, we wouldn't have


to pay extra. They said they would look into it. This went on for


weeks and weeks and weeks, me phoning up saying we haven't heard


nothing. Eventually the Halifax agreed to


give the Matthews some of the money back. But only �590, although that


meant they would still be left with a shortfall of �850. But they felt


they had no choice but to accept. In the end we said, OK, that's only


because my wife, Debbie, was actually getting ill over this, and


stressed, and each day I could see her actual ly -- actually see her


waking up earlier and earlier and in the middle of the night. She was


saying it was getting too much for her, it wasn't fair on her, we said


we would have it. He may have felt like he was in the


firing line, but Steve absolutely refused to admit Ade feet. He


contacted rip -- admit defeat. He contacted Rip-Off Britain to see if


we could help. We got in touch with the Halifax. We are happy to report


that the company has gone back to the couple with an about turn. They


have agreed to pay the amount they would have been out of pocket, plus


an extra �200 to compensate the distress and inconvience caused a


Steve is very glad he persevered and got the Halifax to stand to


attention! When you have had a set- to with a bank, and you are in the


right, keep on going, especially if you know that you are right. Don't


give up, don't shrivel and die, stand up, be a man, and try to get


what you are entitled to. Big companies don't always make


things easy to understand. It can be confusing trying to work out


just why you haven't ended up with what you expected. So if you feel


bogged down, we have put together a booklet of tips and advice. You can


find a link to the free guide on We all know that buying a home is


expensive, but how many of you are prepared for the hidden costs. You


have been telling us how surprised you are at the amount of fees


involved with your mortgages, so we decided to investigate, and


uncovered some interesting findings. This is Chris and his partner Sue,


and Chris's children, Callum and Luke.


Three months ago they moved into their new house in Greater


Manchester. I was looking for about 12 months before I eventually found


the house that suited me. I was really excited about that, because


it is literally right in the heart of where I wanted to be again. I


jumped at the opportunity to buy it. I put in an offer for the house, it


was accepted. I then contacted the building society, and spoke with a


lady there who offered me advice on the mortgage, I went through bits


and pieces and I was told what I would and wouldn't need. Happy with


what he heard, and receiving a very competitive mortgage offer, Chris


decided to go ahead. I made the application, and the application


was processed. During that time I was told I would need to pay a


valuation fee, and was told how much that fee would be, I duly paid


that. Chris paid �380 to get the house valued and initially didn't


think too much about it, when received a breakdown of the costs,


he couldn't believe what he saw. This is the key facts that I was


sent about two weeks later. A standard valuation fee, non-


refundable was �155, the valuers administration fee was �16.50, the


lenders' valuation administration fee, �208.50, that is when my jaw


dropped. What was so surprising was that 60% of the bill was made up of


administration charges. That is not uncommon. James from Which?


Magazine, says most banks, not just Chris's, have wildly different


charges linked to the valuation fee. There is an enormous varying amount


in valuations, you can't escape getting a valuation, your lender


needs to know how much the property is worth. Valuations are standard


procedures, the cost of a valuation is fairly similar, whoever you go


to to have it done. Not happy with what he has been charged, Chris


spoke to his bank to question the fees, in particular the biggest the


�208 for admin. I was told that whilst they might not agree with


the fees, they were the same, nationwide, but they couldn't do


anything about it, if I didn't pay it I couldn't have the mortgage.


one end of the scale you have people charging the bare minimum


for valuation, at the other end you have lenders taking a massive take


for themselves. You can pay anything between �200-�450 for an


valuation, which is, in essence, the same thing, just different


lenders charging different amounts to different borrowers. As a result


you can't easily compare total mortgage costs between banks,


making it harder to know if you are getting the best deal. Chris has no


problem with the valuation fee itself, but why the administration


charge for that fee had to be so high, he finds harder to understand.


Leaving him, with a simple question. For me, if they are instructing


somebody to come and value a house, it is an e-mail, a telephone call,


or perhaps a letter to the company that is going to do the valuation.


So why then does it cost so much money just to pick a phone up or


just to push a button. So, with some mortgage lenders charging more


than 0 different fees and in a market where customers can switch


their mortgages every few years, the costs can mount up. To help you


navigate you through this, we explain what fees you can and


cannot a void when buying a house. Buying a house, there are lots of


fees to pavement the mortgage arrangement fee is the most


important. A few years ago you would pay �100 for the fee and


covering the admin costs of the lender. Now lenders are charging up


to �1,000, they use the extra revenue to charge a lower interest


rate for the mortgage and get to the top of the comparison tables.


Two more fees you can't really avoid are the valuation fee and the


solicitors' fee. The lender needs to know the house is worth what you


are paying for it, they need a valuation, that will cost about


�200 or more, then obviously you need to get a solicitor or a


conveycy to do the legal work, that is �1,000 and is unavoidable. You


don't just pay fees when you take out the mortgage, you can also be


charged a fee web the mortgage comes to an end or -- when the


mortgage comes to an end or an exit fee, it is worth checking the


original mortgage contract, make sure the fees are in there, they


are not trying to charge a fee you are not legally required to pay.


The next thing is an early repayment charge, when you take out


the more, you may have taken on the special deal for the first up to


five years where you are paying a low interest rate, if you try to


end the mortgage during that introductor period, you could end


up paying an early repayment charge of up to 4%.


Dodgy builders, poor workmanship, escalating costs, from really


aggressive trades people, they are all things we have dealt with on


the programme today. They lead to a staggering 2,000 complaints a day,


landing on the desks of Trading Standards officers. So how can we


protect ourselves as consumers, and how can we fight back against those


rip-off merchants. Let's ask Trading Standards. Our research has


shown that over the last three years, more than two million


complaints have been made to Trading Standards about people who


are involved in some way or another with building. That's what 2,000


complaints a day. How concerned are you by what appears to be an


escalating problem? I think it is about Trading Standards doing their


bit, by investigating these complaints and where traders are


found to be breaching the law, taking robust action. It is also


about educating consumers to minimise the risk of a problem


occurring. One of my great concerns is there shutd be more consumer


education, people -- should be more consumer education, and people


should be more educated about how to choose trader and not someone


like a cold caller. You say you are concerned and prepared to


investigate, the fact that practices are continuing, it means


that Trading Standards are powerless? We are not powerless,


there is no magic wand, but Trading Standards cannot provide the whole


answer. Which is why I'm saying, it is important n my view, that people


are better aware of how to choose a trader. Simple things like choosing


a trader approval scheme, getting several written quotes, knowing


that the law entitles them to expect goods of satisfactory


quality, workmanship done with reasonable skill and care, and


knowing how to get redress for themselves. Trading Standards don't


have to investigate then, prevention is better than cure, it


is that simple. What happens if someone is in the middle of a job,


who has quoted you one figure for it, who says this is more


complicated than I thought, I need more expensive equipment to


complete the job? If you are in that dreadful position where trader


gets the Ghostbusters equipment out,, saying you need the equipment


of �1,000 every five minutes, put a stop on it, say thank you, we will


stop it here, let me pay you for the work you have done I don't want


any more, choose trader in the reliable way I have told you. If


you think the trader has tried to rip you off for might have,


complain to Trading Standards, let them look into it.


Here at Rip-Off Britain we are always ready to investigate more of


your stories. Confused over your bills? Trying to wade through


neverending small print that leaves you totally confused? I might have


been stupid for not reading it. Or I have read it and not taken it in.


I could kick myself. I really could. Unsure what to do when you discover


you have lost out, and that great deal has ended up costing you


money? I thought, this cannot be true. It is totally unacceptable, I


was so angry. You might have a cautionary tale of your own, and


would be happy to share the mistakes you have made with us, so


others don't do the same. No-one knows about this, this is very,


very strange to me, I would really like to get this much clearer.


You can write to us on the above The Rip-Off team is ready and


waiting to investigate your stories. That's all we have time for today.


But do make sure when spending any of your money on bricks and mortar,


that you do your homework, and watch out for the pitfalls before


signing any paperwork. Julia is right, homework is the key,


always check before you sign for anything, now hopefully today you


will have picked up some tips that can stop you finding yourself in


the sort of situations that we have been hearing about on the programme.


Thank you very much for joining us today, and hopefully we will see


Download Subtitles