Help your customers avoid shady tradies

As tradespeople, we have a responsibility to maintain the trust of our customers and uphold the integrity of our industry. Recently, there have been reports of questionable practices among some tradespeople, particularly those operating through online marketplaces and social media platforms. This trend not only affects consumers but also impacts the reputation of our entire industry.

Understanding the situation:

Queensland consumers have unfortunately fallen victim to dodgy marketplace tradespeople who fail to deliver on their promises. These individuals, operating primarily online, accept payment but fail to provide the agreed-upon services, leaving customers out of pocket. This concerning trend has prompted warnings from Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Yvette D’Ath, urging consumers to be vigilant when hiring tradespeople, especially when advertising online. 

In 2023, the Office of Fair Trading prosecuted 14 tradies who accepted money but failed to provide construction services and didn’t refund customers. In all 14 cases the operators were found to be using online marketplaces to attract their customers. Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Yvette D’Ath commented, “this is incredibly concerning and a reminder to everyone who is looking online to remain vigilant and do your research.” She also added that “it’s ebay for dodgy operators to set up online profile and hide behind the anonymity of social media.” Calling for consumers to look to more referral and word of mouth based methods for finding reliable tradies. 

Why it matters:

Maintaining our reputation as trusted professionals is crucial for our success. When a few tradespeople engage in questionable practices, it affects us all. We must take proactive steps to ensure that our customers feel confident and secure in their dealings with us.

Taking positive steps:

To address this issue and uphold the integrity of our industry, we can:

  1. Embrace transparency: Be transparent in your communication with customers. Clearly outline the scope of work, costs, and any terms or conditions upfront to foster trust and transparency.
  2. Build trust: Take the time to build strong relationships with your customers. Share testimonials, provide references, and demonstrate your expertise to reassure them of your reliability and professionalism.
  3. Educate your customers: Empower your customers to make informed decisions by providing them with resources and guidance on how to choose a reliable tradesperson. Help them understand what to look for and what questions to ask.

Shareable resources for your customers:

To assist you in educating your customers and protecting them from potential scams, we’ve developed a sharable resource for your social media platforms.

  • Checklist for customers: Download and share the handy checklist/graphic below with your customers to help them evaluate tradespeople and avoid falling victim to deceptive practices.
  • Tips for avoiding scams: Arm your customers with practical tips and insights to identify warning signs and protect themselves from scams in their dealings with tradespeople.

Some tips you can share are:

  • Do your research: Take a little time to look into the tradesperson you’re considering. Check out reviews from other customers and do a quick internet search of their business name. It’s a great way to get a feel for their reputation.
  • Check for licensing: It’s super important to make sure the tradie you’re dealing with is licensed. This shows they’ve met certain standards and are legally allowed to do the work they’re offering.
  • Ask about insurance: Don’t be shy to ask if they have insurance. This can protect you in case anything goes wrong during the job.
  • Get it in writing: Whenever you’re getting work done, make sure you have a written quote or contract that outlines all the details. This way, everyone’s on the same page about what’s expected.
  • Meet in person: Arrange to meet the tradesperson in person for an on-site inspection before agreeing to anything. This gives you a chance to chat face-to-face and make sure you’re comfortable with them.
  • Watch out for payment requests: Be cautious if a tradesperson asks for a large upfront payment or wants the full amount before they’ve even started the job. A reasonable deposit is usually around 20% for smaller jobs.
  • Pay smart: If you can, try to pay by card. It can offer you extra protection if something doesn’t go according to plan.
  • Keep records: Always keep records of any payments you make and get a receipt for the work done. It’s just good practice and can come in handy if you ever need to refer back to anything.

 

Together, we can make a difference:

By working together and upholding the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, we can overcome this challenge and preserve the reputation of our industry. Let’s continue to deliver outstanding service and earn the trust of our customers through our actions.

Thank you for your dedication to excellence and integrity in your work.

 

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