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Householders be wary: a reminder from the Office of Fair Trading 10 July 2008

The Chairman of Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading, Bill Henderson, MHK, has issued a stern and timely reminder to householders to be wary of using builders who call at their homes without an appointment offering to do work. The OFT is aware of increasing numbers of builders currently in the Island who operate on this basis. Past experience of such builders indicates that the quality of their work is of a poor standard. Despite numerous warnings issued by the OFT consumers are still falling victim.

Those builders who are of concern to the OFT are usually newly arrived on the island and often, but not always drive UK or Irish registered vehicles. Consumers approached by these builders are often persuaded to accept their offer because they are cheaper than local builders and they can begin straightaway. Good local building firms are very busy and may not be able to start straightaway but waiting for them is a much better option. Even if problems do occur with their work the firms are still here to sort things out.

Mr Henderson advises “ If anyone calls at your door offering work, or passing comment that your property requires work – shut the door, with a ‘no thank you’. If you are persistently pestered, call a family member for advice, and certainly the police if necessary. Your MHK will also be happy to advise. These people usually will have no identification, no locally registered business, or business premises or a bona fide land line number. They will also invariably not be registered here on the IOM with the Government or the Employers Federation.”

Mr Henderson went on to issue a stern warning to these ‘rogue traders’ – “You are not welcome on our Island, and I have instructed the OFT to do everything within its powers to ensure your stay will be as uncomfortable as possible and that you either desist your opportunistic preying on the vulnerable and elderly of this Island, or you leave. I would strongly urge any member of our community who is suspicious of this kind of thing to immediately report what they know to the OFT. I am especially concerned as these people prey on the vulnerable and elderly, ” Mr. Henderson said.

The Office produces a leaflet “Home Improvements – A guide to having work done on your home” which can be obtained from the Office in Lord Street, Douglas, telephone 686500 or from its website www.gov.im/oft

If a householder is concerned that they may have fallen foul of these problem builders they should contact the Office’s Trading Standards staff on 686520.

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