Harry works for a FENSA Approved installation company. He's on a mission to help professionalise installers and protect homeowners across the UK, so he started this advice column.
Rogue traders and cowboys are a big concern within many industries, not just the double glazing industry. We at FENSA are keen to catch rogue traders but in order to do so we are aware that we need to educate people on how to spot potential cowboys. We work together with installers to reduce the number of companies that practice foul play.
If you're looking to buy double glazing for your home, then a rogue trader is never too far away. Unfortunately, more and more rogue traders are popping up throughout the country - one estimate claims that they're costing homeowners £1.5billion a year. But how do you spot the rogue traders, and separate them from the responsible companies? Firstly, ask them for references and proof of their work - a good company will always want to show off.
You can also get an idea of a company when you meet them. Often, double glazing rogue traders will try to force you into taking offers you shouldn't. You might get a 'personalised offer' or a 'one day only deal' which makes the price a rogue trader offers seem brilliant. However, those terms are usually red flags. In most cases, these cowboy builders are either trying to get you to pay too much or to pressure you into paying money upfront.
However, the best way to find double glazing rogue traders is to look for something they don't have. If a company doesn't have a FENSA certificate, then they're not legally certified to install double glazing in your home. As a result, our logo gives you something you can trust when searching for an installer. And, with our Find an Installer function, you can search for trusted double glazing companies near you with complete peace of mind.
A great way to enhance your home is to check trading standards for all of your double glazing. Double glazing from installers that meet these standards is much more likely to offer excellent performance for your home. Windows and doors from these companies are usually more efficient, secure and durable. As a result, you could find that you make an investment that lasts for decades, adding value to your property each day.
When you get windows from a FENSA registered installer, you'll always get a high-quality design. FENSA's standards are stringent, and each company that strives to meet them has to undergo independent inspection to ensure consistent trading standards in their double glazing designs and installations. No rogue traders will be able to meet FENSA's standards, so look for the logo to get an installation you ccan trust for your home.
Let's face it, we could always do with help in catching rogue traders, so if you are an installer or a consumer and you believe that an installer is not quite what they claim to be, then please let us know. A good example of this in action is a company based in East London who were not registered as a FENSA installer, but were caught advertising the FENSA logo on their website. This was brought to FENSA's attention by a homeowner and FENSA reported it to the Trading Standards Agency.
To make this a quicker process, FENSA provides a quick service via its website that allows anyone, installer or consumer, to check that a company is actually registered with FENSA or find registered installers in your area. You can do this by entering the exact company name.
What's worse, installations by cowboys may not comply with building regulations, putting consumers at risk and making life tough for them when it comes to selling their home. With this in mind, the role of installers, consumers and this website has never been more important in identifying, stopping and prosecuting rogue traders.
FENSA's role is enabling companies to self-certify compliance with building regulations, and also in disciplining those who are not complying with the regulations. FENSA uses independent inspectors to check on installation work. FENSA also reports companies that practise foul play and posts information on companies that have been prosecuted.
Local Authority Building Control departments regularly contact FENSA to consult on installations, or to deal with queries relating to Registered Businesses. With the current economic climate, there is a real worry that consumers will be more tempted to opt for installations that offer VAT free work, cash in hand deals and installations that aren't backed by guarantees or insurance, all typical traits of cowboy builders.
Work with a FENSA Approved Installer today, and browse the FENSA website, to find out how to avoid choosing rogue traders and how to catch them out.
Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following: