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Rogue trading

We work to keep consumers and businesses informed on controlling ‘rogue trading’ and ensuring that you are not misled. A rogue trader is one that operates outside the law, scams, or ‘rips you off’.

Recognising a rogue trader

We frequently receive complaints from consumers who have entered contracts with traders who have either:

  • cold called them
  • pushed leaflets through the consumer’s door.

Often the addresses provided by the trader turn out to be false. They may turn out to be what are known as ’accommodation addresses’.

An accommodation address:

  • is one where mail is delivered – though the trader may not be based there
  • may simply be used as a telephone answering service.

In some instances, consumers even found these traders in their local directories. False trading addresses can be very convincing.

Avoiding rogue traders

Never do business ‘at your door’, or answer fliers. Real traders will rarely have to reach out to you first. You should always ensure their address is legitimate and authentic – if possible, visit the address yourself or check it online.

Always choose your traders carefully to ensure that they are legitimate.

A common tactic of rogue traders is them offering to help with work at your address, as they are ‘working up the road’ or have finished work for a property nearby. This is rarely legitimate.

You should never exchange money at your door and should only pay invoices or work receipts after you can confirm they have been carried out successfully.

Please send us any fliers or leaflets that you believe are the work of rogue traders.

Although our Trading Standards team works closely with the police and other agencies to stop rogue traders, many of the reports we receive from the public come too late for us to locate the traders and recover money paid.

The best way to tackle the problem is to:

  • turn them away at the door
  • say no to cold callers.

Rogue traders are often predatory, and vulnerable family members can be targeted disproportionately by rogue trading. If you have elderly or vulnerable family members who are getting tradesman’s work done, you should always verify it for them before any money changes hands.

The Buy With Confidence scheme

Buy With Confidence is an approved trader scheme which we support to help you find reliable and trustworthy tradespeople to make improvements and repairs to your home, while acting as a directory for secure, trustworthy businesses and traders in the United Kingdom.  

Further advice on rogue trading 

For further information and advice, please telephone our partner organisation, Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 (free from landlines and mobiles). Lines open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, closed on public holidays.

Reporting suspected rogue trading

To report suspected rogue trading, contact the consumer helpline from Citizens Advice.