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New plans to deal with rogue tradesmen

Well-trained and registered tradesman could benefit by winning extra work thanks to new Government moves to explain consumer rights.

The first draft of the Consumer Rights Bill was published this week and aims to cut red tape around shoppers’ and businesses’ rights and responsibilities, so each party knows what is expected of them if things go wrong. It could prove a useful tool to kick out the rogue tradesman and help good builders, plumbers, electricians and decorators to maintain their reputations.

Citizens Advice welcomed the introduction of the legislation. Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said: “Simplifying the complex web of consumer regulations is vital to our economy and to customers who often lose money as a result of confusing or weak regulation.

“The proposals are a welcome development, but streamlining existing rules won’t be enough without urgent, strong, new tools for customers to get fair treatment. Regulators should name and shame businesses which refuse to put right bad practice so that customers know who they can trust to treat them fairly."

Ms Guy added that "naming and shaming" also helps to prevent dodgy businesses from holding a competitive advantage over other law-abiding firms. Furthermore, the chief executive stated that businesses should tell customers what their rights are and what to expect from a service, before asking them to part with any money: "Displaying consumer rights prominently and in writing at the point of sale would avoid stressful, time-consuming disputes later on.”

She said that consumers should be given the right to organise collective campaigns for compensation against businesses that had treated them unfairly.

“Last year our clients collectively spent