News item

New App to help consumers with tradesmen

VinceCableVince Cable, Secretary of State for Business has launched the new and innovative Trustmark ‘Talk To Your Tradesman’ app at an event in Westminster.

Over ninety invited guests attended from industry, consumer organisations, retail and Government.

They heard support from Vince Cable, Minister of State, Stephen Lloyd, MP and Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of Trading Standards as well as from Liz Male, Chairman of TrustMark.

Over half of British homeowners admit that they forget to ask the right questions when they invite tradesmen into their homes to quote for a job, and almost one in five of us forgets to ask a really important question.  Too often we are handing over the repair, maintenance or improvement of our most prized possession – our home – after only the briefest of conversations.

Younger homeowners are particularly vulnerable and lacking in confidence, with almost half turning to their parents for help when it comes to employing a tradesman.

But smartphone technology has come to the rescue.

TrustMark, the Government endorsed quality mark to help people find reputable tradesmen, has launched a new phone app to help us ask all the right questions and to have more confident conversations with a tradesman before we accept a quote for work to be done in or around our home. 

Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute, said:

“This new app from TrustMark is excellent as it gives consumers increased empowerment and guidance when talking to tradesmen, prior to employing them to do work on their homes.”

Liz Male, Chairman of TrustMark, said:

“Trying to remember all the questions you really should ask, or actually having the confidence to ask all those questions when you’ve got a tradesman in your home, is not that easy, even for the most experienced of customers. And how many of us remember the detail of what we discussed the moment that tradesman walks out the door?

“The TrustMark app helps to solve that problem.  In 11 easy steps, the app creates an instant record of the conversation. It prompts questions and provides advice at every stage telling you what to look out for and your consumer rights.  You can record what is agreed using text, photos and record a brief audio note, and then email a copy to yourself and the tradesman.  You can compare notes on the firms you see.  And if you’re not intending to draw up a proper contract when the job goes ahead, this is probably the next best thing.”
The TrustMark app was launched by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, at a reception in Westminster on the 19th June attended by trade bodies and consumer protection groups.

Vince Cable said:

“The majority of work carried out by our trades is done to a very high standard. TrustMark has been successfully providing consumers with an impartial assessment of the standards of local tradespeople, to help them make informed decisions when hiring contractors to improve their homes.

“The newly launched application provides another useful tool to consumers by bringing TrustMark’s expert guidance directly to householders through the latest innovative channels.

"From several points of view, this takes us forward. It’s good for consumers, it’s good for the trades and it is good for Government because we see a problem being solved.”

The TrustMark app is free and available for iPhones, with additional versions for other smartphones coming later this year. To download the app, follow the link from www.trustmark.org.uk/apps - a paper copy of the questions and guidance is also available to download from www.trustmark.org.uk/apps/print/

For further information about TrustMark visit:
www.trustmark.org.uk/latest-news/press-releases/trustmark-latest-key-facts

Watch the ‘Talk to your Tradesman’ video at:
www.youtube.com/user/trustmarkuk/videos

ENDS
Issued on behalf of TrustMark - For further information or photos, please contact:
Georgina Watkins, Tel: 07595 158460, Email: georgina@georginawatkins.com

TrustMark

1. TrustMark is the Government endorsed quality scheme that signposts people to reputable local tradesmen. It is a registered social enterprise, operated under licence from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

2. TrustMark’s website has an easy to use UK wide postcode search facility, which provides details of more than 20,000 licenced trades and has the largest database of accredited tradesmen in the country.

3. All TrustMark firms’ technical skills have been independently checked through on-site inspections to ensure a high quality of workmanship and trading practices.  TrustMark is the only scheme that requires qualified inspectors to do these visits, so that technical competence is checked as well as business practices and customer satisfaction.

4. TrustMark firms work to Government endorsed standards and are able to offer insurance backed warranties and deposit protection, as well as operating a user-friendly complaints procedure.

www.trustmark.org.uk


The TrustMark app

The app allows you to:

• Generate an instant record of your conversation with a tradesman in 11 easy steps.

• Be prompted to ask the right questions when a tradesman is in your home and may be quoting for a job (the ‘checklist’ approach helps you ask questions you might otherwise feel a bit awkward about, but which are essential to knowing about the firm and agreeing the work in question).

• Record what is agreed using text, photos and recording audio.

• Email a copy of this conversation to yourself and the tradesman (creating a record which could help avoid disputes later on, or which could be contractually very helpful if a dispute should arise).

• Get advice and tips at every stage, helping to inform you on what to look out for and about your consumer rights.

• Keep copies of previous conversations for all repair, maintenance and improvement jobs in or around your home.


OnePoll research

A OnePoll survey was carried out in June 2012 among a representative UK sample of 1,000 homeowners who hire tradesmen.

54% of respondents admitted they had forgotten to ask a tradesman a key question when they were quoting for a job and then remembered it as soon as the tradesman had left.  Almost 1 in 5 respondents (18%) admitted it was something obvious/important.

Among younger homeowners (aged between 25-34 years), almost half of them (47%) said they relied on their parents for advice, guidance or support when employing a tradesman.  Another 29% turn to friends or others who have more experience.