Residents are being urged to home in on handy advice if they are aiming to give their property a makeover for 2022.
Trading Standards officers at East Dunbartonshire Council have received a number of new enquiries about home improvement disputes.
People are being offered handy tips to help steer clear of common issues:
- Take your time, get quotes and don't rush into anything - regardless of how quickly a trader says they can start
- Agree what work will be done, when it will be done and by whom. Know who you are dealing with - not just first names.
- Don't pay too much up front. If the trader wants more than you are willing to pay (or lose) then shop around some more.
- Have the trader create a schedule of works which you agree with and make staged payments when work is done/materials are on-site
- If works are not progressing do not make further payments until they are back on track
- Have fixed prices in your contract to protect you from future changes in materials/labour
- Don't pay deposits for work to be carried out too far into the future or to "save the date"
- Where possible pay with a credit card. If not, make bank transfers for larger sums and ensure the recipient account is in the name of the trader you are dealing with.
- Check if the trader is registered at Companies House - www.gov.uk/get-information-about-a-company - and the status of that company BEFORE paying anything. Check the company address on their paperwork matches. Where possible, ask for a company registration number to make it easier to check.
- If not a limited company then make sure you are dealing with the sole trader as they alone are responsible. Know who they are and where they are.
- Check if building work needs planning permission or a building warrant
- A personal recommendation from friends or family is always a good start and/or search www.approvedtrader.scot for traders vetted by Trading Standards
- Remember, anyone can advertise on social media - it takes minutes to create a professional-looking profile.
Look out for handy advice on the Council's social media channels and visit www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/trading-standards
Councillor Vaughan Moody, Joint Council Leader, said, "We've been receiving an increasing number of enquiries regarding home improvement disputes. Our advice to residents is that it's always best to plan ahead, take your time and seek support from Trading Standards if needed."
Councillor Andrew Polson, Joint Council Leader, added, "Our officers work with a range of partners such as Police Scotland to tackle doorstep crime and sharp practice. Always carry out due diligence before parting with money - there are a host of reputable companies and traders in the area."