02 July 2010

A new scheme to help county residents to find a trusted trader is set to be launched by Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards service this week (Friday 2nd July).

Known as Buy with Confidence, the scheme brings together a list of gardeners, plumbers, builders, electricians and other types of local businesses, each of which has been individually checked for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws.

Officers from trading standards visit and vet every applicant and they are only accepted onto the scheme if they pass stringent checks including examination of past complaints, county court judgements, credit rating, company details, director’s background and credit licensing. Every trader who goes into a customer’s homes or garden also must have undergone a basic CRB check.

References are taken from previous customers and approved traders are given feedback cards to leave behind at every job so that trading standards can check that standards aren’t slipping. Traders are also revisited every year.

So far, 26 traders have been accepted on to the scheme, with a further 60 due to be assessed.

The scheme will help consumers to find a reliable local tradesperson to carry out work in their homes or gardens.

County councillor for customers and communities, Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage said: “We are often contacted by county residents who are looking for a list of recommended tradespeople. Now, through our new approved trader scheme, which is the first of its type in the county, we can help them to find a trusted and reputable trader who has been trading standards approved.

“Unfortunately rogue traders and cowboy builders continue to operate, especially during these times of economic hardship. We remain committed to tackling this type of unscrupulous behaviour and the new scheme will help us continue working to stamp out rogue trading in Northamptonshire.

“The scheme will also help to establish high standards of trading and is a chance for the many honest, hardworking and reputable traders in Northamptonshire to show their customers the sign of trust.”

Details of traders who have been accepted on to the scheme are available both on the county council’s website www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders or by telephoning the county council on 01064 236236 or Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.

Traders who are part of the scheme are entitled to display the Buy with Confidence logo to show their customers the sign of trust.