We’ve all heard stories of ‘rogue traders’, whether they be a cowboy builder, plumber or roofer, or a dodgy double-glazing salesman.
Whether they’re actively out to short change you or simply aren’t doing the job to the level that you’d expect, it’s easy to be caught out by a rogue trader and, unfortunately, they often target the older members of society too.
Unfortunately, cases of rogue traders are all too common in the UK, with over 180,000 cases reported to Trading Standards, but where are you most likely to be targeted? BusinessComparison got on the case and submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out the number of complaints against tradespeople in each local authority.
Excluding London, West Yorkshire was the local authority with the most complaints about rogue traders, but how do things look when we look at the complaints per 10,000 population?
When normalising the data this way, it was actually Blackpool that had the most rogue traders, with 51.75 per 10,000 people, where police say that have recently seen a large increase in cases. This was followed by Peterborough (49.49 complaints per 10,000 people) and North Somerset (48.80 per 10,000 people).
However, at the other end of the spectrum, it turns out that many of the areas with the least complaints were found in the North East, including Hartlepool (17.59 complaints per 10,000 people), Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (23.25) and Northumberland (24.04).
Looking more specifically at the capital, Westminster was the borough with the highest concentration of complaints (48.17 per 10,000 people), which sits in the heart of central London.
However, it seems that you’re actually more likely to run into a rogue trader in some of the boroughs further out in Greater London. For example, Kingston upon Thames and Havering were the boroughs with the second and third highest concentration of complaints, while central boroughs such as Lewisham, Islington and Lambeth had the least.
We submitted a Freedom of Information request to the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, requesting the number of Citizens Advice clients who reported a consumer issue relating to tradespeople, which was subsequently referred to Trading Standards between April 2019 and March 2020 (broken down by local authority and London borough).
The data included is for England and Wales only, excluding data where the local authority is unknown. Data was also excluded where the referral number was less than six, to avoid identifying the data subjects or individual complainant.
Complaints per 10,000 people were calculated using estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the Office for National Statistics.