“rogue” house clearance warning signs – Tips on what to look out for
A rogue house clearance company is to all extents and circumstances an unreliable, unprofessional, scam artist. Their only intent is to fleece money from unsuspecting clients. It is essential that you thoroughly research any prospective house clearance company you are considering using before entering into an agreement. Please take the time out to read through our useful tips (below). Our current list of reputable house clearance companies can be found here
We hear so many stories from people who have suffered at the hands of “rogue” house clearance companies. Some of the stories involve items being stolen, intimidation into paying more than the agreed price; being subject to a torrent of foul language, unsuspecting people being prosecuted for not using a licensed house clearance company who ultimately fly-tipped. We have also come across stories where money has been obtained via identity theft. The list really does go on and on. Please do not expose yourself to these rogues.
Warning Signs to watch out for
1. Does the person you are speaking to on the phone sound cagey, hesitant, or non confident?
2. Are they promising the earth for very little money?
3. Ask them if they will supply you with an invoice once the house clearance is completed? The invoice should contain all of their business details.
4. Are they asking for cash in hand?
5. Is their website transparent? Do they have a registered office address shown?
6. Remember, anyone can put together a website in a few hours. Take your time to go over their website thoroughly. Does it feel right to you? Just because they have a website, do not think they are accountable. We’ve heard of many stories whereby people have been duped by professional looking websites that fail to live up to their promises. For legal reasons we cannot name and shame them, but please be warned. Just because a site is listed on the Google search engine does not qualify it as being either ethical or professional.
7. Remember anyone can write phoney testimonials. Go with your first instinct; if something doesn’t feel right to you; it probably isn’t.
Beware of any house clearance company that will only provide you with a mobile contact number.
One of the most common complaints we hear, are “rogue” house clearance companies promising to turn up on a specific day, and subsequently accepting another job that sounds more lucrative and then leaving you high and dry; an utter nightmare if you have deadlines to observe and other people to consider. Don’t chance it! Use a reputable house clearance company who can guarantee not to let you down.
Keep yourself covered & within the law; ask the following:
Keep yourself covered & within the law; ask the following: Does your chosen company have a current waste carrier’s license? Are they insured against damage they may cause? It is absolutely crucial that you find out whether the house clearance company are insured to cover any possible damage to the property. Even if they’ve never had any issues in the past, accidents can happen; double check that they carry appropriate and sufficient insurance cover including that of public liability
Also are they a registered business with the UK tax office? Remember if something goes wrong on the day, you will need their correct contact details to seek reparation.
Things NOT to do:
Never give your credit card details to someone that you feel may be working as an individual, and don’t be pressured into agreeing on the spot because its no longer valid once they walk away. A reputable house clearance company will supply you with a written quotation, valid for 30 days and an invoice upon completion. Never pay in advance. No reputable house clearance company takes payment in advance.
As a consumer, you should do all you can to protect yourself from bogus operators by only hiring a reputable house clearance company who are part of a trade association like this one. Always get an office contact number and address, and ask for references.
But for the unfortunate few who have already been duped and then find themselves in a difficult situation with a tradesman, it’s important to know how to seek redress.
Our advice is that if you feel that a house clearance company is harassing you into paying more than the agreed price, call the police. Don’t wait for matters to get out of hand – especially if you feel physically threatened. If it’s possible always have a reliable witness on stand by should you need them. They could prove invaluable if your experience ends in court.
If you feel threatened in any way by your house clearance company at any point, politely ask them to leave the premises and then call the police immediately, providing them with as much information as possible.
If the worst does happen!
Contact to your local Citizens Advice Bureau
The Citizens Advice Bureau is a wonderful source of information on consumer’s rights. They can provide you with information on who to contact regarding any conflict you may have. They will usually know who deals with the specific trade you’re having issues with, and can often provide free advice from solicitors or mediators who will investigate the issue further for you and will advise you what rights you have.
Alternatively, or in addition, contact the Trading Standards Authority
Trading Standards will investigate the matter for you and will provide you with helpful legal advice and a plan of action for resolving the issue. (Always assuming your rogue house clearance company can be tracked down & held accountable). Ideally, none of this will be necessary, however it’s helpful to know that Trading Standards are there should you need them.