3:56 PM February 21, 2022
Bogus builders will attempt to use Storm Eunice to swindle cash out of homeowners, city tradespeople have warned.
Roofers, handymen and arborists have seen a windfall of enquiries after high winds bashed Norfolk as Storm Eunice ripped through the county this weekend.
Jason Arnup has been in the roofing business for almost 20 years, starting out when he was just 15.
The NR3 boss of JA Roofing said: “This weekend’s been absolutely crazy.
“It’s all been about repairing. The heavy winds mean people may have seen tiles and parts of their rooves blown off.
“There’s five of us but we’re all busy. And we can’t get up there in 50mph winds.
“We’re non-stop with customers new and old.”
Jacob Chambers of Heigham Grove’s JC Roofing said that he, along with others in his profession, are inundated with pleas for help – with more jobs that traders available.
He said: “In these moments, those renowned in the area are very busy.
“This is where these opportunists take advantage of vulnerable and innocent.
“Where we’re getting many calls in and around Norwich and prioritising urgent jobs, the difficult thing is there are some people who do have to wait. Those people may panic.”
He added that that’s where opportunists leap into action: “It’s very easy to print up a t-shirt and hat and look professional. They’re a lot more smart than people realise.
“They’ll turn up and be good to talk to. If you haven’t got a clue about a trade and its jargon, you can fall for it.
“Always go on recommendation if you can. Try and wait, which I know is very difficult for those who have seen major parts of their rooves ripped off.
“Stay local and always go with a recommended tradesperson, whether from family or friends or your neighbours.
“People are just trying it on. Legitimate traders aren’t going to take vulnerable people’s money to make a quick quid.”
Jason added: “Make sure you do your research. Reputable traders won’t do any of this cold calling stuff.”
Norfolk County Council’s trading standards department has also warned of those going door-to-door offering shoddy maintenance – often at highly inflated prices.
Trading Standards’ top tips
Norfolk County Council Trading Standards has warned that – no matter how vulnerable you think yourself to be – you should be weary of becoming a victim of rogue traders.
The body set out four simple top tips to avoid falling victim:
- Never agree to have work done by somebody passing by or take their word that any maintenance needs doing
If in doubt, have a look at the damage they’re describing. Can you see loose tiles?
- Never pay for work before it is completed
Get an invoice ahead of them starting. Always think twice and get a second opinion.
- Do not accept any offer from tradespeople to drive you to withdraw money
- Obtain recommendations from friends, family or neighbours
You can also ask for recommendations on social media in community groups (ensure these are personal ones and not people promoting their own business) or via Norfolk Trusted Trader