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View recent newsEast Anglian homeowners put soothing smells and trendy togs before credentials when choosing a tradesmen

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In the aftermath of the recession, when it comes to scrutinising our bank statements and supermarket receipts, East Anglia is a region of cash-conscious consumers. However, when it comes to picking the right tradesmen for a job in our homes, it seems that some homeowners are foolish, judging workmen at face value rather than checking whether they have the right credentials to do the job.

New research by WaterSafe, the UK’s national plumbing register, reveals East Anglia is a region of super sceptics, ever- weary of being ripped off with over half (54%) admitting they’re much less trusting of people now than five years ago.

In fact, it appears that majority the region’s consumers make regular checks in most areas of their life with 73% admitting to double checking their bank statements and 56% their supermarket receipts, while 46% check reviews on holiday resorts and 25% on restaurants before booking. More so, a whopping third (34%) go so far as to rub their details from receipts and shred all personal details to be on the safe side.

In stark contrast, however, when it comes to letting a complete stranger into their homes to carry out ‘professional’ work, nearly half  (49%) of East Anglian homeowners place a greater precedence on first impressions than on professional credentials.

Shockingly, the survey reveals a third (30%) judge workmen based on their attire, with 75% saying fresh breath and a nice smell of aftershave or deodorant wins them over   and an attractive  smile cements it for a quarter of the population (22%). While for a fifth (18%) it appears the tradesman must have a good, well-kept van, with the choice of vehicle being a big player on whether they’re legitimate.

  • 49% of UK homeowners in East Anglia would trust a tradesperson based on first appearances rather than professional credentials
  • 75% say fresh breath and an attractive smell are crucial when choosing a workman
  • For a third (30%), the choice of clothes a tradesman wears affects how trustworthy we think they are!
  • As little as 32% of East Anglians actually check a tradesmen’s professional credentials
  • Nationally, 55% Brits energy companies are the least trusted companies in the UK and being a pilot is seen as the most trustworthy job
  • X Factor mogul, Simon Cowell voted Britain’s least trusted celeb whilst Holly Willoughby is the most trusted

 

In addition, it’s emerged that a desirable accent carries a lot of weight for the region with two in five (39%) of East Anglians saying they prefer the soothing sounds of the popular Queen’s English, followed by the West Country (28%) and Irish (24%) accents respectively.

In fact,  it would seem that a good first impression could make all the difference between a tradesmen being trusted or busted, with a staggering 64% saying they’d  go so far as to stop the trader carrying out work in their home if they felt unsure about them on meeting.

However, when it comes to checking out the qualifications of tradespeople – the assurance that they’re fit to do the job  – the region’s homeowners are  happy to throw caution to the wind with a mere third (32%) of the region checking their credentials. This comes as a major concern, given that it is estimated the rogue plumbers alone have cost the nation £2.6billion in recent years.

In a bid to raise the importance of checking a plumber’s credentials, WaterSafe has teamed up with broadcaster, journalist and consumer champion, Alice Beer to launch a new campaign, urging homeowners to TAPTrust Approved Plumbers.

Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, comments: “It’s a great shame that, while consumers are increasingly cautious in all others areas of their everyday life, there is still a lack of awareness about the importance of qualifications and how to check them, when it comes to choosing a tradesperson. The reality, however, of not using a properly qualified plumber is not only dangerous; it’s a false economy and could end up costing the homeowner a small fortune to repair, not to mention the safety hazards.

“Our message is simple – when choosing a plumber always use the WaterSafe website to make sure you get a qualified professional every time. In this way we, as a nation, can Trust Approved Plumbers. All homeowners need to do is go to the website, type in their postcode and it will provide them with several approved plumbing businesses in their geographical area….go to www.watersafe.org.uk

Alice Beer, broadcaster, journalist and consumer champion , adds: “It’s absolutely vital that homeowners are checking and double checking the credentials of any tradesman who comes to their door – this is the only way to keep their home and family safe and protected from rogues.”

The survey also recent revealed some insight into the nation’s most trusted and busted famous faces and professionals.

It seems that celebrities have not escaped the nation’s scepticism, with Simon Cowell topping the poll as the UK’s least trusted celeb and Holly Willoughby pipping all others firmly to the post as the most trustworthy.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of respondents said the least trustworthy companies are energy companies (55%), followed by tradespeople and banks (43%) estate agents and housing companies (41%). The least trusted careers were found to be Politicians (44%), Car Salesmen (43%) and Estate Agents (39%) with Bankers (38%) and Lawyers (31%) closely following suit. Interestingly the most trusted career was found to be a Pilot, taking 97% of the vote.

*WaterSafe results from October 2013 poll

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