Last week the B.B.C. carried out an investigation into many of the “Recommendation” websites and “Trade endorsement” websites that have sprung up and found that, as many of us had suspected for a long time, companies are not always what they seem to be.
A B.B.C. reporter was able to approach various “vetting” websites and set himself up as a “validated” tradesman and go on to mis-represent himself to prospective customers as a competent, quality firm. He paid his money and could then invent accolades in order to gain custom. The vetting procedure was negligible and after paying his fees he appeared as a bona fide trader. Frightening, isn’t it?
The reporter was able to gain acceptance onto the system within hours, having no experience of the trades whatsoever. He then proceeded to write glowing references about his abilities and work with the aim of duping an unsuspecting public. This is the way that many companies gain business.
Clearly, this is very underhand and dishonest and would lead to members of the public wasting their money for substandard or non-existent workmanship. One thing became very clear……………….if a company does not publish a real, visitable address do not use it.
We have always been aware that many of the reviews on websites have been posted by company staff as well as friends and relatives in order to project a favourable company image to potential customers of less reputable companies. This is why it is essential to look for companies which have endorsements from reliable, legitimate sources.
Many of us have used companies which have impressive reviews on their websites, only to find out later that their workmanship and products are problematical, inferior and sometimes non-existent.
The best way to find quality companies is still by word of mouth from friends, relatives and acquaintances. Such recommendations are worth far more that website reviews. Another reliable way to assess a company is to look for a long and successful history, along with unquestionable endorsements and references.
Unfortunately, morals and principles have declined over recent decades in many business areas and for all its benefits the web has allowed “fake news” and fake descriptions to gain hold and grow. Look for a company with a published social and environmental policy.
Always find out how long a company has been trading…………the longer, the better in most cases. Also, find out what its policies are if something should go wrong or if problems occur. Quality companies will guarantee to return and correct shortcomings with no questions asked.
The B.B.C. report made deeply concerning viewing as poor quality and deceitful firms or individuals can easily set themselves up as supposedly professional and quality companies in their paid for web presence.
Ensure that when selecting a curtain, carpet and upholstery cleaning company you check that they are members of reputable trade organisations with long trading histories. Look for endorsements that are of the highest integrity. There are more rogue traders out there than you might think.
Reliable, trustworthy companies can be found so do your homework thoroughly first. That way you will finish up with a first class, high quality result and not get taken for a ride by the cowboys.