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Is Checkatrade's vetting accurate?

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  • Checkatrade’s vetting process includes 12 rigorous checks to ensure the reliability of tradespeople.
  • The platform offers a 12-month guarantee on the quality of work, up to £1,000, contingent on booking through Checkatrade and leaving a review.
  • Real-world cases, such as AF’s experience, highlight potential gaps in the vetting process and the need for consumers to remain vigilant.

Checkatrade stands out as a prominent name. Founded in 1998 by Kevin Byrne, Checkatrade was born out of a necessity to protect consumers from rogue traders, especially after a devastating tornado hit the seaside town of Selsey. The platform promises a thorough vetting process to ensure that only qualified and trustworthy tradespeople are listed. But does Checkatrade’s vetting process really live up to its claims?

The Vetting Process

Checkatrade’s vetting process is designed to be rigorous and comprehensive. Tradespeople who wish to join must pass 12 checks, which include:

  • Proof of qualifications and regulated accreditations
  • Valid public liability insurance
  • Identity verification through photo ID and proof of address
  • Financial checks, including bankruptcy and insolvency checks
  • Personal and business County Court Judgments (CCJ) checks
  • Company history and adverse media checks

Additionally, tradespeople must provide a minimum of five references from previous customers and undergo a credit check. This extensive vetting process aims to ensure that only reputable and qualified tradespeople are listed on the platform.

Customer Reviews and Complaints

One of the key features of Checkatrade is its customer review system. Customers are encouraged to leave reviews after a job is completed, and these reviews are verified through SMS or phone calls to ensure authenticity. Checkatrade also employs analytics technology to detect and prevent fake reviews. If a customer has a complaint, they can leave a review detailing the issue, and the tradesperson is given an opportunity to resolve it before the complaint is published.

Checkatrade offers a 12-month guarantee on the quality of its members' work, up to the value of £1,000. This guarantee is contingent on the job being booked through Checkatrade and a review being left upon completion. For serious complaints, Checkatrade has an Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme operated by an independent third party.

Real-World Experiences

Despite the thorough vetting process and customer review system, there have been instances where Checkatrade’s vetting has come under scrutiny. A notable case involved a customer, referred to as AF, who hired a roofer through Checkatrade to repair her leaking roof. After paying £12,900, she discovered that the roofer had caused further damage. Checkatrade initially offered her £1,000 under its guarantee, but after media intervention, the roofer agreed to pay £6,000. However, the survey provided to AF later revealed that the roof did indeed need replacing, contradicting the initial assessment.

AF’s experience raises questions about the effectiveness of Checkatrade’s vetting process and the reliability of its guarantees. While Checkatrade eventually paid AF £5,600 in goodwill, the situation highlights potential gaps in the platform’s ability to protect consumers fully.

Checkatrade’s vetting process is undoubtedly comprehensive, involving multiple checks and ongoing monitoring to ensure that tradespeople meet high standards. The platform’s customer review system and guarantee offer additional layers of protection. However, real-world experiences like that of AF suggest that there may still be room for improvement in ensuring that all listed tradespeople consistently deliver quality work.

For consumers, it is essential to remain vigilant and take additional precautions, such as asking for ID, informing a friend or neighbor about the work being done, and not leaving tradespeople alone in their homes. While Checkatrade provides a valuable service in connecting consumers with tradespeople, it is crucial to remember that no system is foolproof, and due diligence is always necessary.

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