TrustMark, the government-endorsed quality mark to help people find reputable tradesmen, is calling on homeowners and tradesmen to have an open conversation at the start of every job to ensure a successful working relationship.
This follows the unveiling of the proposed new Consumer Rights Bill, which aims to increase consumer rights and reduce the risk and impact of disputes, including the Consumer Minister's suggestion that people could openly record a conversation with a tradesman to make it easier to resolve any disagreements that might emerge later. TrustMark has the tools in place to help both consumers and tradesmen have a better conversation, ask all the right questions and keep a record of what they have agreed.
'Talk to Your Tradesman' is an app that was launched last year by Vince Cable MP, helping to improve communications between the homeowner and the tradesman, and ensuring any misunderstandings are avoided from day one.
Liz Male, chairman of TrustMark, said: "We welcome the government's bill which will help to clarify customer service laws and rights for both consumers and tradesmen. It's a big step forward to helping both sides enjoy a positive working relationship on all home repair, maintenance and improvement jobs.
"Our app has already helped many people to have greater confidence in their verbal agreements, and I think it will become an increasingly useful tool in the future given the new rights being considered now.
"The TrustMark app allows consumers to create an instant record of their conversation with a tradesman in 11 simple steps, prompting questions and providing advice at every stage. As you talk to your tradesman, you can record what is agreed using text, photos and record a brief audio note, and then email a copy to yourself and the tradesman.
"If you're not intending to draw up a proper contract when the job goes ahead, this is probably the next best thing. The app will act as a safeguard for both parties involved as it will be a useful record of what has been previously discussed and agreed."
The TrustMark app is free to download from the iTunes App Store, Google Play, BlackBerry World or from www.trustmark.org.uk/apps. A paper copy of the questions and guidance is also available to download from www.trustmark.org.uk/apps/print/.