HOME repair frauds have soared 35% over the past three years as householders are increasingly ripped off by tradesmen they call in to open a locked door, repair a burst pipe or fix a broken window.
The law against such cons has been tightened but householders can avoid problems by following a few simple tips.
Firstly, ignore artisans whose names are on made-up lists of “vital” numbers such as the police or SAMU – artisans can face a fine of €100,000 for claiming such an “official” link.
Ask a neighbour, friend or your insurer for a name; failingthis, use an artisan with the Capeb or Synadep trades logo.
Even for an urgent repair you are entitled to a quote (devis) – it should list the fault, repair and the priced work needed.
For work costing more than €150 artisans are obliged to provide an itemised devis.
Consumer group UFC Que Choisir says opening a locked door out of hours should cost about €130 while a simple toilet unblocking would be €300.
After opening your door the locksmith cannot replace your lock: he must give a price and wait seven days to do so. Another locksmith can though.
- Keep calm and judge exactly how urgent the repair is: Locked door – can you stay the night with a friend/neighbour; burst pipe – you can shut the valve; broken window – it can be covered until morning...