By Paul McGurk
UK homeowners have lost an estimated £1.9 billion over the past year thanks to incompetent tradesmen.
This is five times more than domestic burglary claims over the same time.
According to a poll for the TrustMark scheme, 17% of the 18 million homeowners who employed tradespeople in the previous 12 months have had to have at least part of the work redone at a cost of £600 on average.
Workers recommended by word-of-mouth
Just over a quarter of those polled have said they did not know where to find unbiased information about workpeople.
And a similar proportion said that they had decided to hire workers on the basis of word-of-mouth recommendations. 6% hired workpeople based on the cheapest quote.
Just over half of homeowners polled during this period did not check the tradesmen's qualifications for the job.
And only 2% said that having the right technical qualifications was the most important factor in making a choice.
Meanwhile, two in five admitted they were not confident over how to report any issues, with 34% saying they would not know where to turn to in order to have a problem resolved.
'We want to put rogue tradesmen out of business'
TrustMark is the government-backed standards charter for tradesmen.
Consumer Minister Jenny Willott said it is the most thorough set of standards put in place to date, providing access to tradesmen who have undergone rigorous checks.
She said: "TrustMark gives consumers more confidence in their tradesman when spending their hard-earned cash.
"Every trader who has signed up to the scheme has been independently assessed for their competence.
"We want to put rogue or unscrupulous tradesmen out of business.
"One of the best ways to do this is to pick out the best businesses, so people know where to turn first for their home improvements, maintenance and repairs."