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Marshalls' Tips on Avoiding 'Cowboy' Contractors

Many consumers across the UK are being duped by un-reputable ‘Cowboy Contractors’ who cold call on homes offering driveway and patio installations.

Many consumers across the UK are being duped by un-reputable ‘Cowboy Contractors’ who cold call on homes offering driveway and patio installations. Here, Marshalls offer their advice on avoiding these rogue traders.

Marshalls tips to AVOID being duped by a cowboy contractor:

• Be VERY wary of installers who arrive on your doorstep looking for work or who can ‘start tomorrow’. Reputable installers usually need many weeks’ notice before they can start as not only are they busy, but they need time to plan your job and order suitable materials

• Professional contractors do not solicit business by cold calling - homeowners should be suspicious of anyone who intrudes into the privacy of their own home selling services or products

• Be firm with cold callers – decline their services and close the door – do not be pushed into long conversations or accepting their services

• NEVER EVER accept a verbal estimate – always ask for a written quote and contract

• Seek at least three quotes. These should be dated on headed paper with an address and telephone number. All professional contractors should have a business address and land line telephone number – anyone with just a mobile number as a contact can easily disappear and can be difficult to trace

• Choose the contractor you are most comfortable with and one that understands your needs and remember, cheaper isn’t always best!

• Don’t take them at face value - check them out – ask about previous contracts - can they show you work they have carried out previously?

• Is the installer prepared to offer a long-term, written guarantee? If not beware. Marshalls offer a comprehensive Hard Landscape guarantee* on work carried out by Marshalls Register members using Marshalls products

Commenting on the above, Dave Jessop, Operations Manager for the Marshalls Register, said: “Unfortunately, there are cowboy contractors operating in the UK and people need to be on their guard. We always warn consumers about the potential problems of dealing with contractors or sales people who turn up on their doorstep and we always recommend they use an approved trader, preferably, one that has been vetted in terms of the quality of their work and products. If the person or company claim to be approved by an organisation, please remember to check that their membership or approval is still current.”

As a reputable manufacturer of hard landscaping and block paving products for gardens and driveways, and as an affiliate Member of The Trading Standards Institute, Marshalls is at the forefront of trying to stamp out this kind of activity. To give consumers peace of mind when choosing a reputable landscaping contractor, Marshalls set up The Marshalls Register six years ago.

The Marshalls Register of Approved Landscape Contractors and Driveway Installers is a network of highly reputable professionals. All are independent businesses and are strictly vetted by Marshalls to ensure that the highest possible standards of installation are maintained.

To find a Marshalls Register contractor:

Log on to then click on ‘Our specialists’ on the right hand side, then ‘find an installer’ search function or call the Marshalls’ helpline for details of those in your area – Tel: 0870 120 7474. Appointing a Marshalls Register Contractor will give you peace of mind – they are fully qualified and will ensure only suitable products are used for the job. Many cowboy installers use sub-standard products and install products incorrectly so they fail very quickly.