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Rogue Traders, buyer beware

Recognise this guy? So do the father and son chimney sweeps in London recently exposed for conning customers with their ‘dead bird’ routine when asked to sweep a chimney. Here is the sad story in full

Basically they would go into a house, put a dead pigeon or jackdaw in the fireplace and pretend there was a birds nest in the flue. Not only did they then fit cowls to the chimney pots, fail to sweep the chimney and lie to the customer, they then inflated the prices, majestically.

One old lady was charged £750 for a single visit, all a con and unnecessary work. Another woman was charged £2000 to fit two cowls.They bring the profession into disrepute and are now subject to investigation.

Why this is particularly galling is that both sweeps were members of one of the countries leading chimney sweep associations.

What this means is something we have known all along, training, membership of trade bodies and fancy certificates are meaningless if you don’t have honesty, integrity and professionalism.

In this world of online ordering and appointment making the first time you actually come face to face with your chimney sweep is when he or she is stood on your doorstep allowing you no time to assess them and get a feel for what they are like. Here are some tips for you to consider:

Only employ a sweep who has been vetted by the DBS, so you know they have no criminal convictions; why would you invite someone with a conviction of dishonesty into your house?
Check out all reviews from the sweeps previous customers.
Ask your sweep if they have public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance and ask to see them.
Ask if they are a member of a recognised association although be aware of the case study here.

You should have a clean, punctual and professional service and not have to complain to Matt Albright!

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