As part of its 2022 Consumer Awareness Programme, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has updated and re-issued its Hiring a Builder guidance document, in an effort to assist consumers when engaging with businesses in the small building works and refurbishments sector.
The OFT has been receiving complaints against the sector on a monthly basis since June 2021 to date. It has additionally noted, that there has been a substantial increase in the number of complaints received against this sector so far this year in comparison to the same period last year.
The small building works and refurbishments sector locally is generally informal and this culture can give rise to issues during or after works are carried out. These works often run into the many thousands of pounds and can cause severe stress and financial loss for consumers.
The OFT has also received complaints in relation to unlicensed and unregistered non-Gibraltarian workers carrying out sub-standard works locally. They can often undercut prices from well-established and trustworthy businesses, however when things go wrong there is often little that can be done to rectify the issues or recover consumers’ losses.
Common complaints received by the OFT relating to home improvement contracts, concerning, but not limited to, breach of contracts and bad workmanship have been used to compile the guidance which focuses on:
- Finding the Right Builder
- Getting Quotes from Builders
- Contracts and Payments
- Check list before going ahead with the works
Guidance document is accessible from the OFT’s website: