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Public urged to watch out for online rogue traders

Keyboard with highlighted red scam button

Sheffield residents looking for home improvement services online should be vigilant and check the credibility of businesses before handing over any money, so they don’t become victims of rogue traders.

As part of a regional week of action to raise awareness of rogue traders operating online, Sheffield City Council’s trading standards enforcement officers are urging those looking for home maintenance work to check businesses are genuine.

Each year, officers receive numerous complaints about below standard work carried out by traders and the large majority of these relate to work including roofing, path resurfacing and paving, garden and tree surgery, home insulation and general building work.

While there are still reports of rogue traders cold-calling at people’s homes, since the Covid-19 pandemic, many rogue traders are now operating online and display professional-looking websites which appear genuine, but many are not.

The work or services offered can sometimes be unnecessary, overpriced, of a poor standard or not done at all and in a lot of cases these traders will have no formal training or insurance to carry out the work.

There are many genuine, reputable traders online who will be happy to answer questions and provide relevant documentation so members of the public should take some time to check and research the trader – regardless of what online directory platform they have used.

Councillor Joe Otten, chairman of Sheffield City Council’s Waste and Streetscene Policy Committee said:

“There are many genuine and honest traders who advertise their services to the people of Sheffield online but unfortunately there are a number who are not who they say they are.

“When looking for traders online I would urge member of the public to be cautious and take some time to research who the traders are and if what they are offered seems to good to be true, it generally is.

“The work these traders carry out can be left unfinished or on occasions, they can take money and never turn up to do the job while work carried out can be of a very poor standard leaving people having to pay out more money for the work to be completed or repaired.

“But if people do fall victim to rogue traders I would say don’t be embarrassed but report it to our trading standards enforcement officers who are there to help keep the public safe from this kind of operation.

“That piece of information, no matter how big or small, could well be a piece of a jigsaw that helps them bring enforcement action against these people.”



  • Is the trader registered on Companies House?
  • Does the trader have their own website?
  • Is the trader claiming to be a member of a recognised trade association? If so visit that organisation’s website to check
  • Can you research the trader through an online search engine for any reviews?
  • Ask family and friends for recommendations
  • Shop around – try to get at least three quotes to give an overview of an average price and what you get for that price
  • Get it in writing – get quotes, including timescale for completion, breakdown of costs and details of any guarantees or warranty in writing. Keep all correspondence, including text messages and emails
  • In the event of an emergency a quick fix could be essential but still take time to ensure any trader you contact has the required skills and qualifications needed to carry out any specialist work and still ask for a quote in writing.
  • Request a receipt for the work carried out and any money paid
  • Do not deal with anyone who refuses to take payment via cheque or bank transfer
  • If a trader is able to do the work immediately, ask why?
  • Don’t make a snap decision.


* If you or a family member or friend have been a victim of a rogue trader and would like to make a report contact Citizens Advice Bureau consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or via the link at who will forward the information to the council’s trading standards enforcement officers.