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My partner and I advertised some jobs on RatedPeople, having read some good reviews online. We registered and immediately got their acknowledgements (one for each job we posted) by email:
"From: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Thanks for posting your job, now sit back and relax!"
"All you have to do now is relax and we'll do the searching. Thanks for submitting the following job:"
... and each email duly listed the job details, as we had entered them...
Sure enough, the tradesmen started to flood in! Texts and 'phonecalls streamed into my mobile and we had to quickly schedule some visits for the quotes..
Tradesman No. 1 - promptly came to rate the job with his mate, was very courteous, walked around, measured and consulted his catalogue for the cost of materials, discussed how we wanted it done and wrote down a hand-written estimate on a piece of paper, saying this was going to be pretty close. We asked for confirmation by email (well, at our age you do!).
By the time we got the email, later that evening, his original estimate of under £700 had gone up to over £1000 and within half a day increased by another £80!
...so that was that for* that* "Rated Person"!
Tradesman No. 2 - came along and was very personable and pleasant, plausible and professional... When we eventually received his quote, it was reasonable enough, though he didn't quote for the equipment or materials and omitted some of the elements we had asked for. Nothing too badly wrong there, only .... his letterhead gives neither an address, telephone number or email, just a trade name. He scribbled his mobile on the bottom of the handwritten quote. So we got a bit suspicious and decided to look up the name he trades under. Well... we tried everything: the 'phone book, the Yellow pages, Thompson Local, Yell.com, FindUs, Google... Not a shadow of evidence of his existence. Might as well be a ghost! Now, call me picky, but I don't trust anyone to do a major contracting job on my property, installing hundreds of pounds worth of stuff and charging us another several hundreds to do it, who can't be traced and can only be contacted by mobile 'phone.
Tradesman No. 3 - The other job required a Tradesman we could call upon if the system went wrong and who, in an emergency, could attend pretty swiftly... the outfit that responded to that advert is based two hours' drive away, so that restricts their usefulness and leaves us with no backup.
Tradesman No. 4 - also does not appear to exist, so, frankly, we didn't bother, by this time we had begun to to wonder whether there are any decent, registered and above-board tradesmen on RatedPeople.
All in all, I have to say is that, in my opinion, this website is rubbish! They stand to make £130 a year from each Tradesman (plus VAT) but do no checks, ask for no certificates or accreditation, do not require any verification or validation. In fact, they do not appear to do anything and anyone can get their friends to log on, post some fictitious job and then, a few days/weeks later give them a glowing review.
In all, of the four "Rated People" who contacted us:
- one was in the next County - two are 'fly-by-night' operators, not listed anywhere (especially not the Revenue!) - one ratcheted-up the price by fifty pounds for every hour elapsed since his visit!
Now, we are honest, hard-working people who pay our taxes, look for fair prices and our white hair does not mean we are doolally!
We've asked for some recommendations from a friend in the Trades, who is our age and a serious professional but he is reluctant to give any:
"I wouldn't like to say, mate! These days there are so many cowboys, I never recommend tradesmen anymore, just in case they do a bad job or rip people off!"
So we have located the websites of certifying organisations for all the trades and have decided that we'd source people through their registers and pay a bit more, rather than risk using "RatedPeople" who don't appear anywhere but on this dodgy website and probably don't pay their taxes.