New TrustMark logoThe TrustMark logo identies reputable tradespeople

30 January 2006

A new government-backed body launches a logo today to help consumers identify decent builders, electricians, plumbers and other tradespeople.

The TrustMark logo

The aim of TrustMark is to tackle the menace of cowboy firms which rip off UK householders to the tune of GBP 1.5 billion a year.

The TrustMark website has a facility to help you find an approved local firm. Choosing a company which carries the logo should protect you, because TrustMark has assessed its technical skills, trading record and financial position. All TrustMark firms have to sign up to a code of practice, and if anything goes wrong, there's a clear complaints procedure.

A real difference

Ten trade bodies have already signed up, and more firms are joining at the rate of about 100 a day. TrustMark hopes to have 14,000 home improvement firms on board by the summer.

Which? helped shape the scheme and will continue to advise TrustMark. Malcolm Bassett, Principal Policy Researcher at Which?, said:'It's notoriously difficult to find reliable tradespeople and TrustMark could make a real difference.

'By choosing a TrustMark trader, consumers know they'll get someone who's qualified, whose work has been assessed and who will be investigated by an independent complaint system should anything go wrong.'

Complaints top 111,000 a year

Complaints to trading standards officers about home improvement work now top 111,000 a year. Some councils offer 'approved trader' lists, but the problem has long been the lack of a universal and trusted logo.

Quality Mark, a previous scheme similar to TrustMark, failed because overly tight standards meant that only a handful of firms signed up. Which? believes the new scheme strikes the right balance.

TrustMark said that, as of today, 5,000 firms had joined, which was 25 times more than Quality Mark had at its launch.