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NOT SO BRIGHT SPARK: One reader told us of an electrician whose work was literally shocking.
NOT SO BRIGHT SPARK: One reader told us of an electrician whose work was literally shocking. Vidguten

Dodge that dodgy tradie: Readers share their stories

TRADIES are great - when they're genuine tradespeople. But many households have been bitten by the dodgy minority.

We asked Australian Regional Media readers if they had any horror stories about supposed tradespeople.

In one case, the result was literally shocking: Shannon Barrett told us of an electrician who did shoddy work, doctored invoices, put holes in walls, broke an aircon system and even left live wires lying about which resulted in an electric shock.

Katherine Tucker told of a tradie who slapped an inquisitive four-year-old. (Police were called.)

Cassandra Leigh told of waiting five months for a tiler to turn up. Waiting was a common theme with reader responses. Peta Marie Toms said: "We had a plumber once come in to fix our main toilet, locked the door to it and said 'don't use it, I will be back tomorrow' ... three weeks later we called another plumber."

Cam Jay said: "Sorry, can't have a horror story if they don't show up or return phone calls."

Belinda Mahoney told of a painter who broke a curtain rail and left behind rubbish and windows covered in paint.

On the other side, tradie Phil Manning told of a customer who didn't want to pay for labour. "Things go both ways," he said.

The last, sad word from readers has to be from Tim Smith: "Yes. I'm a tradie. My horror story is every day I have to go to work."

Danial Ahchow, managing director of regional tradie booking pioneers Service Central, said that in their business model there was little fear of a dodgy business getting through. "There are simply too many barriers to poor quality," he said.

Apart from Service Central's thorough checks, the final arbiter was customer feedback: Businesses must maintain a customer satisfaction rating of three out of five stars or they're off the books.

$2500 down - and all you get is a hole

THE people at the tradie booking site Service Central hear all about the best and the worst of tradespeople.

Apart from their user rating system, the public also lets them know of "businesses" that should never be allowed on their database - like the supposed concreter going around the suburbs offering home owners a brand new driveway for $5000. He'd take a $2500 deposit and dig a hole (supposedly his foundation work) and then disappear.

Service Central managing director Danial Ahchow said businesses on their books were properly insured and registered, and their qualifications were verified by Service Central. "Once a local business starts doing work in their local area, we ask for feedback and reviews from their customers. The best businesses are rewarded with more opportunities and the poor performing businesses are removed from the network."

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