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Publish Tradesmens Reputations

Comment 21st July 2010

Tradesmen used to get business by word of mouth. Large extended families and low geographic mobility meant that someone thinking employing an electrician, roofer or plumber would have lots of people to ask for suggestions. And lots of people they could check out a tradesman with. These days many people have no such local social network and cannot realistically ask around.

Trade websites tend to be uncritical – they are after all funded by the tradespeople themselves.

Independent websites get hammered for Libel unless they can substantiate allegations.

Dodgy tradespeople get round bans and company reputations by setting up new £99 companies and trading under different names.

Councils are scared of libel.

Introduce one compulsary national registration scheme for every major tradesman type that causes concern – gas fitters, electricians, removals, plumbers, roofers, gardeners, builders, etc. Require people to put photos, own names and car registrations on there. Allow and encourage the public to add comments and protect against libel as long as they are "fair comment" or opinion. Also add usual trade and known towns. Then make it searchable.

This is about liberty. The liberty to collate comments, some flattering some less so, about tradesmen, so good but some rogues who harass complaints into keeping quiet.

Why does this matter?

At present householders often have nothing to go on apart from the artwork in the Yellow Pages.

Let ordinary people have information.

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