Reality TV Brits encourage workmen to pull up their boots

Article date: 2 June 2005

Cowboy tradesmen are under fire again because of reality TVshows highlighting poor service and shoddy workmanship, accordingto a new survey from Norwich Union Home Emergency.

Workmen who rush off halfway through a job to work on somethingelse, and those who leave a mess behind them, are particularlyinfuriating.

The research, commissioned by Norwich Union Home Emergency,shows that 80 per cent of people believe reality TV programmes areprovoking the usually “stiff upper lip” Brits to demandbetter service and improved communication from tradesmen.

And nine out of ten want workmen to listen to and act oncustomers’ concerns, and follow a code of “workmanetiquette”.

But despite the obvious discontentment, half of people surveyedsaid they still find it difficult to manage workmen as they’dlike to.

Suzanne Larke, Home Emergency manager, comments: “NorwichUnion Home Emergency approved workmen are well versed on workmanetiquette. However, some householders may find themselves using anunaccredited tradesman to deal with a home emergency, so it’simportant that they discuss the work before the repairs begin.

“Simple tips - such as asking how the emergency is goingto be handled, how long the job is expected to take andimportantly, what the cost will be - are all too often ignored bytimid householders. Our workman etiquette tips aim to bridge thecommunication gap between householders and tradesmen at a time whennerves can already be frayed.”

Despite the lack of trust, over a third of people surveyedadmitted to hiring an unaccredited workman in an emergencysituation, without seeking referrals or checking companyqualifications first. A quarter of these admitted to feeling“vulnerable”, “nervous” and “like astranger in their own home”.

Suzanne Larke continues: “Over a quarter of the people wespoke to said they felt uncomfortable handing over security codesand keys to strangers, and expressed frustration that this isconsidered the norm. If you feel this way, say so – andarrange a time for the workman to come back and finish therepairs.”

Norwich Union Home Emergency Cover shared the survey results andworkman etiquette tips with the UK Trade Confederation. Commentingon these, Chris Addams from the UK Trade Confederation said: "Thesurvey results are an important guide for contractors, highlightingthe main concerns that customers have when using workmen. Customerswho follow the tips will find that their overall experience ofusing tradespeople is enhanced. The Norwich Union Workman EtiquetteInitiative can only be seen as a good thing for consumers,contractors and the industry in general."



Media Contacts:

Kerrie Mitchell or Charlotte Speedy at QBO Bell Pottinger on 0207861 2424
Liz Kennett or Sally Leeman at Norwich Union Press Office on 10603684 225

Notes to the editor:

Norwich Union Home Emergency

For more information about Home Emergency Cover, customersshould call 0800 096 4703 or visit

  • Hotline number for claims – open 24 hours a day, 365days a year
  • One phone call sends out an approved tradesman – withsame day attendance in most cases.
  • No excess to pay on claims
  • You can make an unlimited number claims
  • Cover is for up to £500 per claim to include, call out, partsand labour
  • All permanent repairs are guaranteed for a minimum of 3months
  • No varying levels of cover and pricing, so £6.95 a monthcovers all types of emergency

About Norwich Union Insurance

Norwich Union is the UK's largest insurer with a market share ofaround 13 per cent.

With a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses,Norwich Union insures:

  • one in five households
  • one in seven motor vehicles
  • more than 800,000 businesses

Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners such asbanks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.

Norwich Union Insurance Limited Registered in England No 99122.Registered office: 8 Surrey Street, Norwich, NR1 3NG. Authorisedand regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Members of theAviva group.

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