Rogue traders get plenty of exposure in the news and on television however it seems the rogue customers are free to cause as much trouble as possible without any kind of exposure.
Working as a self employed locksmith brings me into contact with rogue customers on a regular basis.
One of my more recent 'customers' was locked out.
Naturally as a 24 hour locksmith I dropped everything and drove the ten mile to the home of the customer who lived in an apartment block.
Now upon arrival there are several apartment blocks in this particular street and hard to distinguish in the pitch black so i call to ask for further directions only to be told "oh it doesn't matter now we managed to get in...." (Insert cursing words here)
I know the sure fire way to avoid this kind of scenario is to take card payment up front, but firstly you need the equipment to do so and I think it may put off some customers.
You could demand payment for your time and have a good old argument about it however being a small self employed locksmith leaves you vulnerable to hoax calls and further trouble so i find its best to bite your lip and move on.
Then there are the customers that want to haggle after the work is complete.
This usually happens on those jobs you have already quoted at a reduced price for friends of friends or on particularly quiet weeks.
I am all for haggling beforehand, its natural for a customer to try and get the best deal, in any trade not just locksmiths.Then there are customers that fall into the down right criminal category, usually larger companies that think they don't have to pay the small guy and will fight to the last straw to avoid parting with a penny.
A recent post on a locksmith forum shows the trouble and financial problems a large customer can cause. Fortunately for this chap he had his day in court and won!
I know a locksmith in Walsall that was recently swindled by a squatter claiming to live at a property.They had all relevant ID and utility bills linking them to the property so access was gained and locks changed.
A few weeks later the cheque bounced and the customer upon further investigation through the letting agent turned out to be a serial fraudster named Tina Patel.
So i guess my main gripe is that the spotlight is always on the tradesmen, when in fact there are far more 'rogues' and crooked customers out there waiting to rip off the next self employed guy that doesn't have the bottle or time to defend himself and I think its about time Domonic Littlewood and all his cronies start to fight for the victims on the other side of the coin for once instead of tarnishing good reputations.