Damp and mouldy wall

How to avoid damp proofing scams and other swindles this Christmas

admin Damp

Sadly, we have met several customers who have fallen victim to damp scams. The story is always the same – the homeowner has spotted signs of damp, called in a so-called damp specialist to fix it, only to find the problem returns.

When we are finally called in, we discover that the damp problem was misdiagnosed by the original company and an unsuitable treatment was sold, often using unscrupulous hard-sell techniques. The end is result is that the customer pays twice to fix the same problem. Often the original ‘damp expert’ is just a glorified salesman, who works on commission and whose only aim is to sell an expensive damp proofing treatment.

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to confuse different types of damp. The most important thing is to identify the cause of the damp, and only then can the correct course of treatment be recommended. For example, many occurrences of damp have similar symptoms to rising damp. But if the source of the damp is a cracked wall or a leaking pipe, installing a new damp proof course is most definitely not going to fix it. Simply calling a plumber or adding ventilation to a room may be more appropriate than specialist damp proof treatment.

Even worse, homeowners who are mis-sold damp proofing treatments may not realise for some time. New plaster is applied and everything looks great, but underneath the fresh coat of paint, damp is still spreading.

How to avoid a damp scam

If you think you might have a damp problem, call a company which is a member of the Property Care Association like Multiskill, and check reviews and ratings on a website like Checkatrade. Even better, ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations. Choose a company that’s been in business for a long time – Multiskill has been trading for 50 years – and you can avoid fly-by-nights.

When an expert arrives to assess the problem, they should ask lots of questions about the visual signs of damp and the history of your house. The surveyor should perform a thorough inspection and give you straightforward verbal advice or a written report detailing how damp is entering your property and what needs to be done to treat it. If you feel you are being pressurised to make a decision, step away! And ask questions – a true expert will be able to explain their findings and show you evidence. If you’re still not sure, get a second opinion.

Multiskill provides a 20 year guarantee for all work carried out. If you’re concerned about damp in your property, please email or give us a call. We’ll visit your property and give you practical advice, and definitely no hard sell!

Other common swindles

Christmas is the time of year when crooks are at their most active, and sadly, many people fall for their tricks. Here are the top three ways scammers get their unwitting victims to part with their money.

Phishing is an attempt by a scammer to trick the user into handing over their password. This is usually by way of a professional-looking email, often seemingly from a reputable company like Apple, Amazon or British Gas. The email prompts the recipient to click a link and the enter their username and password into a fraudulent site. The endgame is generally acquisition of personal information, like credit card numbers or bank details.

The Nigerian prince is one of the oldest scams on the internet. You get an email from a prince, or a long-lost relative, or a government official, who offers you an opportunity for lucrative financial gain. The catch of course, is that you have to pay a small amount of money up front or share your bank details in order to release the asset or enable the transfer of funds.

Ticket fraud is when consumers are tricked into buying fake tickets for sporting events or concerts. Scammers usually target popular events that are likely to sell out. The tickets they send out have forged bar codes or are duplicates of genuine tickets. Sometimes, consumers receive no ticket at all after paying up. Statistics show that over 10% of millennials have been victims of ticket fraud.