more than 70 businesses have now signed up for an initiative intended to make sure that South Tynesiders get a fair deal.
The Safetrader scheme is a register of firms with a history of fair trading and able to meet a list of requirements set by South Tyneside Council’s trading standards team.
It provides residents with a reputable alternative to goods and services offered by doorstep callers or unknown traders.
The scheme was launched in 2003 with 28 members. It now has more than 70 registered businesses, including builders, plumbers, electricians and roofers.
All the traders listed have been vetted and have agreed to abide by a code of practice ensuring good workmanship, a fair price and compliance, as well as being bound by an arbitration scheme.
This year’s Safetrader seminar to help keep businesses up to date about issues such as changes to the law was attended by representatives of 40 of the firms registered.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at the council, said: “I was delighted to welcome Safetrader members to this year’s seminar.
“This annual event helps us to raise awareness and understanding of how changes within the law may affect their businesses but also enables them to share good practice.
“The scheme gives peace of mind for people who are looking for reliable tradespeople, whether they are looking for builders, home maintenance professionals or need work doing on their vehicle.
“By using businesses in the scheme, they can also avoid falling victim to bogus doorstep callers or rogue traders, as well as helping to support local tradespeople.
“We regularly have residents ringing up asking for the latest list of reputable traders, and the scheme’s web pages have generated more than 28,000 hits over the last 12 months, which is fantastic.
“We also have a high satisfaction rate among users of registered Safetraders, with many residents saying they would recommend them to a friend.
“Most businesses have also reported an increase in trade since joining.”
At the seminar, firms were given an overview of the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act and new consumer contract regulations.
Officers from the council’s economic growth team also talked about the range of support available.
The list of Safetrader members is updated regularly and can be seen at www.southtyneside.info/safetraders
Alternatively, the trading standards team can be contacted on 424 7887 for a paper copy.
Businesses can get information on joining up by calling the council on the above number or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org