Home services marketplace, Plentific.com’s, latest consumer insight has found that four out of five UK homeowners (79%) do not ask to see evidence of VAT credentials when hiring a tradesman.
Despite becoming more wary of cowboy tradesmen, most homeowners in the UK do not check the VAT credentials of tradesmen.
The HMRC estimates that £3.4 billion is uncollected every year from VAT fraud. While it is legal for a tradesman to not be VAT registered when earning under £83,000 a year, there are some that claim to be VAT registered so that they can charge customers higher prices.
Although the VAT charge can appear on the bill, if the trade professional is not upfront with their credentials, they can keep the 20% fee. As a result, the homeowner is overcharged while also taking part in VAT fraud.
Plentific’s study showed that homeowners aged 18-34 are twice as likely (41%) to ask to see their trade professional’s VAT credentials when compared to the UK’s average. Perhaps this generation are more cost-conscious and inclined to negotiate the final price.
Londoners too are cautious, with 37% asking for evidence. This may be a consequence of the higher prices for London services, which caused the homeowners to be aware of additional expenses. Nottingham, on the other hand, appears to care the least, with just 12% saying they would ask to see the VAT credentials.
Despite the variety of results throughout the UK, however, the majority of homeowners do not ask to see evidence of a trade professional’s VAT credentials. While it is not imperative to confirm a trade professional’s VAT number or even to hire a registered specialist, homeowners are more likely to get a better deal if they are registered.
Spokesperson for Plentific, Stephen Jury, commented: “Homeowners are very cost-conscious, however according to our research; they’re unaware that they could be paying too much for their home improvements. By simply asking for a Pro’s VAT number and instantly confirming this online, you know you’re not being overcharged.”