10 Signs That You Have Hired a Bogus House Clearance Firm

10 Signs That You Have Hired a Bogus House Clearance Firm

10 Signs That You Have Hired a Bogus House Clearance Firm

1 – The vans they use?

Alarm bells should sound if the house clearance firm you have appointed turn up in one of those rusty caged tipper vans that scrap men tend to use or a small medium sized van. A reputable and established house clearance firm will have a fleet of new or almost new large furniture box vans that are fully insured. Do you really want a rusty old cage van that people can see the contents of your loved one through, outside of the property? Whereas a small medium sized van will not be able to remove the entire contents of a property.

2 – Where they are based?

Does the firm you have hired to clear the contents of your loved one or your home have a registered business address? If not, why is this? A lot of bogus house clearance firms are either ran from home or from a van, with no traceable registered address of business. This is for a reason. If things go wrong, they can hide! Also be wary of ‘Virtual Offices’ or PO box addresses, which some firms can acquire for a few pounds a month. These addresses are not real or physical.

3 – What kind of licences do they have?

If you hire a house clearance firm and they don’t have the necessary licences to transport and dispose of waste which is a legal requirement, not only are they breaking the law but so are you. Any firm that handles waste, even house-hold waste such as furniture, needs to have a valid waste carriers licence and must be registered with the environment agency. A firm that does not, cannot dispose of your waste legally. In this industry fly-tipping is sadly very common which costs the country billions a year to clean up. If your waste is fly-tipped and is traced back to you, you could face a maximum fine of £5,000 and even imprisonment.

4 – Are they insured?

While its not compulsory for any house clearance firm to have public liability insurance, it should be necessary given the nature of the industry. After all, a house clearance firm will be handling waste and entering peoples’ properties. Should the worst occur, such as a broken window, damage to the walls, spillage of waste etc., who is going to pay or cover that if there is no insurance in place? Often such disputes end up in a court of law or rarely ever get resolved. Furthermore any vehicle that carries waste has to be fully insured to do so. This is why many bogus house clearance firms use hire vans or don’t declare to their insurance what purpose their vehicle is to be used for. That is an offence and illegal.

5 – Their staff?

Alarm bells should sound if you open the door to a gang of unkempt men wearing no uniform and generally looking like they don’t know what they are doing. A reputable house clearance company will typically send 3 men to clear a property and those men will be fully uniformed, trained and insured. They will also have all the required by law personal protective equipment.

6 – Their prices?

If a price seems too good to be true, it usually is. A bogus house clearance firm can undercut reputable firms by hundreds of pounds because they won’t have the associated costs of a reputable firm such as insurance, licences and disposal fees which are several hundred pounds or more on their own. A bogus house clearance firm can also undercut reputable firms because rather than donate items to charity or recycle items, they will sell them on to make money – often unbeknown to the customer.

7 – Their accreditations?

A lot of so-called house clearance firms will claim to be a member of ‘this’ or ‘that’ organisation or accredited with ‘such’ and ‘such’ award. Be wary of such claims. There is no professional house clearance association or body for example, despite some websites claiming to represent the industry. Whereas some awards are meaningless and lack real credibility.

8 – How you pay them?

Alarm bells should sound if the house clearance firm you employ ask for a deposit up front, money during the clearance or even cash on completion. A reputable house clearance company will have many overheads and regular cash flow concerns so will therefore need to ‘bank’ money. A bogus house clearance company, however, will have very low overheads and no real cash flow concerns so cash in the hand will be the order of the day. Most bogus house clearance companies won’t even have a bank account anyway. By law anyone setting up a business that deals with waste has to prove to a bank that they have the right licences, a registered business address and insurance before a bank will create a business account for them.

9 – Their website?

In the past if you wanted a professional website for your business you would have to pay someone lots of money to build it, but with social media, blogging software, free hosting and free website templates readily available anyone can now build a website. It is becoming increasingly easy therefore for bogus firms to hide behind sleek looking and professionally presented websites. A lot of bogus house clearance firms will have many websites, all under different names with different contact details, all claiming to be experts and wanting your business.

10 – What do they do with the house clearance contents?

Alarm bells should sound if the men you’ve appointed to clear the house start snooping around for valuable items or take more interest in objects that may have some monetary value than the junk or clutter that you’re paying them to take away for you. Quite a number of bogus house clearance firms also run second-hand shops, ebay stores or are on the look out for antiques – often unknown to the customer. A reputable house clearance company will inform you what they do with the items before the clearance and will also provide proof of disposal afterwards in the way of a waste transfer note.

WARNING: Check who is taking your waste

Warning - Be Aware Of Rogue House Clearance FirmsDid you know it’s your responsibility to check that anyone you employ, hire or appoint to take away your waste is registered with the Environment Agency? If your waste turns up where it should not be you may be liable to a £5,000 fine and even imprisonment.

Rouge and bogus house clearance firms and rubbish removal companies are operating throughout the entire UK and illegally fly-tipping the waste they charge you to collect and dispose of. Our parks, our back lanes, our countryside and our streets are being targeted daily.

Don’t become a victim of this crime or help perpetuate it by employing, hiring or appointing rouge and bogus house clearance firms. Insist on seeing a real and genuine copy of their waste carrier’s certificate and licences and keep a record of the details just in case.

If you think you have hired a bogus or rogue house clearance firm and are worried about illegal fly tipping you can report major incidents of the dumping of waste to the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

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