Matt Allwright is a leather-clad pillion passenger on the back of a motor-bike navigated by his constant companion, Dan Penteado. Together they investigate Rogue Traders and each week, they take on an area of trade, where there have been complaints from viewers. This week it is Gas fitters and plumbers.
First up, they get a complaint from a nice doctor. His boiler has broken down and was quoted £600 to fix it, Plumbforcedirect took £150 deposit then left. The nice doctor got another plumber to check it who fixed in five minutes. Plumbforcedirect would not refund and got aggressive, suggesting he take them to court.
In come Matt and Dan, who set up a stooge with a leaking hot water tap in a system checked out by an expert and deemed to be in good working order. The fitter ignores the leaking tap even though it is pointed out to him. He recommends re-wiring the system and even fitting a new boiler to the tune of £3,400. He strings the work out to a second hour, costing £223.25 including VAT but still doesn’t fix the leaking tap that should take five minutes to fix and needed a new washer.
Next up is the company, Piping Hot from Buckinghamshire. Set up in the reality TV hot bed of High Wycombe, a dodgy spark electrode is fitted to a boiler and it should be spotted and fixed by a Corgi registered fitter within an hour and cost no more than £150. The fitter was Andy who was not Corgi registered and so should not be fixing boilers without supervision. He spends three hours getting nowhere before he calls another fitter who is registered. The new guy spots the problem in thirteen minutes and recommends a course of action – fitting a new spark electrode (whatever that is). Andy suggests charge of three hours at £75 he quotes £400 plus VAT for the whole job but will return later in the week to finish up.
Meanwhile Dan gets sent to the Gas Academy to see how easy it is to get things wrong. As Dan is not qualified to do anything with gas, he fails to spot that a gas ring is not getting enough oxygen and attempts to turn on a light during a gas leak, both are potentially lethal.
Matt and Dan ambush Andy from Piping Hot on his return. Embarrassed Andy gets out of the house quickly and drives away. Sadly, he has passed his exams but has not yet received his registration; he doesn’t seem a bad guy. Piping Hot accepted responsibility but claimed charges were in accordance with pricing policy. As only one person at Piping Hot is Corgi registered it seems a hollow argument.
Back to Plumbforcedirect and Matt goes under-cover as an East European plumber to test if it is the policy of the company to stretch out time or if the plumber was acting on his own. The owner interviewed Matt with dodgy make-up and even dodgier accent and told him how to make a job last at least two hours even if it was simple. Camera crew arrives and the owner hides in his house.
Rogue Traders is interspersed with comedy between Matt and Dan, this week including clips from “Some Mother do ‘Ave ‘Em”, a strange link to Eurovision and a comparison between having a Corgi T-Shirt and a Ramones’ T-Shirt. The banter between Matt and his less verbose driver keeps the whole thing ticking along nicely, making it easy to watch as well as informative.
Things learned: Always check for Corgi registration and watch out for stretchy times on jobs.