Consumers would be safer using independently vetted builders over those found on customer review sites, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

Responding to the announcement of an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into fake customer reviews, the trade association has called on customers to protect themselves when hiring tradespeople.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “For years, builders have been tainted by dishonest and unprofessional business practices on customer review websites. Many sites that promote businesses on the back of these reviews are far too easily manipulated by their users, as the CMA has rightly recognised. The fake review is just another string to the bow of cowboy builders and dishonest tradespeople.

“All too often, we see builders sourced from customer review based websites causing havoc with their poor quality and sometimes dangerous work.

“For years we have been working to ensure that the construction industry holds itself to the highest standard. As a professional trade association we have stringent checks on new members joining the FMB to ensure that these standards are maintained. These checks include an independent inspection of their work, credit checks and minimum of 12 months trading history.

“Hopefully, this welcome but long overdue investigation by the CMA will help crackdown on dishonesty in the industry,” Mr Berry said.