Proposals on tougher sentencing for rogue traders who defraud and bribe the public have been welcomed by TrustMark, the government endorsed quality mark for reputable tradesmen.

Responding to the Sentencing Council’s consultation on fraud, bribery and money laundering, TrustMark has endorsed a revised framework for sentencing that will affect rogue traders who operate on the black market and win business by fraudulently using registration marks.

“The Sentencing Council’s new proposals will hopefully act as a deterrent to those cowboys who give tens of thousands of great law-abiding tradesmen a bad name,” said Liz Male, chair of TrustMark. “These criminals put their victims at risk and rip them off. The new guidelines are tougher on those who commit multiple offences, especially when the victims are particularly vulnerable.”

TrustMark is also calling on the Sentencing Council to consider even tougher penalties if rogue traders are fraudulently winning work involving electricity, gas and other potentially lethal substances such as asbestos.

“Tougher, simpler, sentencing guidelines will help us get the message across to rogues that their activities are unacceptable and have no place in our industry,” said Male. “Ripping off the vulnerable and putting safety at risk must be deterred and we believe the Sentencing Council’s guidelines go some way to help doing that.”

To co-incide with the consultation, TrustMark has introduced a new logo download system this month for all its 14,500 registered firms in order to reduce the risk of logo abuse and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Every firm will now be required to use their personalised TrustMark logo in all of their marketing and website activity, detailing the trades that they have been inspected and licensed for by TrustMark.

“The new TrustMark logo will provide a more transparent environment of trust for consumers as they will now be able to immediately see if a TrustMark firm has been inspected and is licensed for a particular trade. And tradesmen will be able to give themselves a competitive edge by demonstrating to customers that their work has been inspected and they offer warranties.” added Male.

TrustMark has taken action against almost 100 firms that have been found misusing its logo so far this year, and regularly liaises with Trading Standards and the Police when rogue traders come to light. Following successful legal action against such firms, and in order to warn other homeowners, the business names are published on TrustMark’s ‘Fakes and Forgeries’ page in it’s Essential advice section.