A Lancashire based tech company has launched with software which aims to protect consumers from rogue traders, provide peace of mind to tradespeople and restore faith in the industry.
Kiistone says it was set up exactly to prevent stories like Terri Dainty’s, which we shared earlier, in which the Chorley mum had won a court case against a rogue trader that had ruined her garden, but he disappeared without returning any of her £9215.
Following the case, Cameron Crook, the tradesman who helped Terri through the court process, introduced her to his ex-colleague, Tim Mullock, the founder of Kiistone, as both men wanted to use Terri’s story to warn others about rogue traders.
Tim, 42 explained: “Cameron helped Terri push the legal proceedings through but now we're trying to get the message out there of how Kiistone works to stop it happening to other people."
Built to reflect Tim's 23 years experience as a tradesperson, Kiistone offsets job tasks against stage payments, so a customer puts up payments in a ring fenced system, meaning traders can buy materials in confidence knowing the money is only there for that reason, but it cannot be drawn out until the customer is pleased that the requirements for that stage are met.
Tim adds that a shortage of construction workers, caused by the “stress” of the job, is making it harder for customers to find verifiable tradespeople, with better financial protection helping reduce both a tradesperson’s stress and a customer’s risk.
Tim said: “Kiistone’s trying to tackle this statistic that somebody in construction takes their own life every day, and if you are taking a chance on a trader that you're struggling to verify, at least Kiistone makes sure that if the project goes awry, you can stop it and know where you stand with your money.”
In Terri’s case, if she had used Kiistone, she would never have parted with any money unless she was happy with the job at each point.
Kiistine also provides the meditation between parties, and the trader’s background information, which would have helped in Terri’s situation, if Cameron was not there to offer it.
Tim added: “Terri and her mum have been brave enough to let us use her story to make people aware of what we're doing, but by the same token, people like him have got to be stopped because he can't be allowed to continue abusing people's trust.
"The actual legal system's got to change so that people are protected because these days when you enter someone's house, you feel like you're guilty until proven innocent because of rogue traders but there are really good tradespeople out there so that's why Kiistone helps both parties.”
Terri added: “Tim’s been amazing. He’s helped us move forward because I feel like I just came to a standstill with the court constantly asking them for updates. I know it can take time because they have to try and find him, but to get recognition, and get it out there even further to make sure this fellow doesn't do it again to anybody, I wouldn't have been able to do that without Tim.”