Google is blocking ads from plumbers in the Netherlands following complaints from consumer organisation Consumentenbond about fraud.
From February 22, no plumbers will be allowed to advertise their services on YouTube and none will pop up after a search on Google Ads, the company said in its updated rules for advertisers.
Some of the victims of the plumbing scams reported by the Consumentenbond were served with bills of thousands of euros for relatively small jobs. The consumer organisation’s own mystery investigators also came across rogue plumbers they found via Google.
Google, which earlier banned ads from locksmiths, said its decision was based on a “continuous assessment and feedback from users, supervising bodies and consumer organisations”.
Sector umbrella organisation Techniek Nederland, which had asked watchdog Autoriteit Consument & Markt for measures to combat fraudulent plumbers, welcomed the move.
“Too many people are falling victim to these fraudsters,” a spokesman for the organisation told broadcaster NOS. “In some cases people face intimidation, they pay huge amounts and often the problem is not solved. Most are rogue plumbers advertising via Google.”
Techniek Nederland has its own data base for legitimate, qualified plumbers, who will now no longer be tarred with the same brush, the spokesman said. “Now that Google is banning the adverts of these companies the image of the sector will improve.”
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