For many, now is the time to get out in the garden and get those mounting jobs off your to do list while the sun is shining.
You may decide to get a tradesperson in to help with work such as gardening, landscaping, driveway works, guttering clearing and jet washing – but be sure not to be scammed out of your money.
North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team has been made aware of cold callers in the area and is warning people not to get caught out by rogue traders who offer to carry out work.
Officers are urging people to report doorstep callers offering such work and report any sightings of suspected rogue traders in the area.
They target the vulnerable and the elderly, they overcharge for doing very little work, and in most cases, they leave the victim having to find a reputable trader to put right what they have done.
After carrying out work such as cutting back trees, they charge to take the waste away and then dump it illegally. You could be liable if unlicensed traders dump anything from your property.
Rogue traders defraud victims through pressure selling. Often offering substantial reductions to start the work there and then, breaching the victim’s legal rights of a cooling off period. They then escalate the price once work has started.
While cold calling is not illegal, it may be that the trader isn’t all they seem and may even be committing a criminal offence.
Residents have the right to choose if they want uninvited callers to their home.
People can report cold callers to Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “It isn’t always easy to spot a rogue trader. They may tell you that a repair is urgent or that they have just completed work for neighbours and will normally ask for payment immediately. Never agree to having work done when you’re cold called. Never let yourself be pressurised into doing something you are suspicious of and seek advice.
“If a job needs doing, make sure you do your research and get at least three quotes from different tradespeople and take your time to make an informed decision. Always use a reputable company that someone you know and trust has recommended.
“As good neighbours, we should always be on the look-out for each other and if someone starts work on your vulnerable neighbour’s home, don’t hesitate to report them to the council.”
Trading Standards advice if you need work carrying out:
- Get a number of quotes from traders known to you, family or friends
- Do not answer the door to traders you do not know or have not asked to visit
- Display a notice to deter cold callers
- People can report cold callers to Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Fraudsters also often use social media sites to trick people into parting with their money or personal details. Posts can include investment opportunities, to items and services for sale.
Entering into a contract with anyone on social media is not advised due to the impermanent nature of it. Anyone who has access to a phone or laptop can set up a fake name and address. The advice on checking into companies, asking for examples of work, still apply.
For more advice on this or to report a fraud, visit www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Buy with Confidence Scheme
If you’re a local trader and would like to find out how to become an approved Buy With Confidence member, be part of a trusted trader scheme and reassure potential consumers, contact Trading Standards on [email protected] or call (01472) 326299, option 3.
If you join the scheme, you’ll be able to:
- Use the Buy With Confidence logo and say you’re ‘Trading Standards Approved’
- Set yourself apart from competitors
- Reassure customers you’re trustworthy
- Get information about changes to the law that could affect your business
- Access to advice direct from local authority employed Trading Standards professionals