North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards is warning people to be wary of door step callers offering gardening services and other work on their properties.
Rogue traders are known to have been targeting homes in the area recently and offering to resurface driveways, jet washing, gardening services, roofing and guttering repairs.
Three suspected rogue traders were arrested in Scartho last month after charging between £2,000 and £5,200 in cash for the work they had done.
Trading standards intervened and stopped one potential victim handing over more than £5,000.
Unscrupulous traders often target vulnerable people and overcharge them for doing very little work and in most cases doing it badly. Often offering massive reductions to start the work there and then.
If work is needed at the property it is advisable to get recommendations from family and friends who have used reputable traders and are happy with the work.
Cllr Ray Oxby, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, said:
“There is only one way consumers can really stay safe from con artists who make a living by ripping off people in their own homes – always say ‘no’ to cold calling doorstep traders.
“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, you should be asking questions and don’t be afraid to make a referrals to Trading Standards.
“If a job does need doing, get at least three quotes from different trades people and take your time to make an informed decision.
“If you need advice on a doorstep traders or want to report a sighting of cold caller activity in your area, report it to trading standards online at www.nelincs.gov.uk/scams or by calling Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.”
Neil Clark, Trading Standards manager, said:
“We are also aware of residents who have not entered into any formal contract at all with the cold caller only to be woken at 6am the next day with sounds of work starting. In those circumstances, we suggest you call the Police on 999.
“Traders must give you a 14 day cooling off period if they call at your home or business and offer to carry out work and the cost of the job is £42 or more. It’s an offence if they don’t.”
Report suspicious activity in confidence to trading standards via www.nelincs.gov.uk/scams or call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506.
For more information and advice visit www.nelincs.gov.uk/trading-standards/