It’s that time of year when rogue traders begin to rear their ugly heads again, going door-to-door to see what dodgy business they can sell to unwitting victims.
As the nights get lighter and the weather gets warmer, plenty of people will be wanting to spruce up their garden and get jobs done that have been adding up on their to-do list over the winter months.
But don’t get caught out by cold callers who offer to tidy up your gardens, jet wash your driveways and patios, or clear your gutters ready for the summer.
A report has been made to North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team after an unscrupulous trader targeted an elderly resident by demanding £2,500 to power wash their driveway. Thankfully, the resident knew what was happening and cancelled the job before work could begin.
Trading Standards officers are urging people to report doorstep callers offering to carry out work on homes, gardens and business premises, and reminded to remain vigilant and report any sightings of suspected rogue traders in the area.
They target the vulnerable and the elderly and overcharge for doing very little work, and in most cases, leave the victim having to find a reputable trader to put right what they have done. They 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.
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.
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.
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/