Rogue traders often offer gardening, roofing or driveway work or maintenance services at initially cheap rates but the quality of work is substandard or unnecessary and the final price extortionate. They regularly use aggressive sales techniques to pressurise often vulnerable consumers into making hasty decisions.
Jerry Wickham, cabinet member for public protection, said: " A rogue trader on TV or in movies is often portrayed as a cheeky wheeler-dealer type, but the reality couldn't be further away from that. These doorstep criminals target often vulnerable members of our communities to part with their hard earned money for unnecessary, overpriced and low-quality work and the effects can be devastating.
Detective Sergeant Anthony King from the Wiltshire Police Community Tasking Team said: “We ask that the community follow advice from Trading Standards, look out for any vulnerable or elderly friends and relatives who might be particularly at risk and do your homework before engaging anyone to carryout work on your property.”
Householders are advised:
- ‘If in doubt, keep them out!'
- Never work with cold-callers and don't be rushed into home repairs
- Consumers are legally entitled to a 14-day cooling off period in most home improvement contracts formed at their home
- Check the identity of the caller by phoning the company they claim to be from. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider
- Check whether traders are members of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme, the local Authority Assured Trader Schemes or the Government Trust Mark scheme.
- Ask a neighbour or friend nearby to check out the caller before you open the door to them or agree to have work done. Some areas in the country have ‘nominated neighbour schemes' you can sign up to. Check with your local police to find out if there is one in your area
- Never pay cash up front
- Always get at least three quotes before agreeing to have work done
- Use the Trading Standards approved "Buy with Confidence" traders. These businesses are vetted and audited by Trading Standards Officers. To find a Buy with Confidence trader visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or alternately a list of approved traders can be obtained from Wiltshire Council's Trading Standards service.
Darren said “If anyone suspects a rogue trader is at the door, they should contact the police by dialling 101. In an emergency, call 999. People can also report rogue traders to local trading standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.”