Winter and summer, after good and bad weather, ‘beware rogue tradesmen’ is good advice all year round.
Beware Rogue Tradesmen
Rogue traders who cold-call are deceiving consumers, particularly the elderly and vulnerable. They offer to carry out property repairs such as roofing work, clearing of guttering and fascia/soffit repairs.
Doorstep crime can affect anyone. However, rogue traders often prey on the most vulnerable in society.
The work is often substandard and overpriced. Including unnecessary repairs and the deliberate damage of property in order to acquire work. They often claim that work has been completed which hasn’t and make false declarations about membership of trade associations and their experience.
Doorstep callers may use intimidating or aggressive tactics in order to frighten you into contracting for services and parting with money. Or, they might befriend the vulnerable victim to facilitate the crime, which often results in repeat offending.
Beware Rogue Tradesmen and Cold Callers
Cold callers are those who arrive on your doorstep without prior invitation. This may include tradesmen, and others taking advantage of bad weather. They might try to charge an excessive amount of money when very little is in fact wrong with your property.
Many residents, especially those who are elderly or vulnerable, find cold callers intimidating. They can feel pressured into agreeing for work to be carried out or obliged to part with money.
The police always advise you not to carry out business on your doorstep with someone who has arrived unannounced. Go away, have a think about it, consider other quotes and look at references.
Every year, Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service receives hundreds of complaints from people who have experienced problems with doorstep traders carrying out work on their homes. Often large sums of money have been handed over for work that is of poor quality, is not needed or is vastly overpriced.
What to do instead of falling for Rogue Tradesmen
Always to say no to cold callers and never do business on the doorstep.
The Safe Trader Scheme can be found here, and help you find a reputable trader if your property needs repairs.
Police have issued the following advice to help people avoid falling victim to bogus callers;
- Be wary of unexpected callers
- If you are not sure who is at the door, do not answer it
- Look after older neighbours, relatives and friends; take notice if people are calling at their homes
- Call the police immediately if you think something is wrong
- Talk to friends and relatives about doorstep crime in order to empower them and reduce their chances of becoming victims
Anyone with concerns about bogus traders in their neighbourhood can contact Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Report an unwanted caller to Trading Standards on 0345 04 05 06
How to find a reputable trader
Use the Safe Trader Scheme to find a reputable trader if your property needs repairs.
You can also ask at your local Builders Merchants, like Builders Supplies West Coast. They will give you several names to ask for competitive quotes.
Asking friends and neighbours for recommendations of builders is often the best way. They know who they have used and found to be reliable, good and competitively priced.
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