Trading Standards remind residents to watch out for summer rogue traders
Published: 24 June 2021
Derby City Council Trading Standards team are asking for the public’s help this summer to protect themselves and their vulnerable neighbours and family from rogue traders.
Rogue traders will often cold call in the hope of pressuring their victim into making a quick decision, potentially overpaying for poor quality work that might not have needed completing in the first place.
Additionally, some burglars use cold calling to create a distraction, allowing a partner time to sneak in and steal. Trading Standards are aware that these rogue traders often prey on the most vulnerable in society but unfortunately victims of rogue traders rarely report what has happened to them.
Help people spot the signs, and keep you and your neighbours safe by looking out for;
- Unrecognised vans parked nearby, particularly ones that don’t include a company name or contact details
- Building or maintenance work on your neighbour’s garden or house starting unexpectedly
- Poor quality work visible on the roof, driveway, or property
- Your neighbour appearing anxious or distressed
- Your neighbour visiting the bank, building society, or post office more frequently, particularly if they are accompanied by a trader
By following these steps, you can protect yourself, your neighbours and your family:
- Cold calling itself is not actually illegal. However, if you have a ‘no buying at the door’ sticker* displayed, a trader may be breaking the law by ignoring this
- Always have your front and back doors locked and use a spyhole, chain or doorbell camera to see who is at the door
- You do not have to let anyone into you home. If you decide to let someone in, always ask for ID and confirm it with the organisation they claim to be working for by getting the number from your local directory or the internet. Do not use the number on the caller’s ID or business card. A genuine caller will be happy to wait while you do this
- Be aware of high-pressure sales tactics, such as special offers that are only on for one day. Take your time to decide and don’t be afraid to ask for time to think about the offer
- If someone claims they are part of a Trade Association or an approved body, ensure they have evidence and don’t be scared to check up on them
- Do not accept an offer from the caller to drive you to the bank or cash point
- Always get at least 3 quotes for work and never pay for work before it is completed
- Always agree a final price in writing and get an invoice and receipt as proof of payment
- Make sure you ask for a contract – anyone who offers to sell you goods or services in your home that cost more than £42 must provide you with a written notice giving you 14 days to cancel the agreement. Anyone who fails to give this notice is committing a criminal offence
- If you are looking to have work done, consider using a member of an approved trader scheme, such as Buy With Confidence, which is supported by Derby City Council
Councillor Jonathan Smale, Cabinet Member for Place and Community Development said:
The warmer weather each year brings an increase in the number of complaints from residents concerning doorstep canvassers offering goods and services.
We would like to remind residents to act with caution when answering the door and to make sure that you never agree to work from high-pressure salespeople.
You can report incidents of high-pressure salespeople or suspicious traders to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133. If a crime is in progress or you feel threatened, call the police on 999.
*If you would like a sticker for your window then email the Trading Standards team.