Be on the lookout for rogue traders

Published on: 28 Aug 2013

WE’RE working with South Gloucestershire Trading Standards after beat team officers came across a suspected ‘rogue trader’ while on patrol in Downend in August.

We often stop to speak to tradesmen carrying out work on people’s homes because there are some unscrupulous individuals out there who bully people into having work done unnecessarily, overcharge or carry out shoddy work – that’s what we mean by ‘rogue trading’. 

In this case, we spotted a man pressure-washing a drive and after speaking to the householder the officers believed the worker had broken Trading Standards law. 

He was arrested for failing to give the occupier a seven-day ‘cooling off’ period (Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act 2008) and failing to tell them of their legal right to cancel. 

A joint investigation with Trading Standards is continuing.

‘Rogue traders’ often call on frail older people offering to carry out maintenance work. My advice to deter them includes:

If you have a vulnerable older relative or friend, help them to arrange to have their home and garden maintained

Give them a regular lift to the bank or building society or help them get online banking so they don’t keep a lot of cash at home

Make sure they have a door chain fitted and remind them never to open the door to unexpected callers without using the chain first and asking for identification

If you’re suspicious of a visitor call us straight away on 101. We’d rather have a well-intentioned false alarm

There’s much more information on our website, www.avonandsomerset.police.uk, or if you‘d like us to come and do a security check of an older person’s home, you can call us on 101. 

South Gloucestershire Council also runs a ‘handy van’ scheme offering free home safety and security checks and minor repairs for householders who are over 60 or have a disability. Call 01454 868007 for information. 

The charity Care & Repair can also help homeowners who are over 60 or people with disabilities of any age. To find out more call 0300 323 0700.

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