'If you are unsure - shut the door' says council in a bid to root out rogue traders
Published on: 26 Aug 2016
NEIGHBOURHOOD police have teamed up with trading standards officers in South Gloucestershire to remind people how to avoid unscrupulous tradespeople.
Local policing inspector Lee Moore said: “We’ve had reports of flyers being delivered in the area promoting home maintenance and gardening services.
“While many legitimate firms use leaflets to promote their business, we know that it’s also a favourite tactic for so-called ‘rogue traders’ – people who persuade householders to have work done unnecessarily, to a poor standard or who overcharge - and we want to remind people how they can steer clear of unscrupulous traders.”
Insp Moore said residents should get three quotes from reputable tradespeople and remember they have a legal right to a cooling off period before work starts.
South Gloucestershire Council holds a ‘Buy with Confidence’ directory, which you can access by visiting http://www.southglos.gov.uk/business/trading-standards/buy-with-confidence/
A spokesman for South Gloucestershire Council said: “Our advice is not to deal with cold callers on your doorstep. You do not know who they are, or what their history is. If you are unsure, shut the door. Rogue trading is linked with distraction burglaries and rogue traders are known to have criminal convictions for fraud, violence and trading standards offences.
“If you believe you may have been the victim of a rogue trader recently, or suspect a friend, neighbour or family member may have, please report this to South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the police."
Leaflets for genuine businesses will usually include the trader’s full name and address and a landline telephone number, which can be checked against the phone book or other directory. Be suspicious of any business leaflet which only contains a mobile number, with no other contact details.
The advice from trading standards is:
• get three quotes for work
• do not pay for work or materials in advance
• don’t hand over a cash deposit
• don’t agree to a trader starting any work straight away
• failure to provide a notice of cancellation rights is a criminal offence
• if you do not receive your cancellation rights in writing, the trader cannot hold you to the contract
If you are suspicious of a trader’s leaflets contact the Citizens’ Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or trading standards on 01454 868 001.
Anyone concerned about anyone calling door-to-door in the area – especially if they are visiting elderly or vulnerable people – call police straight away on 101 or ring 999 if it's an emergency.
More information about rogue trading and doorstep crime can be found on the council’s website.