West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service is warning householders to be vigilant on their doorstep and not to purchase goods or services from doorstep traders.
Rogue traders take advantage of vulnerable consumers by targeting them for household repairs and jobs, such as roofing work and garden clearance services. Traders may also offer knives, kitchen utensils or cleaning apparatus at “reduced” prices.
Communities are warned to look out for elderly, vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours to ensure that they are not taken advantage of by unscrupulous traders who sell goods on the doorstep, or who carry out shoddy and substandard repairs. The cost of repairs for unfinished or inferior quality work can often leave consumers in unexpected debt.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service continues to investigate these scammers and are reminding consumers not to deal with traders who call at their homes offering to carry household repairs.
Tactics used by rogue doorstep traders include:-
- Deliberate targeting of elderly, confused or vulnerable consumers.
- Offering goods at “reduced” prices.
- Scaring consumers into having the work carried out.
- Advising that work is needed when this is not the case.
- Starting work which has been agreed, then finding further jobs that need urgent attention; this leads to escalating prices. In these situations, consumers (especially elderly consumers) often feel they have no choice but to agree to and pay for the extra work.
- Trying to get into the house under the guise of needing the toilet or wanting to get a drink; once inside, a distraction burglary is likely to take place.
The public are urged to remember the following advice:
- Use a door chain to check who is calling.
- Don’t trade on the doorstep.
- Always report any suspicious activity.
- Always keep purses and wallets hidden away from sight.
- If a price seems too good to be true – it normally is.
David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said, “We advise anyone not to buy from their doorstep or from anyone stopping you on the street. Once goods or services have been provided it is often difficult for householders to trace the perpetrator if anything goes wrong. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06”
Councillor Ken Smith, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said: “We all need to be aware of the different methods rogue traders use and to look out for those who are vulnerable. In order to take a stand against rogues, we need to report them and seek help if we ever fall for one of their tricks.”