23 April 2015

Northamptonshire Trading Standards is encouraging people to only use reputable traders for any home improvement work they are considering.

As the fine weather arrives, many homeowners think about having work done around the house or garden but the county council’s Trading Standards team is warning residents not to accept offers of work from doorstep traders.

Extortionate charges

There have been reports made to Trading Standards and Northamptonshire Police that these cold callers are operating in the county, carrying out poor quality work and charging extortionate prices.

David Hedger, Northamptonshire Trading Standards manager, said: “We are advising people not to deal with unexpected cold callers offering any kind of service or trying to sell you something on your doorstep.

“We’ve had reports of rogue traders carrying out poor quality repairs and charging inflated prices, sometimes even driving the victim to the bank to withdraw money or threatening them.

“In many cases these criminals try to take advantage of elderly and vulnerable people, which is why we’re also asking friends, relatives, neighbours and carers to be on their guard and look out for their loved ones.

“If you’re concerned about a caller at your door or suspect that rogue traders are operating in your community, contact the Doorstep crime Action Network (DAN) on 0345 23 07 702 or the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06. If a crime is in progress, dial 999.”

Unexpected callers

Paul Golley, crime prevention manager for Northamptonshire Police, said: “We work closely with Trading Standards to tackle rogue trading and other doorstep crime, such as distraction burglary.

“Evidence strongly suggests there are links between those involved in rogue trading and those who commit distraction burglary and, unfortunately, these criminals often prey on the more vulnerable.

“Along with our Trading Standards colleagues, we would encourage everyone to be aware of the risks of both rogue trading and distraction burglary. Please pass on the message to family, friends and neighbours, and warn them not to open the door to unexpected callers, and remember – if you’re not sure, don’t open the door!”

Buy With Confidence

For anyone considering home improvement work this summer, Trading Standards has a Buy With Confidence approved trader scheme where you can find reputable tradesmen. Visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders or call 0300 126 1000.