21 August 2019

Homeowners in Northamptonshire are being encouraged not to buy goods or services from cold-callers after a rise in the number of complaints about suspected rogue traders.

Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service has received calls from people who have been offered maintenance work on their property or garden by doorstep traders.

In one case, an elderly lady was quoted £9,500 for a new roof and was taken to the bank to withdraw the money. Luckily the bank followed the ‘bank and building society protocol’ and did not release the funds. An independent assessment of the roof indicated that the maximum cost of the work should only have been £3,000. Trading Standards are now making further enquiries.

Trading Standards advice is never to buy goods or services from a cold-caller on their doorstep, even if it is claimed that the work needs doing as a matter of urgency.

Instead, homeowners should find a Trading Standards approved trader to carry out any work through the national ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme or ‘Trustmark’, the Government Endorsed Quality Scheme.

Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for Place, Jason Smithers said:

 

“The mild weather seems to have sparked a spate of suspected rogue traders who are cold-calling on elderly and vulnerable residents trying to pressure them into unnecessary work on their home at an inflated cost.

“All too often, this work is unnecessary, never completed or carried out to a poor standard.

“Our advice is clear, do not pay for goods or services from a doorstep trader.

“If you do need work carrying out, the ‘Buy With Confidence’ scheme will help you to find a reputable tradesperson who has been approved by Trading Standards.”

Northamptonshire County Council, in partnership with Northamptonshire Police, can provide ‘No Cold Calling’ stickers for residents. These are available by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 04 05 06. They can also provide you with advice about your consumer rights.

If you are concerned about a caller at your door or suspect that rogue traders or distraction burglars are operating in your community, contact the dedicated Doorstep crime Action Network (DAN) on 0345 23 07 702, or if a crime is in progress, dial 999.