Trading Standards is asking you to be extra vigilant this summer following recent cold-calling incidences.
In one case they prevented an elderly couple handing over £28,000 for a new roof that didn’t need replacing after being targeted by cold-callers.
Sadly, in another incident, £10,000 was lost as Trading Standards were notified too late to be able to intervene.
In each incident, the elderly person was told by a cold-caller that they have some loose or cracked roof tiles or needed the guttering clearing.
They were then persuaded to have the tiles replaced or gutters cleaned usually for a small amount of money – such as £20.
But once they have agreed for the work to go ahead, the cold-caller then advises the elderly person that further ‘urgent work’ needs carrying out, such as replacing rotting roof timbers or felting.
The price of the work then escalates – often into thousands of pounds – and they feel intimidated into having the work done…handing over large sums of money for work that often didn’t need doing in the first place or is of little value.
Tradesmen removed from property
Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, said: “These are worrying incidents and Trading Standards officers and local police have carried out several rapid-response visits to elderly consumer’s homes to provide advice and reassurance, and also to remove the tradesmen from the property before the consumer has been forced to hand over large sums of money.
“Please look out for your elderly relatives and neighbours, who may be the next to be targeted by these unscrupulous cold-callers.”
Never pay any money up front
Wrexham Trading Standards always advise never to go ahead and have work done immediately on the doorstep and never pay any money up front.
You should always try to obtain a number of quotes from reputable traders before going ahead with any work.
Reputable traders will always be happy to give you time to decide whether to go ahead with the work.
- For a purchase of £42 or more at home, you must be given a written notice setting out your legal entitlement to a 14-day cooling-off period. If a trader is able to start work immediately and asks you to waive your rights, that should set alarm bells ringing.
- If you ask a trader to leave your property and they refuse to leave, this is a criminal offence. Contact the police and Trading Standards immediately.
- If you see anyone acting suspiciously or if you’ve been the victim of a rogue trader, then contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 / Welsh language line 03454 04 05 05.
- If you’re concerned about traders working or leaf-letting in your neighbourhood, contact your local policing team through 101.
- If a trader becomes abusive or you feel threatened contact the police on 999.
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