Peterborough Safeguarding Adults Board and the PCC Trading Standards Team want to highlight the problem of “rogue traders”.
Be careful who you invite into your home
Everyone is vulnerable to cold callers and it is often hard to say ‘no’. Research shows that this is particularly true for elderly consumers who are often targeted by rogue salespeople and people offering to carry out work on their home or garden.
Decisions made on the doorstep can result in a great amount of distress for those who are duped out of money for substandard products or services. It is crucial to be aware of your consumer rights.
Trading Standards is offering consumers a free sticker that goes on their front door with the message “We do not buy or sell at the front door”. Traders who ignore this message may be committing a criminal offence.
The sticker can be collected by calling from Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.
In addition, the Office of Fair Trading offers the following Top Ten Tips for consumers who want to buy safely and confidently in their home:
- Don’t sign on the spot
- Check the trader’s identity
- Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home
- Always shop around for the best price
- Read the small print
- Double check the facts
- Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion
- Don’t hand over a cash deposit and never agree to the trader taking you to the bank to take money out
- Think carefully before you agree to a trader starting any work straight away
- Trust your instincts – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Following an increase in the number of Rogue Trading incidents reported to Trading Standards in Peterborough recently, they are appealing to relatives, carers and neighbours of older and vulnerable people to report any incidents or suspicious circumstances to them.
Richard Matthews Trading Standards Officer with PCC explained, Rogue Trading occurs when consumers are cold called and are:
- Deliberately overcharged for unsatisfactory goods / services
- Intimidated by the trader in order to extort money and / or do not inform customers of their seven day cooling off period;
- Using aggressive sales practices and / or refusing the consumers request to leave their property
We are concerned because we know that this is a hugely under-reported area, (only one in ten victims complaint to authorities) as victims usually fear ‘come back’s’ from the rogue trader, or worry about how their families may react to the news that they’ve paid an extortionate amount for no, or very little work.
Research also tells us that the average age of the victims of rogue traders is 77 and that they are two and a half times more likely to die or move into permanent care within one year of falling prey to a rogue trader.
Trading Standards needs carers and friends and families to be our eyes and ears and to tell us about:
- Any rogue trading incidents they hear about;
- Report any suspicious circumstances;
- Send us business cards / leaflets / fliers / business names or vehicle registration numbers they have concerns about.
Trading Standards can be contacted via the Consumer Advice Helpline on 08454 04 05 06. We aim to respond to rogue trader incidents within 30 minutes of the matter being reported to us.