Residents are being warned by Bath & North East Somerset Council to beware of doorstep sellers, after an elderly lady from Bath became the victim of a suspected rogue trader by paying £600 cash for an hour of work which entailed pruning two small trees in her garden.
Rogue traders target vulnerable residents and carry out little or no work, charging exorbitant sums of money. They will usually offer roofing, driveway or gardening services at a reduced price, but work is often unnecessary or badly done and the trader later increases the price. While it might be tempting to agree to low prices being offered on the doorstep, Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards team warns people to think twice. Their advice is:
- Never agree to have any work done as a result of a cold call, and don’t be pressurised into having the job done immediately
- If you think work needs doing to your home, get quotes from 2 or 3 traders and ask for references and check the trader out by speaking to their previous customers
- Ask for the full name and address from a trader before considering dealing with them, and never rely solely on a mobile phone number
- Ask for a written quotation detailing all the proposed work and a final price for the job
- Only pay once the work is completed to your satisfaction, don’t pay up front for materials, don’t pay cash
- Ask to see photo identification of all callers to your home, even if they claim to be from a utility company, the police or local authority
- When checking ID, check it carefully with the telephone number in the phone book and not the number on the ID
- Do not keep cash in your home no matter how well you think it is hidden, and never let traders know that you may have cash on the premises.
Cllr Bob Goodman, Cabinet Member for Development, said: “Rogue traders are a shameful blight on our community and make people’s lives a misery, as well as sullying the good reputation of decent local businesses. Rogue traders use underhand and high-pressure sales techniques to take advantage of householders; particularly preying on vulnerable people. Bath & North East Somerset Council will not stand for such dishonest trading practices and we continue to work closely with the Police, through intelligence sharing and joint initiatives, to help protect our residents and legitimate local businesses.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Trading Standards team runs an approved trader scheme called Buy With Confidence. The members on the scheme are vetted and approved by Trading Standards to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way. Should you require a business to do work at your home, service your car etc. we advise you take a look at our Buy With Confidence scheme https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/
Bath & North East Somerset Trading Standards has also produced door stickers for residents to display stating that they do not buy from doorstep callers. Residents can obtain a sticker by phoning 01225 396753.
If you or a neighbour or relative is approached by a cold caller and you are concerned please call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline 03454 04 05 06 (Trading Standards will also be referred a copy of the complaint). You can also report any suspicious vehicles you have spotted in your area if you think they are being used by workmen targeting houses or bungalows in areas predominately inhabited by older or vulnerable residents.