Issued By
Lancashire County Council

Householders Advised Not To Fall For 'Free Damp Proof Check' Hard Sell

Following recent consumer complaints, Lancashire County Council's Trading Standards Department is warning householders to be on their guard against ‘cold calling’ damp proofers who may offer damp proofing work which may be unnecessary or over priced.

Householders are being telephoned and offered a ‘free damp check’. If this is accepted, a representative using a damp detection meter will call and conclude that there is evidence of damp. A hard sell for the damp proofing work will then follow, with prices ranging from several hundred to several thousand pounds being quoted. The company carry out the work within days, giving the householder little chance to reconsider or cancel the agreement.

The Trading Standards Service is now receiving enquiries from householders who have been telephoned and offered similar free checks and consumers are advised to take the following steps if they think they have a rising damp problem:-

County Councillor Tim Ormrod, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Rural Affairs, said:

“Past complaints received by Trading Standards Service have shown that householders should be wary of ‘cold calling’ or doorstep tradesmen and not agree to have work done there and then. Damp can be caused by a number of causes not all of which require a new damp course.”

“There is a real concern that vulnerable householders are being specifically targeted and costs assessed according to how much they can pay rather than whether work is actually needed or a fair assessment of the price to do the job."

“If you think you need any home improvement work doing, shop around and look for reputable businesses who will be willing to give you a free quote and time to consider their offer."

“Although you should have 7 days cooling off period for a doorstep deal, you may find yourself being hurried into signing and paying for the job within this period."

If you receive a cold call offering free damp checks please obtain as much information as you can about the company and then ring our Trading Standards Consumer Advice line on 0845 600 1352 for further advice.

For further information please contact: Clare Ianson on 01772 263537