Press Release Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service





The West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service welcomes an initiative from Birmingham Northfield MP Richard Burden, which will bring before Parliament measures which it is hoped will put an end to bogus homeworking schemes.

The MP is introducing a Private Members Bill which had its first reading on 19th January and aims to ban the practise often employed by these schemes, that of asking for an up front registration fee before full details of the scheme are released. At present these fees may vary from as little as 15 to in excess of 300 depending on the type of scheme involved. The Bill will also propose to give additional powers to Trading Standards officers to curb advertising relating to such schemes.

Mr Richard Burden, Birmingham Northfield MP, said " I am very proud to be in a position to put this bill forward. The people who run these bogus schemes have been getting away with it for far too long and this should finally put an end to their activities. These schemes cynically and cold bloodedly target the most vulnerable members of our society; pensioners, carers, the disabled, lone parents, those with learning difficulties or poor communication skills, or anyone who is not able to work outside the home but wants to do something to raise their family income."

In recent months there has been a lot of advertising using small posters tied to lampposts, urging anyone interested in making money to phone the number in the advert. After making the call the person will often receive some written information through the post which, although it may run into several pages is unlikely to reveal the nature of the scheme. It is at this point that the question of a registration fee is raised. This will be required before any further details are made known. Needless to say, the schemes do not match their glowing pre publicity and rarely, if ever, provide any genuine opportunity to earn money or even recoup the initial registration fee. There is often a side effect for people who give their names and addresses to organisers of bogus homeworking schemes, in that these organisers often sell lists of names and addresses to other perpetrators of other schemes who will then send out direct mail shots, thus perpetuating the system.

The bill will receive its second reading on 2nd February 2001, and it is important that as many MPs as possible attend the reading. Mr Burden would like to encourage anyone who is interested in this bill to write to their MP to urge them to attend the reading.

The West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service advise anyone who would like help and advice about homeworking to contact the West Yorkshire Consumer Helpline on 01133 848 848. However, the general advice is to avoid any scheme that requires money up front.

Martin Wood West Yorkshire Trading Standards’ Chief Officer said "Certain types of homeworking schemes target those people in society who appear the most vulnerable. The money they offer often appears too good to be true. The West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service would once again urge anyone who is considering responding to any money making offer to be particularly cautious where upfront payments are demanded. After all, we work to get paid, we don’t pay to work."


For further information contact:-

David Lodge, Principal Trading Standards Officer Tel 0113 289 8243

Paul Cooper, Divisional Manager Tel 0113 289 8240

Graham Hebblethwaite, Divisional Manager/General Media Contact Tel. 0113 289 8218