Press Release Issued By
Lancashire County Council Consumer Services





A recent Private Members Bill aimed at tackling Bogus Homeworking Schemes is welcomed by Lancashire County Council who have been campaigning for years for effective controls over these misleading offers.

The Bill, introduced by Birmingham MP Richard Buden, proposes to ban up front fees and the widespread advertising of these schemes. These proposals follow the recommendations Lancashire County Council has made to control such schemes. Mr Buden stated "These schemes cynically and cold bloodedly target the most vulnerable members of our society" and he is encouraging people to seek support for this Bill from their local MPs as it received its second reading on 2 February 2001.

Bogus Homeworking Schemes are often advertised on notice boards, shop windows etc, and hold out the promise of high earnings for vague work-from-home activities. Anyone responding to the offer is sent further promises of well paid employment for a variety of activities which may include 'addressing envelopes', 'mailing circulars' or 'assembling craft goods'. The sting comes when interested participants are asked for advance payments of up to 300 for 'registration' or 'agents' fees or for materials and information to start the enterprise. When this money is paid, participants find that the schemes they are offered are unworkable. Any goods that are produced are rejected and some schemes simply invite participants to recruit more people into the scheme so the promoter can gain more advance payments. Invariably the 'earnings' are false and never cover the cost of their initial payments.

Lancashire County Council Trading Standards receives hundreds of complaints regarding these schemes and a survey two years ago revealed over 60 bogus schemes operating within the County.

County Councillor X said "Lancashire County Council has been in the forefront of campaigning to end these schemes and the Bill reflects our proposals. Many hundreds of Lancashire people have fallen victim and lost money with these schemes. Often it is the unemployed and most vulnerable members of society searching for honest employment who are cheated by these schemes and even if the Private Members Bill fails through lack of Parliamentary time, we hope the government will pick up this issue and seek to stop the conmen who prey on our community.

For further information please contact Assistant Chief Trading Standards Officer Dave Roderick on 01772 263632.