Issued By
West Yorkshire Trading
Standards Service

 

BEWARE DOORSTEP TRADERS!

 

At this time of year the West Yorkshire Consumer Helpline receives a high number of complaints regarding unscrupulous doorstep traders. These traders generally offer to re-tarmac driveways or carry out general household repairs.  However these are by no means the only scams.

Some complaints to the Helpline indicate one all too familiar tactic: a price is offered way below that of any genuine tradesman. Taking up the offer usually proves a costly mistake as the goods are often shoddy or the work done is very poor or sometimes even left unfinished. By the time that this becomes apparent the perpetrators have disappeared with the cash, leaving unsuspecting householders to count the cost.

However other examples of doorstep selling include a consumer who purchased £190 of wet fish, weighed on obsolete weighing scales, from a man in an unmarked, unrefrigerated, white van. The fish was described as being top quality at a bargain price, but in reality the packaging hid, not-so-fresh, over-priced white fish.

Some companies are targeting elderly homeowners, pressuring them to purchase a £2,000 plus burglar alarm with an annual maintenance contract. There are usually hidden costs. Contracts are wrongly described as being non-cancellable. This type of cash contract, entered into after a ‘cold call,’ is cancellable and in any case void without prescribed cancellation rights.

Councillor Graham Clarke, Chairman of the Trading Standards Committee said,

"Our advice is not to have work done by odd-jobbers who call at your home. If you are currently having work done by an itinerant trader, on no account pay until the work is completed to your satisfaction. Never make large advance payments. Traders who ignore cancellation rights in order to ensnare vulnerable consumers in their own homes can expect to be prosecuted.”

If consumers are concerned about this or any other issue they should contact the West Yorkshire Consumer Helpline on 0113 384 8848, or logon to www.adviceline.org.uk, alternatively call our minicom number 0113 2898 265.

For further information please contact:

Graham Hebblethwaite, Divisional Manager/ General Media Contact 0113 2898 218.

Paul Cooper, Divisional Manager 0113 2898 240.

Andrew Bibby, Helpline Manager 0113 2898 237.