Issued By
Cumbria County Council


Trading Standards and Police in Cumbria have teamed up with branches of Age Concern across the County in a bid to foil rogue doorstep callers.

A simple guidance card has been produced for the elderly.  It gives advice on how to handle doorstep callers.  It lists 8 simple steps to consider when confronted with a cold-caller.  It also explains what not to do, which is just as important.  The card can be placed on the wall by the front door, so the householder has it to hand when answering the door.

Phil Ashcroft, Head of Trading Standards, said  “Doorstep salesmen and tradesmen knocking on peoples’ doors touting for work are a constant problem.  They often come from outside the County,  generate a disproportionate volume of complaints about poor quality workmanship, carry out work that isn’t necessary and then are impossible to contact if the job hasn’t been done satisfactorily.  They frequently massively overcharge for the work, and sometimes they have more sinister motives.  My advice is simply not to deal with doorstep callers”.

A spokesperson for Age Concern said  “ We have dealt with a number of cases where bogus callers have targeted older people.  Our advice is not to deal with doorstep traders.  If there are any services you need, always insist on a prior appointment – any genuine trades people will not be offended”.

Inspector Colin Davies, Cumbria Police Community Safety Officer, said “ Unfortunately, among all doorstep callers there will be a number who have a criminal motivation and will use any excuse to gain access to people’s homes to commit theft.  Our advice for anyone who receives an unsolicited caller at their home is to always use a doorchain, check the caller’s identity thoroughly, and if still concerned about the caller, call the police.  The police are keen to work with the community to reduce the problems caused by doorstep callers”


Notes for Editors:

1.                   The Guidance Card is  attached. Anybody who wants one free, irrespective of their age, should contact Trading Standards Headquarters on 01539 773594 or any branch of Age Concern in the county.

2.                   The launch of the card coincides with National Consumer Week (11-15 November 2002), which this year has as its theme “Foot in the Door”.  For a list of all the events occurring this week as part of National Consumer Week, contact  Jacqui Guerreiro at Trading Standards Institute on 0870 872 9000.

3.                   Cumbria Trading Standards are taking part in a survey aimed at people across the country to gauge the public’s attitude on Doorstep Selling.  The questionnaire will be sent to 2500 Cumbrian households,  as are 50,000 nationwide.  Results are expected to be available in the New Year.

4.                   For more information on this press release contact Phil Ashcroft or Pat Thomas at Cumbria Trading Standards  (01539 773586 and 01539 773591), Inspector Colin Davies at Cumbria Police (01768 217924) or Police Press Office (01768 217009), or   Age Concern on any of the following numbers:   


Paul Jenkins, Age Concern Barrow                               01229 831425

Jessica Riddle, Age Concern Carlisle                           01228 536673

Mary Bradley, Age Concern North West Cumbria       01946 66669

Valerie Brook, Age Concern Eden                                 01768 863618

Mary Christian, Age Concern South Lakeland             01539 728118